Aviation Writers I Read

By Robert Mark on September 22nd, 2014

Note to the World’s Best Readers / Listeners – You now have the option to listen to the Aviation Minute podcast or read the text below. If you receive Jetwhine via e-mail, you can click here to listen as well.

I wouldn’t be much of an aviation writer if I didn’t read. And I don’t think you can be much of an aviation enthusiast if you don’t read either, so I do my part by strumming through a bunch of aviation magazines, online pubs and a couple of newspapers each week to stay in touch with the industry. Here are some of the folks I read, no matter what they write. You’ll also find most of them on Twitter.

I’ve known most of them for years so trust me, if you have the opportunity to say hi at a show when you see them, don’t be shy. They all like to schmooze about the industry no matter where you come from … except maybe for helicopters. I’m not sure they count since we all really know those things fly using wires and magic anyway.

rob, dan & Jon at MDW

author with Dan Webb (C) & Jon Ostrower (R) at MDW

Jon OstrowerThe Wall Street Journal – I first learned about Jon when he started writing his 787 blog. Right from the start I realized he had a flare for digging deep for the inside details on every single issue relevant to the extra years it took Boeing to kick that new bird of theirs out the door. He spent a few years at Flight Global before heading out the door to DC to work for the WSJ. There’s even a pic around the net somewhere of Jon at his first AirVenture sporting a Jetwhine button. I have to find that one. @jonostrower

Molly McMillianThe Wichita Eagle – Molly’s one of the few working journalists who still covers aviation for a general readership newspaper, The Wichita Eagle. Really nice, smart lady. Find her on Twitter @mmcmillin   

Matt Thurber – Aviation International News & Business Jet Traveler – Matt’s a versatile writer, pilot and even an A&P technician so he’s the guy I go to with nuts and bolts questions when I get stuck. And the guy writes 24 hours a day I think since his byline is everywhere.

Tom HainesAOPA Pilot’s – Tom’s the soft spoken editor of AOPA Pilot magazine and the guy who gets to file some of the coolest pilot reports around, so I’m extremely envious. Despite the fact that he flies a Bonanza rather than a Cirrus, I still respect him a bunch. He also hosts AOPA Live, every week, another cool job. @tomhaines29


Flying’s Pia Bergquist

Pia BergqvistFlying – I remember back in the old days when Pia worked in PR at Cessna. She gave me my first demo ride in a Cessna Corvalis before she moved on to Flying magazine. She loves the Cirrus like I do and there is no truth to the rumor that I only admire her because she’s Swedish. I’m half on my dad’s side. @piapilot

John CroftAviation Week – John’s Av Week’s safety geek so we see eye to eye on many things in this industry, although AvWeek gives him way more space each week to write than I do at AINSafety … not that I’m complaining Charlie, just comparing. We actually met up at a safety conference in DC some years back when he introduced himself only by his Twitter handle, @avweekjc

Mike CollinsAOPA Pilot’s Technical Editor – Mike earned my undying admiration when he came to Chicago a few years ago to shoot the photos for an AOPA Pilot story I wrote about flying the L-39 at Gauntlet Warbirds at KARR. We flew in January and Mike spent half a morning hanging out of the back of a T-6 shooting the photos. The way he was dressed, he looked like a big bear at the back end of that airplane. He also climbed on board an MU-2 for a quick ride around the world earlier this year. What a guy.

Bill GarveyBusiness and Commercial Aviation – Bill Garvey gave me one of my early chances to write a story when he was still editor at Professional Pilot magazine, a place nearly everyone I know in the biz has hung their hat at one time or another. Good people Bill … and he gets the helicopter thing because his son’s a Coast Guard chopper driver.

Terry MaxonDallas Morning News – Terry’s the only other reporter I know for a major newspaper – The Dallas Morning News – who thinks and talks aviation. He was also one of the first newspaper guys to add “Jetwhine” to his blog roll eight years ago when we started. @tmaxon


Mary Kirby with author at NBAA

Mary KirbyRunway Girl Network – The first time I heard Mary’s name was at an Aerospace Industries Association luncheon in DC a bunch of years back. She asked a question of AIA president Marion Blakey … one of those truly awkward questions … one that every other guy in the room really wanted to ask but didn’t. She stood up and I was instantly impressed. She’s the GIC (goddess in charge) at The Runway Girl Network now. OK, so she’s a little taller than me, so what? @runwaygirl

Steve TrimbleFlight Global’s Americas Editor – Now about Steve. I know the guy writes for Flight Global, but he also travels more than any other writer I know. We chatted for a couple of minutes this year just before he left AirVenture about the fact that he had to scoot back east and then down to Brazil for LABACE and then I forgot where. I’d get airsick if I had to travel on as many airliners as he does. @fg_strim

Tom HorneAOPA Pilot – Tom and I had the good fortune to connect at Bradley CT a bunch of years back when we were both assigned to write pilot reports for different magazines on the Challenger 605. Besides being a great writer, Tom has probably forgotten more about how weather actually works here on earth than I ever knew. @tomhorne

Andy PastorThe Wall Street Journal – Andy is one of the few writers here I haven’t actually met, but still read religiously. Perhaps that’s because every time there seems to be a breaking aviation story, he’s the one doing the breaking at the Journal.


Auntie Benet

And what would a story like this be without Auntie Benet, aka the Aviation Queen. Boy do we go back a ways … Regional Airline News was our first connection I think and I can’t even remember that far back. Now, of course, she’s with AOPA but still manages to join us on The Airplane Geeks often, like here last summer at the Smithsonian’s Udvar-Hazy Center at KIAD.

No mention of writers would be complete without a tip of the hat to someone who got me started 35 years ago … Gordon Baxter then of Flying magazine.

Gordon, or “Bax” as he liked to be called, wrote a column every month called “Bax Seat,” that ran for as long as I can remember. He also earned part of his living traveling the country giving talks about airplanes and how flying fit into his life down in Beaumont Texas. He came to the Stick and Rudder flying club at Waukegan Illinois a many years ago and I mustered up the courage to go say hi and tell him I wanted to be an aviation writer like him … something I’m still trying to achieve BTW. “So just sit down and write,” he suggested. And I did.

I still remember the weekend he stayed at our home before a local talk I helped organize at Chicago DuPage Airport (KDPA). “Do you mind if I take off my shoes and socks?” he asked my wife after he put down his suitcase. That was Bax. He died in 2005.


Enjoy them all. And don’t forget to tell me who else the rest of us should be reading.

Rob Mark, Publisher


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6 Responses to “Aviation Writers I Read”

  1. Ann Says:

    Crushed that you do not read my articles in Airways!

  2. John Slemp Says:

    Hello Rob!

    Amy Laboda is not only a personal friend and past client, but a pretty darn good aviation writer too. Surprised she’s not on your listbecause she should be!


  3. Robert Mark Says:

    Excellent addition John.

  4. David R. Busse Says:

    If you go back to Gordon Baxter’s musings in Flying Magazine, review the writing of the late Len Morgan, if for no other reason than to enjoy his gift of words. His younger brother David was another skilled writer and magazine editor in the railway field, and their writing styles are hauntingly similar. Len’s article on teaching a weekend pilot to fly a 727 was some great work. Happily, Mike Collins of AOPA is deeply familiar with the writings of both men; all three are Kentucky natives…

  5. Michael Maya Charles Says:

    Alas…yet another list I didn’t make.

  6. Richard Woodruff Says:

    This goes back a little while and don’t forget the late William Kershner. He was a regular contributor to AOPA Pilot and wrote some of the most widely used flight instruction manuals up till a few years ago. His humor usually kept me laughing at the same time I was thinking about a lesson or point he was conveying. His style goes back to a time when most of what one needed to relate to in order to fly a plane could only be viewed through the windshield and not on the panel (VFR only of course).

    Your list is a good one and it is sad that aviation doesn’t get the resources it once did. Thanks to all the writers who continue to keep aviation news available to those of us who are interested.

    Best regards,

    Richard Woodruff

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