On The Ground At Carson I've had a bunch of people ask why I haven't written much about flying recently. The short answer is that I haven't had a lot of time. When I wasn't up in Truckee flying my glider on the weekends (including a recently landout at Carson City), I was busy studying for the FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Test.

Now, I've taken these FAA written exams in the past. I took one in college, one for my Private Pilot Glider rating, and another for my Commercial Pilot Glider rating. In the past I've used a mix of book study (using the ASA books) and on-line practice tests like Kip's Exams4Pilots.

This time around, I decided to spend about 1/3rd of my time using DVD courses and preparation. I tried both the Sporty's videos and the King Schools Videos.

Comparing the two, there's no contest. The King Videos are far more interesting, engaging, and complete than those produced by Sporty's. The folks at Sporty's appear to have opted for "star power" by using folks like Richard Collins in the videos, while the John and Martha king focus more on the content and material you need to learn. Granted, they style and sense of humor is a bid odd at times, but it really gets the job done.

If you're shopping for flight training or test prep DVDs, I highly recommend looking at the King Schools videos.

I passed the test, of course. :-) Soon I'll be working to finish up my training and get the FAA checkride scheduled.

Posted by jzawodn at August 15, 2006 08:17 PM

Reader Comments
# Steve Foster said:

I get catalogs for King Schools videos all the time and I can’t get over how nerdy the couple looks with the same pose superimposed over different images.

Before I started flight lessons I took a class and like the person teaching it that she became my instructor, but now, about half way through my flight training I’m thinking that a video set may be beneficial. If I could get up flying once or twice a week I wouldn’t need the extra instruction, however summer weather here in NC sucks for flying.

BTW, someone recently asked what made want to my pilot’s license. I placed the blame almost squarely on you Jeremy. I came to this blog looking for a post on mod_sql (feb 05) and found your post on gliders more interesting.

on August 16, 2006 04:52 PM
# airfreddy said:

I just came accross your blog. I like the flying section. I am a 9000 hour instructor that stopped flying a year ago. Just got burned out on flying and owning a flight school for over 10 years.

I am starting to get back into it. I am trying to find a way for my experience to benefit the aviation community. I started two bogs but haven't really got them going yet.

Any Ideas? I am getting feedback from people I have flown with for years but haven't figured out my gameplan yet.

I did a lot of flying in california. I went to flight school at sierra academy in oakland back In 1988


on August 16, 2006 08:24 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:


Ha! It's good to know I manged to sucker... err, I mean "lure" at least one person in. :-)

on August 16, 2006 10:04 PM
# James Briggs said:

I'll second the King Tapes. I've used both the King and Sporty tapes for over 10 years, and the Kings are much more effective and interesting.

I bought a complete set of the King VHS tapes in 1999 and use those for recurrent training. (I have a US Commercial IFR rating.)

The Kings keep it light, and their "monster graphics" help imprint the lessons on you. I heard that when VHS was the king of all media they had 400 tape decks cranking out tapes in parallel.

John King plays "good cop" (comedian) and Martha plays "bad cop" (regs and serious material).

By the way, I think they each have *ALL* FAA airmen ratings for glider, airplane and airship.

on August 17, 2006 12:55 AM
# grammar nazi said:

s/bid odd/bit odd

on August 17, 2006 02:44 PM
# ThxRehab said:

Since 1993, John and Martha King and the staff at King Schools have provided a set of “Take Off” DVDs available to the EAA Young Eagles pilot who flies the most Young Eagles during a single month – worth more than $400.00.

on August 23, 2006 10:26 AM
# Joseph Hunkins said:

Great glider shot. But no posts in over a week? Is this a record for you? Chained to a Y developer grindstone? Sick from the Search Engine Strategies bug?

on August 24, 2006 01:12 PM
# Too Newb for a CallSign said:

I am wanting to get into what you've all experienced years ago. Flying privately! My time is very limited right now, due to another business I am in, but having found this and seeing you all agree on "King's School" products, I am excited to get my hands on some. I only have time to study on my own right now, so books and Dvd's are my only options. Can anyone recommend the "FIRST" book or package I should buy to start? I can tell you how to race a car around the track, but as for flying, I can only tell you where the ticket counter is. You guys seem quite authentic about your knowledge on this lifestyle. Really need help on this thanx!

on February 10, 2007 03:13 AM
# Mary said:

Just kept finding this blog on google when searching for the Kings Aviation school link, so finally stopped in to take a look. I just took and passed the FAA knowledge test today with a score of 97 and give 80% of the credit to the Kings for their private pilot DVD series (the other 20% goes to the ground school I enrolled in). Who cares if they don't have all the latest flashiest looks and seem a bit dorky at times! When I was struggling to understand VOR navigation, and the mysteries of the flight computer, and how to unravel all those ETA/magnetic headings/etc word problems, they got the job with clear, concise, easy to follow explanations. It was a bit disconcerting to watch them both age in and out of different segments (!) but, again, so what? Their series is excellent and I would recommend it to anyone in or out of ground school. And now I'm off to mail in my blue card letting the Kings know that another person aced the test thanks to their help, and then it's off to lots and lots of flying!

on August 29, 2007 05:27 PM
# Eric Hunter said:

Ha! I am currently studying for my written exam using the Jeppesen Private Pilot Test Guide. They did a good job of laying everything out. I also purchased the King Schools video course (recommended by my CFI) for a stout $315, but it's proven to be worth every penny. I laugh because "odd" is the perfect way to describe the humor in those videos.

on October 26, 2007 11:32 AM
# Don Martin said:

Hi. Does anyone have any information on the ASA DVD series? I see that there is quite a big price difference between King, Sporty's, Jeppesen and ASA - is it truly worth it to pay the higher price? Finally, I've searched the net high and low for used/re-sale DVD instructional sets and can't find any. Anyone have ideas where to buy the DVDs used or does everyone just keep them?


on November 18, 2007 12:24 PM
# V said:

I used the ASA Test Prepare software to study for my private pilot's exam and scored a 98. I highly recommend ASA to study for the written exam. I also own the Jeppesen, King Schools and Sporty's video courses. Unlike others who posted comments, I like the King School course the least. I found the nerdy and odd humor annoying to the point of distraction. I would watch the video and not have a clue what I had just watched. The Jeppesen videos held my interest and really nailed the ground school material for me. (I also own the Jeppesen textbook. I found it useful to be able to read the material for reinforcement.) Sporty's does a good job of explaining certain topics, so I used it selectively as a supplement.

on November 29, 2007 09:31 PM
# said:

I actually recomend the Sporty's course over the king course, for private pilot that is. My reason being that while the King Course is much more interesting, better at keeping you awake, and does track your progress, the Sporty's course tell you what you should no, rather than what you need to know to pass the written exam. Not to mention, the sporty's course is cheaper, and if for a little extra money, you get a nice flight bag and books that your CFI will probably require to you buy for your training.

on August 22, 2008 01:52 PM
# Alex said:

(Bump)I agree with original assessment here. I have used both Sporty's and King's videos series. It's interesting that others commented on the Kings' "nerdy looks". Despite that, I find they really did a better job and presenting the information in an easy-to-understand manner and didn't just provide what you had to know for the written exam.

I also think Richard Collins is good, but I found I had to re-watch segments of the Sporty's segments DVDs to absorb some of their content. If you need to keep expenses down, I think between the Sporty's series on free online sources, anyone would be fine with regard to test prep. But if you can spend more, get the Kings'.

Overall, I'm glad I had both sets.

In addition to these DVD sets, I also used the Jeppesen Private Pilot and Gleim Private Pilot texts, in addition to free online exam practice sites.

I missed only one question on my first exam attempt, and I kept the DVDs.

on February 13, 2009 03:06 PM
# Troy said:

I purchased the king schools cleared for Takeoff. Had a problem getting lab 7 and beyond to open. I did as the paperwork said and contacted my school, I sat there while they confirmed I was in the system. It still didn't work so I called the schools tech support. It was the most unprofessional experience I have ever had with a company. First they told me that they were not there to help students but only available to the flight schools. I explained that I had sat down with my school and they had put me in the system. The Tech support then went on to put down the school and the people that work there. I tried this with 3 different people from tech support and got a similar response from all 3. I then went back to the school and had them verify I was entered into the system. They then called tech support while I was there. Tech support got in to an actual shouting match with them and refused to enter my information into the system. I don't know how John and Martha let their employees get to the point that the customer is of absolutely no importance, but I will never purchase anything from this company again.

on February 20, 2009 06:32 PM
# Jim said:

Please help me with some issues using Sporty's Private Pilot DVD course.

When viewing a lesson, if I want to review something in the program and put the cursor on the slider bar and move it either backward or forward to another area of the lesson, it will immediately jump back to its same position. If I end a lesson before it has finished and want to return to the same place in the program by using the slider bar, it will start at the beginning when I restart the computer and program.

Additionally, when the screen shows the prompt for the quiz and asks for the enter key to be pressed, this also does not function.

I have called and talked to Sporty's with only an acknowledgement that there is a problem because of where the program was developed and it has to do with something about the international language. I feel that they should remedy these problems directly.

I would appreciate any advice you can offer.

Thank You,

on July 23, 2009 06:27 AM
# Kim said:

Hi Everyone, I'm looking to purchase a King School DVD set for private pilot. Does anyone have one for sale? Kimmy

on February 21, 2010 08:13 PM
# Private Pilot Licence said:

This site becomes a lots of information nice site also good dear keep it up.

on May 11, 2010 12:50 AM
# Art said:

Hi Kim,
I know it has been a few months since your post, I have a brand "New" still in shrink wrap King "Private Pilot" course

on June 24, 2010 08:05 AM
# Jack said:

I would be interested in your course if it's still available.

on July 25, 2010 11:38 AM
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