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.

Podcast: flight training trends and the life of an airline pilot

Why is flight training so strong, even after a pandemic that stopped airline pilot hiring? What do flight instructors wish students knew about learning to fly? What's it like to be an airline pilot? Eric Radtke answers these questions and many more, in the first episode of Sporty's Fast Five Podcast.

Video: pulling over 7 G’s in a turboprop trainer

Did you know that one of the most advanced military trainers today has a propeller out front? The Pilatus PC-21 can fly up to 320 knots at low altitude, and is powered by a single Pratt & Whitney PT6A turboprop engine. In this video, you'll ride along for a takeoff in the PC-21, complete with a 7.5-G pull-up into a vertical climb and a few rolls. Not your average single engine airplane.

Video: Bush Flying 101

You hear a lot about "bush flying," but what does it really mean? In this beautiful video, Trent Palmer shows that it's more about flying with a spirit of adventure than anything else. He lands his airplane at a variety of remote dirt strips and meets up with other bush pilots for a fun-filled day in the air.

Video: learning how to land on an aircraft carrier

Everyone was a student pilot once, including the most seasoned Navy pilots who land on aircraft carriers in the middle of the ocean. In this video, you'll get to ride along with one such pilot, as she learns how to land the C2-A twin turboprop on the pitching deck. It's a little more complicated than landing a Cessna 172 on a long runway, but the fundamentals of pitch and power are the same.

Video: the river visual approach to DCA

While airline pilots spend a lot of time flying up high, there are a few airports that offer a great view from the flight deck of a Boeing or Airbus. This video is a great example: ride along as an A320 flies the River Visual approach into Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. The flight path follows the river, which means lots of landmarks out the left window.

Video: landing on the “USS Sedona”

Just because an airport has a 5,000-foot runway doesn't mean it's boring. In fact, Sedona, Arizona (SEZ), might be one of the most beautiful and distinctive arrivals anywhere in the US. Nicknamed the "USS Sedona" for its aircraft carrier-like runway perched atop a mesa. this jewel of the Southwest features stunning views of nearby terrain and a unique view on final approach. Ride along in this video to see what it looks like from the left seat.

Video: first solo in a Cessna 152

A pilot's first solo is a day full of mixed emotions: excitement and nervousness, pride and fear. This video shows all those feelings, as a student pilot makes her first trip around the pattern by herself in a Cessna 152. If you're not a pilot yet, it's a great preview of what's to come. If you are a pilot, you'll probably remember exhaling at the end like Erin does here.

Video: flying a Beech 18 on floats

The Beech 18 is an iconic airplane, with big radial engines and those long, beautiful wings. Put it on floats and you have a new new level of fun. In this video you'll ride along as AOPA's Richard McSpadden earns his multiengine seaplane rating in the big Beech, splashing around the scenic lakes of northern Minnesota.

Five overlooked features in Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course

Sporty’s Learn to Fly Course is famous for its beautiful HD video and its large database of FAA test questions. While those two features are invaluable for passing your tests and becoming a safe pilot, there’s a lot more to this course than just videos and quizzes. Here’s a look at five overlooked features.
Scud on mountain

Why student pilots should fly in marginal weather (with a flight instructor)

Venturing beyond the practice area is the most exciting part of flight training, but it requires new skills and a new approach to decision-making, especially when it comes to weather. When this is covered, it’s usually in the context of how to get a preflight weather briefing. That’s a good start, but safely navigating weather on a cross country requires a lot more than just knowing what to look at before takeoff.