2023 in Review: Sporty’s Pilot Training Courses

7 min read

A good home study course is one of the best investments you can make during flight training, whether working towards a private license, getting checked out in a new type of airplane, or learning a new avionics system. While your flight lessons will form the core of your training, there’s a lot of work to be done between trips to the airport.

Sporty’s Pilot Training Courses help meet that need for tens of thousands of pilots every year. The platform is known for its fast pace of innovation, bringing new content, new training tools, and technological enhancements every year. And best of all the system includes lifetime access and free updates, so you can rest assured that you’re always getting the most modern and up-to-date home study experience.

2023 was the biggest year yet for Sporty’s Pilot Training Courses, thanks to numerous content and feature additions to the Learn to Fly, Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot courses. Here’s a recap of what was added in 2023.

New Training Content

Sporty’s Pilot Training courses incorporate a dynamic mix of professional HD/4K video, FAA knowledge test prep, checkride prep, and FAA training guides. In 2023, Sporty’s introduced a new training component in the form of interactive exercises and scenarios that allow pilots to practice what they learned.

Interactive Exercises

Go beyond videos with new interactive and engaging learning tools. Instrument simulators allow you to twist knobs and watch the needle swing on the panel, chart quizzes help you learn complicated symbols, and detailed systems diagrams simulate failure modes of the pitot tube or static port. These practical, hands-on scenarios put what you learn to work. Here’s an example:

New Video Content

The heart of Sporty’s courses has always been the dynamic video segments. Sporty’s added major updates in 2023 to segments on runway safety, wake turbulence, and how to use both digital and paper charts. Plus, the Instrument Rating and Commercial Pilot courses were reorganized to flow more logically and cover each topic in detail.

Test Prep Updates

Sporty’s courses excel at preparing students for the FAA knowledge test, thanks to sophisticated study and test prep modes and a comprehensive database of questions you’re likely to see on the actual test. Best of all, you can study wherever is most convenient, whether it’s online, on your iPhone/iPad, Android, Mac or Windows PC, and your progress always stays in sync.

Sporty’s updates the database of questions in the courses regularly. Here are the new questions added most recently to the Learn to Fly (Private) Course:

October 2023 test question update

December 2023 test question update

FAR study guideFocused FARs

Sporty’s powerful FAR feature gives you instant access to the complete Federal Aviation Regulations, packed with essential information for any pilot. It’s fast and searchable to streamline your studying, and it’s always up to date.

Earlier this year, Sporty’s added time-saving tools that highlight which sections are applicable to each certificate level, so you can skip the unnecessary parts and focus on what matters. A new bookmark tool also makes it easy to review important sections.

Aviation Blogs, Podcasts and Webinars

Sporty’s Pilot Training app added a new menu on the bottom of the home screen, providing students and pilots with quick access to Sporty’s comprehensive library of free flight training blogs, aviation podcasts, and webinar recordings. Select the Free Content tab and any one of the options to quickly read, listen to or watch the latest aviation-themed content.

Podcasts load in the app’s audio player and will continue to play while you use other parts of the Pilot Training app or other apps on your iPhone or iPad. All of these resources are completely free and do not require the user to purchase a course first.

New Technology

Sporty’s also excels at using the latest technology to deliver their Pilot Training courses. Each course purchase is available on over nine platforms, including online, iPhone/iPad app, Mac app, CarPlay, Android app, Windows app, AppleTV, RokuTV, AndroidTV and FireTV.

Windows app - Sporty's courseWindows App

The latest addition means you can now use Sporty’s Pilot Training on your Windows device—perfect for studying on a Surface tablet. Progress is automatically synced between devices, so it’s easy to switch back and forth as your study sessions move.

In-Course Notifications

To help students keep up with all of these updates, there’s a new Inbox located at the top right of your course. Check back here often to learn about new training content and updates added to your course, as well as the latest flight training news and tips from the team of flight instructors at Sporty’s.

Smart Notes

Sporty's smart notesThere’s a new centralized tool in the online version of Sporty’s courses to help students organize key takeaways, easily accessible no matter where you are in the course. Click or tap the floating “New Note” button at the bottom right of the screen, and the Smart Notes interface will appear. You can add as many notes as you’d like and keep them organized with a simple menu system.

When adding a new note from any of the video lessons or test prep questions, the note will automatically insert the name of the lesson and generate a clickable link that you can use to jump back to that lesson or question when reviewing your notes later.

Flight School and CFI Features

Sporty’s was founded by a flight instructor over 60 years ago and, ever since, has worked hard to support student pilots, CFIs, and flight schools. Hundreds of flight schools around the world use Sporty’s courses as the primary source of ground school, test prep and flight prep to complement their in-airplane training. Here are the latest additions Sporty’s added to support these organizations and their CFIs.

CFI Portal

Sporty’s CFI Portal offers a suite of tools including student course progress monitoring, lesson plans, a flight instructor refresher course, a complete FAA library, special CFI offers, and full access to Sporty’s award-winning pilot training courses for you to learn more about what your students are using. CFIs can register for free here. Learn more here.

Flight School/Chief CFI

New this year is a powerful feature designed for the Chief CFI and flight school management to connect with individual instructors at the school and monitor all student progress in one location. This feature requires a manual setup step from Sporty’s support team.

All-new FIRC

Sporty’s developed a fresh new option for flight instructors looking to renew their CFI certificate in 2023, using a modern online learning system to deliver innovative content. Sporty’s fully FAA-approved eFIRC will get you up to speed with the latest technology and new developments from the FAA, vastly improving your teaching skills. Best of all, Sporty’s new FIRC is completely free.

LIFT Academy partnership

LIFT Academy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Republic Airways, has partnered with Sporty’s to provide online training courses to its students. This collaboration between Sporty’s and LIFT Academy provides students and instructors access to a range of valuable learning resources, including Sporty’s Learn To Fly Course, Instrument Rating Course, Commercial Pilot Course, and Garmin G1000 Checkout Course.

How to get the courses

You can purchase access to any of the 30 aviation training courses right from Sporty’s website, including the 2024 Learn to Fly, Instrument Rating Course and Commercial Pilot Course. You’ll gain instant access to all the course platforms for one price. If you’ve already purchased one of these courses (these three courses include lifetime updates), you just need to download the mobile app and sign in with your username/password or login to Sporty’s Online Course Portal.

iPhone/iPaddownload the free app here

Androiddownload the free app here

Apple Computer – download the free app here

AppleTV – go to the App Store on AppleTV (4th Gen or newer) and search for Pilot Training

Windows 11 – install the Amazon Appstore app from the Microsoft Store and search for Sporty’s Pilot Training

FireTV – search for Sporty’s Pilot Training to download the app (preview the app here)

AndroidTV – search for Sporty’s Pilot Training to download the app (preview the app here)

RokuTV App – search for the Sporty’s Pilot Training Channel on your Roku device

Online – visit Sporty’s Course Catalog and purchase direct access to any course

Bret Koebbe