Online Publishing Gives Air Facts New Life

By Scott Spangler on August 10th, 2011

At AirVenture a friend asked if I’d seen the new Air Facts. What new Air Facts? All I knew about were the Air Facts videos Richard Collins produced with Sporty’s Pilot Shop that grew out of the eponymous print publication Leighton Collins launched in 1938. (Collins sold Air Facts in 1973, and changes made by the new owners were its demise.) Yup, she said, but it’s now an online journal, a continuation of the productive collaboration between Collins and Sporty’s.

Air FactsIt was worth a look, if for no other reason to see if it made a successful leap from old school to new. Having seen a number of the original digest-sized magazines in various library archives, it was a first-class publication dedicated to the safe and productive use of airplanes as transportation and noted for its prose. During its lifetime Air Facts launched the aviation journalism careers of Richard Bach, Bob Buck, Richard Collins, Bill Mauldin, and the immortal Wolfgang Langewieshe.

Okay, I’ve only spent about 45 minutes browsing this online journal, but it is worth a frequently visited bookmark in any pilot’s list of favorites. The site is well designed and organized with top flight prose categorized as features, opinion, and “Air Mail.” There’s even a comprehensive library of  Richard Collins’ Air Facts videos. They’ve even recreated a number of the original Air Facts stories that are still relevant to pilots today.

A distinctive aspect of the original was that its readers submitted a large percentage of the content. The same is true with the online publication. Early in its online life, they include Richard Collins, Bob Buck, Russell Munson, Phil Scott, Hal Shevers, and Bob Stangarone, who, like Collins, got his start at the print Air Facts. The articles not only talk about how to fly someplace safely and efficiently, several talk about places to go.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the time for browsing Air Facts is done. It’s time to read. –Scott Spangler

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