AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 34

PILOT BRIEFING
MILESTONES |

A Sporty history
BY JOHN ZIMMERMAN,
SPORTY'S VICE PRESIDENT

Hal Shevers

#Sportys60

Yes, Sporty's Pilot Shop is celebrating 60 years
B Y J U L I E S U M M E R S WA L K E R

ADMIT IT: Somewhere in your " files " or bookshelves you have an
old copy of the Sporty's catalog that you kept " just in case. " If you
do, take a photo of it and share on social media with the hashtag
#Sportys60 to enter it in one of Sporty's customer contests, celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the iconic retailer (you could
win a $100 gift card). Hal Shevers started the now-giant retailer in
1961 (see " A Sporty History, " right). To celebrate the success of the
original shop for pilots, Sporty's is having a yearlong birthday party,
which includes deals, contests, events, and the return of " Sporty
Pilot, " one of the retro drawings featured in the original catalogs.
Each Thursday, Sporty's will present live webinars on new featured
products (11 a.m. Eastern) and Hal and company invite pilots to stop
into Clermont County/Sporty's Airport (I69) in Batavia, Ohio, and
enjoy a hot dog lunch. When you order this year, you'll also receive
a commemorative 60-year-anniversary sticker that features the
famous Sporty's Aztec. And, for updates and a special retrospective, check out Sporty's President Michael Wolf's blog online.

IN 1961, a young flight instructor in Cincinnati made
a bold decision: He left his job as an engineer at
a large company and began selling pilot supplies
from the trunk of his Studebaker. Hal Shevers wasn't
trying to make a quick buck; he was focused on
offering pilots reliable products that made flying
safer, easier, and more fun.
Sixty years later, Sporty's is still focused on that
goal. It all starts with education, so it's no surprise
we are passionate about inspiring the next generation of pilots. Our Learn to Fly course takes
everything we have learned about aviation education over the past six decades and applies it to the
latest technology. Today's online tools and mobile
apps would have been unimaginable when Hal was
teaching ground school in the 1960s, but the basic
principles of instruction still apply.
Radios were another early product for Sporty's,
and we're still at it today. A catalog from the mid1960s proudly advertises a desktop scanner, the
Royal 3000 from Zenith, that would cost almost
$2,000 today! In its place, we now offer the awardwinning PJ2 COM Radio, an innovative backup
radio with built-in headset jacks. At just $199, it's a
reminder of how far technology has come.
We've added thousands more products over the
years, from flight bags to flight simulators. Each one
grew out of our experience as pilots and flight instructors. We only sell products that we have flown
with ourselves, so you can count on Sporty's for the
best pilot supplies.
Offering great products is essential, but another
important reason we've thrived through six decades
is fast, personal service. From the beginning, we
have provided same-day shipping (often within
minutes of receiving an order), a no-hassle return
policy, and expert advice.
A lot has changed since 1961, and not just the music and hairstyles. Whiz wheels have been replaced
by iPads, and the federal aviation regulations have
grown from 176 pages to more than 1,100. But one
thing hasn't changed: Sporty's is still for pilots, by
pilots. We aren't owned by some large conglomerate, and our call center is still right here in Ohio.
Our team is made up of flight instructors, aircraft
owners, and aviation enthusiasts, and all of us work
in general aviation because we love it.

sportys.com/60

is vice president of the Sporty's
Pilot Shop catalog division.
JOHN ZIMMERMAN

EMAIL

julie.walker@aopa.org

34 | AOPA PILOT May 2021


http://www.sportys.com/60

AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 4
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover3
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