February 23, 2013

Sporty's Instrument Rating Course App Review

ifr_app_potbelly.jpgSporty'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.

ifr_70s.jpgThe 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.

Posted by at February 23, 2013 9:29 PM

Sporty's courses are plain boring. I have used both King and Sporty's courses for learning aviation subjects. When looking at video with Richard Collins calling out to ATC or when being handed-off to another controller, he keeps using non-phonetic call sign fore zero RC instead of using 40 Romero Charlie.

To me when someone who is learning to fly starting off with bad communication habits is simply not good.
Secondly, the course from Sporty's uses local airports that do not reflect the airspace in California where is more conjested than flying in rual areas.

Richard Collins is no doubt an extremely excellent pilot for hard core IFR

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