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.

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.

Video: a very remote $100 hamburger

The $100 hamburger is a favorite of pilots - take off, fly somewhere and enjoy a meal with fellow pilots. For most pilots that means a half hour flight to a paved runway and an airport diner, but not in Alaska. In this fascinating video, you'll fly into a remote strip in Alaska to visit the Skwentna Roadhouse. It's not your everyday lunch flight!

Video: flying a DC-3 across the Atlantic

The Douglas DC-3 is one of the most famous airplanes in the history of aviation. From its days as a pioneering airliner to its work as a mainstay of the cargo fleet, this brawny twin has taught many pilots the finer points of flying radial engines and tailwheels. Ride along with Matt Guthmiller in this video as he flies one across the North Atlantic to celebrate the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Video: first airplane out of Oshkosh

Flying into Oshkosh is a lot of fun, but leaving the world's largest air show is part of the experience too. In this video, ride along with JP (aka @the_candourist) as he hitches a ride with legendary air show announcer Rob Reider in an RV-7A with a glass cockpit. There's no better way to get to know a pilot than to go flying with them!

Video: when ATC doesn’t go according to plan

Most of the time, Air Traffic Control works like a well-oiled machine, with ground control moving airplanes to the runway and tower keeping the runways safe. But sometimes, due to traffic or weather, things don't go according to plan at busy airports. In this amusing collection of ATC conversations, listen to airline pilots and controllers go off-script for some unique requests. It's a great reminder that behind every callsign there's a human being.

Video: flight bag review

There's no perfect flight bag for every pilot - it depends on the type of flying you do, the aircraft you fly, and your own personal preferences. With prices ranging from under $50 to well over $200, there are a lot to choose from. In this Product PIREP Video, we review some of the best-selling options, including Flight Gear, Flight Outfitters, MyGoFlight, and Travel Pro.

Video: tailwheel checkout on a grass runway

Learning to fly a tailwheel airplane is challenging, but incredibly rewarding. While they are less stable than tricycle gear airplanes, they are a lot of fun and open up a whole new world of flying. As this video shows, you can land on grass runways in the middle of farms and connect with flying the way it used to be.