Authors Posts by John Zimmerman

John Zimmerman

116 POSTS 51 COMMENTS
John knows how lucky he is to go to work every day at an airport. As Vice President of Sporty’s Pilot Shop’s Catalog Division, he says, “I get to hang around airplanes all the time, flying regularly and testing new products for the catalog.” 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. Despite his love of low and slow flight, John says, “I love the challenge of IFR flying in the system. Seeing the runway lights as you break out on approach is a thrill.”

Do I need a medical exam to be a pilot?

If you’ve talked to other pilots, you may have heard about “the medical.” Don’t worry—you do not have to have perfect health or 20/20 vision.

How do I choose a flight school?

Once you’ve located some schools, choosing the right one is one of the most important choices you’ll make in training. More than anything, a flight school needs to be a good fit for you--your schedule, your goals and your personality.

What are Part 61 and Part 141 flight schools?

You may hear flight schools talk about “Part 61” and “Part 141” programs. This refers to different parts of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) that set minimum standards for flight training.
Pre-flight inspection

How do I choose a flight instructor?

Even once you’ve picked a flight school, spend some time to find the right flight instructor. He will be a key element in your training and how much enjoyment you get out of flying.

Sport, Recreational or Private Pilot certificate?

When you start flying, you may be presented the choice of pursuing your Sport Pilot, Recreational Pilot or Private Pilot certificate. Understanding the differences between them will help you to choose the right one for you.

How much does it cost to earn a pilot’s license?

No one wants to pay too much for a product or service, and it's certainly no different with learning to fly. Learning to fly involves some expense, but it's important to examine this expense as an investment that will provide a lifetime of return.

How long does it take to learn to fly?

The length of time it takes to earn a pilot's certificate varies widely (anywhere from a few weeks to a year), and depends on how spread out your training schedule is. A major milestone in your training is your first solo.

What pilot supplies do I need for flight training?

While the list can of things a pilot can buy seems endless, we recommend the following as the basics to get going.

Your first flight lesson

Getting into the air and taking your first flight is the most important—and most enjoyable—step you can take in your journey. There’s nothing like your first takeoff in an airplane to show you the fun and freedom of flying. If you’re on the fence about learning to fly, go take a first lesson!
Pre-flight inspection

The dreaded pre-flight, and how to do it well

I've never liked the pre-flight inspection. It's like the salad course before a steak dinner--sure, it's good for you, but all it does is prevent you from getting to the good stuff. But if I could give some advice, it would be short and sweet: "Get over it."