February 23, 2013
Sporty's recently released their Complete Instrument Rating Course as an app for Apple's iPad and iPhone. The app takes DVDs full of content and makes it portable so you that spare time can turn into aviation training opportunities.
I recently had the opportunity to take the Sporty's Instrument Rating Course App for a test flight and am loving the experience. I am about half way through the content. I have a feeling I will go through the series once then return frequently to the content during my training and in preparing for a written exam. I have used Sporty's courses before both on DVD and via online courses. Both were good but posed challenges. DVDs meant I had to carry around a DVD in my computer or be near a DVD player, while the online courses required I have internet connectivity which prevented me from enjoying the content on long commercial flights. Although with online courses from Sporty's you can stream to an iPad, that did not help me much though since I don't currently pay for a data plan. One nice benefit of the app is the ability to download content for offline viewing which has allowed me to enjoy the content over lunch, at the gym and on my commute.
This app allows me to consume the information whenever I might have some downtime. The series is broken into seven categories then within each category are topics that typically range from 4 to 15 minutes in length. Perfect for watching a few when I have an hour or one or two while waiting for an oil change on my car. Another nice feature is that you don't need to worry about lugging around your iPad as a single purchase allows you to use the content on both iPad and iPhone. The course does allow users to earn the written test endorsement and receive FAA WINGS credit directly from within the app.
The content is a mix of new and old content. Much of the content has been recently updated and included both analog and digital cockpit discussions. For topics that may not have changed much there are some old clips that Sporty's may have been using for the better part of forty years including the controller to the right, who is sporting glasses that look to be 70s era glasses which goes along with the entire look. Despite some quirky old footage spattered about the content is great.
I will state I am a bit biased by their content since I learned to fly at a neighboring airport to Claremont County where Sporty's is based. So I love seeing clips of some of the airports I spent so much time at. Even without that connection I think this is a valuable tool in Instrument training. Sporty's VP John Zimmerman said "Any pilot who has earned his instrument rating will tell you it's nothing to take lightly. Our course goes beyond simple test prep to prepare pilots for real-world instrument flying conditions."
The app can be downloaded for free which includes some demo content, but a $199.99 subscription is required to access all the content.
February 7, 2013
I am proud to announce my participation in the creation of the first ever Flying Club Scholarship. It all started several months ago I had the opportunity to join Marc Epner and Al Waterloo, hosts of Simple Flight Radio, for an episode of their show. We spent a few hours talking with Adam Smith, AOPA's Senior Vice President of the Center to Advance the Pilot Community. One of his key initiatives is growing the number of successful flying clubs in the United States. AOPA through its research has determined that flying clubs help decrease the cost of flying while creating more social opportunities for pilots and are great places to foster aviation in perspective pilots.
All three of us are firm believers in the value flying clubs can provide to the general aviation industry. As members of a successful flying club, Leading Edge Flying Club, we felt we could help share with others ideas and tips for creating a successful flying club. We looped in another aviation blogger and aviator, Louis Bowers and formed Ground Effect Advisors. Just a few months later we launched StartAFlyingClub.com a blog dedicated to assist in development of America's next great flying club.
We believe to date most aviation scholarships have been focused on the individual pilot. We believe our scholarship will help an entire community of pilots. AOPA's Adam Smith said "I love the idea of scholarships to help start flying clubs. Like a scholarship to help someone learn to fly, but a gift that keeps on giving back to aviation."
We are in the process of building out content in the form of checklists, playbooks, blog posts, audio and video tips all related to creating and growing a successful flying club. We thought there would be no better way to start things off then to offer a scholarship to help someone create a flying club from the ground up. We have been overwhelmed with the response we have received from the industry and our partners that include: AOPA, Sporty's Pilot Shop, David Clark, Signature Flight Support, PilotEdge and LiveATC.net. They are all donating products or resources that will help us build a flying club for the winner.
The Flying Club Scholarship application window is now open and will run through May 1, 2013. We will then narrow the submissions down to ten finalist and select a winner on June 1, 2013. We look forward to working with the winner to open the new flying club before the end of summer.
If you or anyone you know is interested in creating America's next great flying club, please apply today at StartAFlyingClub.com.