Sporty’s Sport Pilot Training Module

We regularly view Sporty’s ( flight training videos and recently got word that they had updated their Sport Pilot training module in their $279 Learn to Fly Course, so we figured that we’d take a look. 

To start with, the Learn to Fly Course is a video ground school that is designed to take a prospective pilot all the way through the FAA written exam (it includes practice exams) while serving as an adjunct to the flight instruction the student will receive as we’ll as giving a solid prep for the oral exam and flight test. The course offers the student the option of sharing progress with the student’s flight instructor. The course purchaser selects whether she wants training to become a sport pilot, recreational pilot or private pilot at the beginning and the course content for the appropriate pilot certificate is generated. 

When we selected sport pilot, we found that while much of the video content that is common for all three ratings was filmed in a normal category airplane such as a Cessna 172 (lower photo), there was excellent emphasis and content for matters that related more significantly to the sport pilot such as the Rotax engine (upper photo) used in many light sport aircraft. 

As an aside, we’ve flown Rotax engines on and off for 20 years but learned more about their design and proper operation in the eight-minute video segment on them than we’d picked up in the time we’d been flying them. Formal instruction does beat what you learn on the streets, er, taxiways.

We liked that the cross country video segment was in light sport aircraft. To us, it brought out the fact that this course was designed for a prospective light sport pilot and wasn’t just a private pilot course with “Oh, yeah, for you sport pilots this is different” thrown in.

We have long been impressed by the quality of Sporty’s flight training video courses and this was no exception. The approximately 10-minute length of the average video segment feels right for maintaining one’s attention and the content is fast-paced. We found that it was too fast to take notes, but that wasn’t a problem as each segment includes a full transcript, so we could focus on watching and listening to the video and not looking away to take notes. 

The graphics are first rate and the inflight photography is top notch, which, in our opinion, helps a student visualize what is going on during various maneuvers as we’ll as make sense of complex subjects such as airspace, inflight visibility and cloud clearance requirements. We noted that someone obviously spent some time selecting camera angles for in-aircraft shots so that the information that was important could easily be seen. 

Sporty’s announcement of its new training module stated that it had added new video segments that included modern weather resources, normal and special-use airspace, how to use ForeFlight for airspace and weather planning (we were particularly glad to see that information), tips for flying with glass cockpit flight instruments, cross-country planning with a nav log and how to use ADS-B transponders and datalink weather. 

The course is geared for modern production light sport aircraft (S-LSA), but it included information on E-LSAs and legacy production aircraft that meet LSA requirements for weight and speed such as the Piper Cub and Aeronca Champ. Not surprisingly, it did not provide any substantial information on tailwheel operations as that complex matter is the subject of another Sporty’s video training course.

The course can be accessed online and via iOS and Android devices, smart TVs and Apple CarPlay with course progress automatically syncing across devices. The purchase price includes lifetime access and updates, making it, in our opinion, an excellent long-term reference for pilots after completing the rating. We especially think that it’s valuable downstream when it’s flight review time. 

As with other Sporty’s courses, passing two practice written exams with a score of at least 80 percent allows the student to get an endorsement to take the FAA written from Sporty’s. 

We especially like the resources included with the course, particularly the videos of maneuvers required for the sport pilot flight test and the large collection of handbooks and manuals in the course library. For the aspiring sport pilot, we think Sporty’s ungraded training course is a solid investment.