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Virtual acro with Patty Wagstaff

Sporty's enables Apple Vision Pro experience

It's one thing to watch airshow star Patty Wagstaff cut a ribbon—it's another to fly along with her in virtual reality.

Image courtesy of Sporty's.

Sporty’s recently released Aerobatics with Patty Wagstaff for Apple Vision Pro, a VR app designed to introduce pilots and aviation enthusiasts to aerobatic flight in a safe yet engaging manner using 360-degree video.

The app is optimized for the Apple Vision Pro headset, and virtually places wearers in the cockpit with the championship-winning pilot as she performs and explains a series of maneuvers including loops, rolls, and spins. The progression is gradual, though, starting with the most basic maneuvers, some of which pilots will recall from their private pilot checkride.

“We are not going to throw you into situations without preparation,“ Wagstaff said, adding that one of the goals of aerobatic training is to make pilots safer while stretching the flight envelope a bit. “We’d like to get people away from the 10-degree turn and the magenta line.”

Wagstaff said the series of three videos, which mirror the real-world instruction she has provided for decades, begins with familiarization before moving on to simple, familiar maneuvers including steep turns, power-off stalls, and accelerated stalls. Aileron rolls are next, followed by 45-degree climbs, loops, spins, and eventually, air show routines. She said that while the VR app can be entertaining and exciting for nonpilots, it is also an effective training tool. “It really is a complement to in-cockpit instruction,” she said.

Development of the app got its start during Sun ‘n Fun a few years back, where Wagstaff and some of the Sporty’s staff began chatting about using VR as a way to introduce pilots to aerobatics. Wagstaff began writing scripts for the video segments and collaborating with Sporty’s on production. Now the growing collection of videos includes a three-part series on aerobatics and a new tailwheel course. A seaplane program is in the works.

Wagstaff is a renowned aviator with a long list of airborne accomplishments including three national aerobatic championships and six stints as a member of the U.S. Aerobatic Team.

“We are thrilled to introduce Aerobatics with Patty Wagstaff to the world, offering an unmatched aerobatics experience on the cutting-edge Apple Vision Pro,” said Sporty’s President John Zimmerman. “We’re optimistic that the Apple Vision Pro will continue offering capabilities that could significantly enhance both flight training and flying experiences.”

Jonathan Welsh
Jonathan Welsh
Digital Media Content Producer
Jonathan Welsh is a private pilot, career journalist and lifelong aviation enthusiast who previously worked as a writer and editor with Flying Magazine and the Wall Street Journal.
Topics: Technology, Apps, People

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