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.

Piper Cub on the farm

There's nothing quite so pure as a yellow Piper J-3 Cub on a grass strip; the airplane just wasn't meant to be flown over big cities and landed at towered airports. In this fun video, you'll ride along in a 1945 Cub, from hand propping to low passes over the farms. No avionics, no airspace, just fun flying.

Video: Reno Air Races from the cockpit

It's the fastest motorsport event in the world - the National Championship Air Races in Reno, Nevada, features everything from homebuilts to jets racing each other around pylons, sometimes at over 400 miles per hour. In this behind-the-scenes video, you'll ride along for some incredible racing in a Sea Fury and a P-51 Mustang, and see the precise flying it takes to compete at Reno.

Video: how to waterski an airplane (and why you probably shouldn’t)

You've probably seen the videos on YouTube, with taildraggers skimming the water with their big tires as they approach to land. In this honest video, Trent Palmer explains why it's done, how to do it safely - but also why you probably shouldn't do it. A fun and fascinating look at a common bush pilot trick.

Video: landing a Cessna at Chicago O’Hare

Chicago O'Hare Airport is not usually the place to find a single engine Cessna, but landing there is exactly what these two pilots set out to do. Ride along for a scenic tour of Chicago at night, then watch the Cessna fit into the onslaught of airline traffic and land at the 6th busiest airport in the world. Challenging? For sure. Fun? Absolutely.

Video: testing out the Lightspeed Tango wireless headset

There are dozens of aviation headsets on the market right now, but only one is wireless. Lightspeed's Tango model allows you to cut the cord, using a proprietary wireless technology and rechargeable batteries. How does it work? We took it flying recently to find out.

Instagram disease in aviation – don’t catch it

Above a hashtag like #pilotlife or #instaaviation, you'll often see a picture of an exotic seaplane on a fishing trip in the Bahamas, a tundra tire taildragger landing on a remote river bed in Utah, or an airline pilot posing like a model with an “I worked all morning to look like I just fell out of bed” look. It's alluring, but it's not real life.

Video: glider flying from a winch launch

Glider flying is the purest, most peaceful form of flying - just the pilot and the atmosphere, managing energy to get where you want to go. But how do you get altitude in the first place? While the aero-tow is traditional (using a towplane to pull the glider up), the winch launch is an exciting alternative. Ride along in this video to see how you can go from parked to 1900 feet in about three seconds.

Video: landing on Route 66

Route 66, the legendary cross-country highway from Chicago to Santa Monica, is synonymous with freedom and adventure - but usually in a car. In this unique video, Matt Guthmiller lands his Bonanza on a gravel strip right next to the Mother Road and explores an abandoned hotel. It's not every day you see airplanes and cars mixing it up on the same piece of pavement.

Video: seaplane flying in the Bahamas

Flying seaplanes is a blast no matter where are, but in the islands of the Bahamas it's almost magical. With over 700 islands and that beautiful blue water, the options are endless and the weather usually cooperates. Ride along in this video as one seaplane pilot drops in on a variety of fun island locations.

Video: landing on gravel and sand

Sometimes short field and soft field landings are for real; for bush pilot Trent Palmer, it's just another day of fun in his Kitfox. You'll ride along for nearly 20 of them in this fun video, as he and a friend visit a variety of different remote places, from gravel bars in river bends to sandy beaches. It's total freedom.