Authors Posts by John Zimmerman

John Zimmerman

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Coming from an aviation family, John grew up in the back of small airplanes and learned to fly as a teenager. Ever since, he has been hooked on anything with wings and regularly flies a Citabria, a Pilatus PC-12 and a Robinson R44 helicopter. He is an ATP and also holds ratings for multiengine, seaplanes, gliders, and helicopters. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of Air Facts, John is a Vice President at Sporty’s Pilot Shop, responsible for new product development and marketing.

Quiz: How Much Basic Weather Theory Do You Know?

There is one constant in aviation that affects every flight, no matter if you're flying as a student pilot in the practice area or flying for the airlines from coast to coast – the weather. Developing a sound knowledge of weather theory is critical in the early phases of flight training to assist with making the important go/no-go decision. Take our latest quiz and test your knowledge on the fundamentals of weather theory.

Sporty’s releases 2020 Learn to Fly Course

One of the best investments you can make as a student pilot (or a rusty pilot) is a good home study course. It will help you save a significant amount of time and money by preparing for each lesson at home. Most importantly, you’ll be a safer, more well-rounded pilot after you earn your certificate.

Video: pulling Gs with the Thunderbirds

Flying a jet is fun; flying with the US Air Force Thunderbirds is a once-in-a-lifetime thrill. In this new video, you can ride along with AOPA editor and longtime flight instructor Dave Hirschman as he tears through the sky at over 9 Gs. He admits he only has two goals: "Stay conscious, and don't hurl."

Video: flying low over the sand dunes of Africa

During training, it's easy to get bogged down in the mechanics of flying: weight and balance calculations, flight plan forms, emergency checklists. This stunning video shows the restorative power of flying just for the sake of flying. It's all about freedom, stunning African vistas, sharing an experience with friends, and the unique places only an airplane can take you. As JP says, "I hate being a pilot, but I love flying."

Student Pilot News print edition

Student Pilot News is the best place for articles, videos, quizzes, and special offers for new pilots. But in addition to our weekly online updates, we also publish a print version once a year. You can flip through a PDF version of the 2019 edition here.

Video: what it takes to fly in a Red Bull Air Race

If you ever dreamed of flying in a Red Bull Air Race, unfortunately it's too late. After 12 seasons, the combination air race/aerobatics competition has flown its last event. But you can still fly along with some of the world's greatest pilots in this video. Hear what it takes to fly the demanding course, from the Gs the pull to the roll rate of the airplane.

Video: handheld radio with built-in headset jacks

A portable radio is a great way to learn aviation communications - just stand by the airport fence (or sit at home) and listen to other pilots as they talk to Air Traffic Control or other pilots. A radio is also a very helpful tool in an emergency, since it allows you to call for help even if the panel-mount avionics fail. The newest option is the PJ2, a $199 portable COM radio that has built-in headset jacks. Watch this video to see how it performs in a Cessna 172.

Video: crop dusting in a turbine Ag-Cat

Being a professional pilot means so much more than just flying from New York to Boston in a regional jet. In this unique video, ride along with Scott Palmer as he sprays some bean fields in his turbine Ag-Cat. It's a demanding type of flying that rewards precise speed control and total focus, but as Scott explains it's also a lot of fun.

Video: practicing spins

Spins are not a required maneuver for the private pilot certificate, but if you're planning on earning a flight instructor certificate you'll have to perform them for the checkride. As this video shows, that doesn't have to be a scary experience - in fact, spins are a lot of fun. Ride along with an instructor from the Patty Wagstaff Aerobatic School as he demonstrates spin recovery in an Extra 300.
Self serve fuel pump

How to use self-serve fuel pumps at the airport

Pumping avgas into a Cessna is pretty much the same as pumping 93 octane into a Chevrolet once everything is running. But like most things in aviation, the stakes are higher and the room for error is lower. So here is a step-by-step procedure to make your next self-serve fuel stop safe and stress-free. And yes, some of these lessons had to be learned the hard way.