Air Facts, first published for private pilots in 1938, has new life and has been reinvented as an online journal at www.AirFactsJournal.com. This important aviation magazine was among the first publications to address the growing number of pilots as aircraft became more accessible to the general population.
When the first issue of Air Facts appeared in 1938, there was no FAA. In fact, the Civil Aeronautics Administration was formed that year to regulate air traffic. Pam Am flying boats – what the airline called its "Clippers" were flying worldwide and Howard Hughes set a new around-the-world record in an airplane – just under four days.
It was in this fledgling industry that aviation visionary Leighton Collins launched his magazine for the everyday pilot – those individuals who were flying their own airplanes to get from Point A to Point B. Leighton wanted these pilots to share their knowledge with one another in order to fly in the safest way possible.
"No aviation magazine had previously put the emphasis on safety and accidents and many thought this would cause consternation in the aviation industry," says Leighton's son Richard, who later took over as editor of Air Facts before he went on to a career of his own at other aviation magazines. "When Air Facts ran a study about the safety record in Piper Cubs, everyone thought Mr. Piper would be quite unhappy. To the contrary, he ordered an Air Facts subscription for everyone who bought a new Cub."
When Leighton retired, he sold the magazine, which did not survive without Leighton's guidance. Now Air Facts has been reborn online, with Richard Collins back at the controls as its editor. Just like the original, Air Facts concentrates on providing analysis and opinion about important general aviation topics. Much of the content is reader-provided by pilots and aircraft owners.
"We've put a twist on citizen-journalists and created journalist-pilots," says Richard Collins. "Pilots form a unique community and Air Facts provides a means for pilots to tap into their shared experiences in order to make their own flying safer."
Another difference with the new Air Facts is that it's free. There is no subscription cost, and pilots and those interested in aviation don't have to wait for the next monthly issue as content is continually added.
Today's Air Facts is made possible through the financial sponsorship of Sporty's Pilot Shop, the world's largest supplier of pilot supplies as well as a leader in producing educational materials for pilots.