James KightlyCommissioning Editor – Australia

James Kightly 1

I’m from Melbourne, Australia, and my first visit to an aircraft museum was the Moorabbin collection in the late 1960s, as a small boy. I lived in the UK for several decades, before returning to my native Australia in the early Twenty-First century.

For more than thirty years I’ve written for aviation magazines both newsstand and subscription and published in the UK, US, Australia, and even France. Currently among other roles, I’m  a feature writer for Aeroplane Monthly in the UK, recently edited and advised on major titles for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) History & Heritage Branch, and the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.

I’ve interviewed aviation, museum and many other professionals and volunteers in historic aviation worldwide, including face to face in over 15 countries, and maintain a network and contacts list of over 1,000 people, regularly spending time connecting people for remarkably specific preservation queries.

In recent years I’ve been part of a team running the Aviation Cultures conferences, recently online and global. I also work with professional archaeologists, and flown in some unique historic aircraft such as the Canadian Warplane Heritage’s Lancaster, the Lufthansa Junkers Ju 52/3m, Colling’s Foundation’s B-24 and the RAAF 100 Squadron’s Lockheed Hudson, and flown out of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in the back seat of a CT-133 from underneath the airshow.

I’m delighted to be able to work in Vintage Aviation News, and as well as making sure we get accurate, properly researched and checked news and in depth aviation history articles and features to you, our readers, I’m very keen we bring you more in depth analysis and insights, behind the scenes and from the workshops, museums and show where other organizations don’t take you. And we’ll be reporting from the familiar countries, or course, but also those less often reported from!

Outside aviation, I’ve worked in the book trade for even longer, and have fulfilled most roles from author to reviewer, and for Blackwell’s Bookshops in the UK, ran and troubleshot several multi-million-pound businesses. I have also worked professionally in museums including the hardest job – as a cleaner, and running heritage learning centers and museum volunteer teams.

I’m a long-term support of the Moorabbin Air Museum in Australia, where my interest started, and the unique Shuttleworth Collection in the UK, as well as many professional and heritage organizations. I live in rural Victoria, Australia with my wife and dog, and I’m lucky enough to be regularly overflown by friends in their vintage aircraft for an obligatory wave!

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