Sporty’s Pilot Shop has offered home study pilot training courses for over 30 years, starting with VHS tapes in the 1980s, then DVD and now online courses and mobile apps. They introduced the industry’s first Private Pilot flight training and knowledge test prep app for iPhone/iPad back in 2012, called the Learn to Fly Course, which has helped thousands of pilots earn their certificate over the past 5 years.
To take advantage of the latest in mobile app development technology and add some cutting-edge new features, Sporty’s released their next-generation flight training app last week, called Sporty’s Pilot Training. This is a free app available for download in the App Store, and allows pilots to access all the content from Sporty’s 2018 Learn to Fly Course (Private/Sport/Recreational training), 2018 Instrument Rating Course and Flying with ForeFlight course in one location – on iPhone, iPad and AppleTV.
The release of the new Pilot Training app coincides with the debut of Sporty’s new 2018 Learn to Fly Course, which added some exciting new features last week, including new HD video, progress syncing with the online course, CFI progress tracking, a HD flight maneuver training guide and much more – you can learn more about the 2018 courses here.
Getting Started with the new Pilot Training app
After downloading the free app from the App Store on your iPhone or iPad, you’ll first see the app’s home screen showing the 3 courses currently available in the app from Sporty’s: Learn to Fly, ForeFlight and Instrument Rating. Additional Sporty’s courses will be added soon to the Pilot Training app.
You can tap any of the course titles to preview the content, which includes the ability to watch some of the new HD video featured in each course. If you already have a Sporty’s account and purchased access to one of the course apps directly from Sporty’s website, you just need to sign in with your username and password to access the full version of the course. The same goes for customers who previously purchased access to the online version of one of these courses, since Sporty’s is now including access to both the online and app platforms for the same price.
After launching one of the courses, you’ll see that the video training is now front and center in the new app. Tap one of the chapter names and select one of the video segments to begin playing. You can use the cloud button to download the segment for offline viewing, or download all the segments from the chapter at one time using that option from the menu at the top right of the screen. The app supports iOS Picture-in-Picture on iPad, so you can continue playing the video in a smaller inset window while continuing to study other sections of the app.
Each video in the Learn to Fly Course includes review notes to help reinforce key takeaways, and you can take a review quiz to test your knowledge on the material covered in that section.
The Flight Maneuvers section in the app is all new for 2018 and offers 32 animated HD step-by-step instructions on how to complete each flight maneuver required by the Airman Certification Standards, complete with a guided narration. Here’s a sample of one of the flight maneuver animations included in the course:
The Test Prep section of the Learn to Fly course allows you to study individual groups of questions with real time feedback and detailed answer explanations, which is very helpful when studying for the FAA knowledge test.
As you progress further in the course, you can then use Test Mode to take a simulated FAA Practical Test to gauge your preparedness for the real thing. After completing the video training in the course and earning two practice test scores of 80% or higher, the app will provide with an official knowledge test endorsement to go take the Private Pilot knowledge test at an FAA testing center.
The layout of the Instrument Rating and ForeFlight courses are similar in the Pilot Training app, and having the courses in one app makes it convenient to keep your training organized in one location. Sporty’s will be adding their additional training courses to the Pilot Training app soon, so this is a platform that will be expanding significantly in both features and content in the months ahead.
Sporty’s 2018 courses also includes a new syncing feature, which will automatically keep your video progress and test scores in sync between the online and app versions of the course. This is a really helpful feature since users now get access to both the online and app platform, allowing you to study on the device that works best for you.
In addition to the new app for iPad and iPhone, Sporty’s also developed the Pilot Training app for AppleTV. This provides pilots with the option of watching the video training on a larger TV, which really brings the dynamic in-flight footage and detailed animations to life.
The app itself offers a fairly simple layout, with a basic menu to select your course (Learn to Fly, Instrument or ForeFlight) and a graphical menu to play individual, topic-specific aviation training videos on the TV. The app tracks your progress as you complete each segment and automatically syncs this with the iPad/iPhone app and online course.
The AppleTV app is also great for existing pilots looking to maintain proficiency and expand their aviation knowledge. Thanks to its topic-specific menu layout, pilots can easily jump to pertinent segments to review flight maneuvers, weather, airspace, cross-country procedures, training on new technology and more.