Richard Mallory Allnutt – Writer and Photographer -UK/USA

Richard Mallory Allnutt

My first aviation memory involves a family trip to the Farnborough Airshow in September 1974. A pair of Saab Viggen strike fighters had just taken the active for a formation take-off a few dozen yards away. I watched them sidle into position, slightly disinterested, from atop my father’s shoulders under the gloom of that drizzly, autumn day. But the instant their afterburners lit – everything changed. Nearly a half-century on, I still recall the distinctive howl of those RM8 turbofans; a sound so intense it seemed to physically rip the air apart! My world then tilted rapidly towards aviation – some days with wider orbits than others, perhaps, but my passion for flight has only intensified.

As a child living in 1970s Britain, I grew up steeped in WWII aviation lore; so many adults in my life had participated – from grandparents working in aircraft factories, to a headmaster navigating Lancasters, and of course my aunt’s father, who flew Hurricanes with RAF 302 Squadron during that fateful summer of 1940. So the allure these aircraft held was impossible to ignore, even if from afar. After my family’s move to Washington DC, more tangible aviation-related experiences arrived. July 20th, 1979 marked our first full day in America, a date so easily recalled because we visited the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum (NASM) just as 10th-anniversary celebrations for the Apollo 11 moon landing got underway; all twelve lunar astronauts walked right past me as they entered the building! Thereafter, we attended NASM events regularly, meeting and talking with dozens of people I had only read about before – legendary figures ranging from Chuck Yeager to Sir Frank Whittle. I later earned a NASM internship, working for R.E.G. Davies with Dr. Robert van der Linden, but getting to spend a time with Paul Garber, the man who founded NASM’s collection, was the highlight of that summer.

After grad school, I worked for Lockheed-Martin as a satellite communications engineer, but my heart still lay in aviation. I volunteered at several museums, and crewed for a period aboard my friend Larry Kelley’s B-25J Mitchell Panchito – gaining some marvelous air-to-air photography opportunities on occasion. My journey into writing and editing began through these latter experiences. As I gained photographic proficiency, magazine editors asked for stories to accompany my work. And as my writing skills grew, I soon gained requests to produce articles for other people’s images.

In 2013, Moreno Aguiari recruited me to become founding editor for Warbirds News. Growing our profile has been hard work, but deeply rewarding too; I especially love helping grass-roots aviation groups gain better traction for their efforts in the public eye. With our name change to Vintage Aviation News in mid-2022, we expanded our horizons to include a broader range of topics. The highly accomplished additions to our editorial team and list of regular contributors that fall has further reinvigorated our mission. As I type these words in March, 2023, I find myself almost incredulous with the reality of my quarter-century career as an aviation writer/editor/historian, with some 800 articles in print, and many more online. But it is the people this work has connected me with which has meant the most. It is a joy and an honor to be a part of this effort as Vintage Aviation News moves forwards!

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