Home » Discover » Learning to fly, with cameras and without the ego (Article from General Aviation News)

Learning to fly, with cameras and without the ego (Article from General Aviation News)


Steve “Flight Chops” Thorne has been called the least cocky pilot on the Internet, and that suits him just fine.

With what began as a personal mission to record his flights to learn from — and improve on — his mistakes in the cockpit, his everyman approach has resonated with fellow pilots and flying enthusiasts the world over.

It helps that Thorne brings top-notch production value to each episode with his signature multi-camera, fully-immersive filming style, thanks to skills picked up on his day job as a film and TV editor. Every two weeks, a new episode goes live on his YouTube channel.

steve-logo“Practice, Review, Improve” is the Flight Chopsmotto and its simple premise hit home at a recent visit with a group of pilots at Google headquarters in California.

While the roomful of pilots and CFIs wanted to ask about flying a vintage World War II Stearman and onboard camera placement, Thorne asked who among them debriefs their flights beyond writing a single line in the log book. The answer was, “no one.”

With that, the boisterous tone in the room turned humble as the pilots immediately recognized the validity of Thorne’s point. He believes that one of the biggest things lacking in GA is a quality debrief.

In fact, it was one of his own early debriefs that led to the creation of Flight Chops.

In the 1990s, detailed journal notes were based only on what he could remember, good and bad. However, in the digital age, adding tiny “set it and forget it” cameras to record what went on, including the recorded intercom, created a level of debrief beyond what he could remember. And he could practically relive the flight.

Now, 2.5 million views and 70 episodes later, Thorne has caught the attention of supporters and sponsors who believe in his mission and want him to continue doing what he loves — though he notes he will work only with companies and products that he likes and uses himself.

20-cub-panel-n-view1Supporters pledge micro-amounts for his productions on Patreon, a crowdfunding site. ForeFlight was the first sponsor to come aboard, with its widely used aviation app. Soon came other big players in the industry, including OpenAirplane, breathing new life into the aircraft rental system; PIVOT Case, which provides mounts for iPads; and iCloth Avionics, which provide display wipes to keep screens clean and help improve touchscreen responsiveness. The latest to join in as a sponsor is Bose Aviation, with its A20 headsets.

Monthly contests held on the Flight Chops website offer the chance for his followers and fans to win prizes from his sponsors.



Huge thanks to all the Supporters on Patreon!

Check our Patreon page to find out how to be part of the Flight Chops Community.

Productions like this wouldn’t be possible without your help!


Flight Chops is Proudly Supported by:


Bose Aviation

Van's Aircraft

SiriusXM Aviation



EarthX Batteries


The Finer Points

Next Level Flight Training - NLFT.ca

I’m a Private Pilot, doing my best to stay current and learn. I fly for fun and might just be the least cocky pilot on the internet! My self analysis videos can seem self deprecating at times, but I am trying to learn from the small mistakes to avoid making a big one; I’m happy to share and find it rewarding to help other pilots or aspiring aviators in any way that I can. How does the saying go? “Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards”. And in aviation, not all tests are survivable.

My virtual “ride-along” flying videos are aimed and sharing my experiences and giving back to the aviation community which has been so helpful to me. I shoot multi-camera angles, get detailed real time instrument panel shots, and have radio intercom audio. I respect people’s time, so I put a fair bit of work into editing to keep the videos concise and engaging; I add animations and further graphics and voice overs where needed to add context and explanations.

My hope is to continue to grow and evolve the “Flight Chops” project with input and support from the aviation community!

Steve Thorne, aka "Flight Chops"

View all posts
Flight Chops Disclaimer

I am a “weekend warrior” private pilot, I fly for fun with no intentions of going commercial. I have had my PPL for over 15 years, but still consider each flight a learning experience – I generally take detailed notes after each flight to remind myself what went well or what I could do to improve…. Having the GoPro cameras to record flights like this is invaluable. I find these self analysis videos very helpful in my constant quest to improve, and am happy to share.

Feedback is invited; however, please keep it positive.

Add comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

FlightChop’s Merch

Become a Flight Chops Patron on Patreon