Sporty's Learn to Fly Course

A look inside Sporty’s new Learn to Fly app

3 min read

Sporty's Learn to Fly CourseSporty’s Pilot Shop has offered home training courses for over 20 years, beginning with VHS tapes and then DVD and online training products. Last week, the company introduced the latest version of its course, and for the first time there is a dedicated app for iPad/iPhone. Let’s take a look at some of the features.

Sporty’s Learn to Fly app is really three courses in one, with individual tracks for the Sport, Recreational and Private Pilot licenses. Pilots can stop at the Sport or Recreational, or use them as stepping stones to the Private certificate (an approach used in Sporty’s flight school). Alternately, users can go straight to the Private license with a self-contained course of study.

It is a universal app for iPhone and iPad, so pilots can buy it once and use it on both devices. It includes five major sections:

  1. Video training is clearly the heart of the app, with over 14 hours of video included. It’s a nice mix of in-cockpit video and 3D animations, with fast-paced segments averaging around 8 minutes. There are dozens of Air Facts segments with former Flying magazine editor Richard Collins that are a quite informative. Pilots can instantly watch any of the video by streaming it, but there is also a powerful download manager. This allows the user to quickly download individual segments for offline viewing.
  2. Written test prep is a necessary evil for most pilots, so Sporty’s course includes a full-featured tool, with three modes of operation. Learning mode allows the user to study certain subject matter areas, and each question includes the correct answer plus explanations and references for additional study. Flashcard mode displays questions without multiple choice answers, ensuring pilots don’t just memorize answers. Finally, Test mode simulates an actual FAA written test, down to the time limit. Test scores are saved for progress tracking.
  3. The Maneuvers Guide offers animations of all the important maneuvers in the PTS, from steep turns to crosswind landings. Text descriptions accompany the animations, and include completion standards and common errors. This section could even be used in the cockpit, with an instructor briefing each maneuver on his iPad before actually flying it.
  4. A full Practical Test Standards Study Guide is included, showing every task a prospective pilot can be tested on during the checkride. Uniquely, Sporty’s has cross-referenced every maneuver to the video section, with a simple tap on a link bringing up the right segment. It’s a great tool for final checkride prep.
  5. Finally, the Training Course Outline provides a complete training syllabus–both ground and flight lessons. It’s a detailed course of study to be used by student and instructor alike, and can be printed for permanent reference.

After watching all of the video segments and passing two practice written tests with scores of 80% or more, students can even get the required CFI sign-off for the written test right from the app. Pilots can also get FAA WINGS credit from the app.

The app is available as a free trial in the App Store, and costs $199.99 to purchase the full course. For more information, see

12 replies
    • Bret Koebbe
      Bret Koebbe says:

      Michael, we don’t have a dedicated Learn to Fly course app for Android yet, but we just released a new web-based version of the course designed using HTML5. It works great on Android, in addition to PC, Mac & iOS. You’ll want to access it with the Opera Mobile Android browser (free download on your tablet). Check out a free demo of the course here:

  1. Dan Burgmeier
    Dan Burgmeier says:

    Hello, I am considering the online vs app for iPad. I would prefer online, with accessing from several computers including PC’s, MAC’s, and Ipad’s. Will this be a problem as far as accessing the program from the different computers and different locations? Does the online program have any issues with connectivity?


    • John Zimmerman
      John Zimmerman says:

      No problem–the online course is all cloud-based, so you can watch one video segment on your iPad, then watch the next on your Mac. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection.

      • Tom Pask
        Tom Pask says:

        Sorry if you’ve already answered this…is it possible to get the cloud-based course and download to either my iPad/iPhone and/or my PC, for study off-line?

        • John Zimmerman
          John Zimmerman says:

          Tom, the cloud-based Online Course does not allow you to download videos. It is all done in the browser. The app, on the other hand, does let you download videos (and everything else). But it’s not compatible with a PC.

          If you’d like to buy both, we would offer 50% off the second course.

  2. Wesley Steigerwalt
    Wesley Steigerwalt says:

    This program is great!!! Its exciting, and offers a well orginzed way to learn. I really like the air facts videos that brake up the learning portion with real life exsperiances. By the time I was threw all the videos I felt like Rob Rider and Richard Collons were friends of mine.
    I have always been a DVD guy, but the iPad app is the way to do it, because of the interactive study and testing. You know right away,… What you don’t know.
    I purcased the jepson program and DVD by sugestion of my flight school…. It is so boring… I was unable to get threw the last vidio. I am so glad I found this awesome tool.

  3. Paula
    Paula says:

    My husband and I are both beginning flying lessons. I have an iPad and an older PC, he uses a pc Andre both have iPhones. Which option do you recommend.

    • John Zimmerman
      John Zimmerman says:

      Sounds like the online course might be best. The app is really best on the iPad, so your husband wouldn’t be as happy.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] popular video course launched as a native iPad/iPhone app, becoming the first complete learn to fly course in app […]

  2. […] within the app for $249.99 (includes complete Private, Sport and Recreational modules). Read the full review of the app here. __spr_config = { pid: '4f2c6d19396cef1c13000007', title: 'Top 10 iPad apps for student pilots', […]

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