James Kightly Joins Vintage Aviation News

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by Richard Mallory Allnutt (Chief Editor)

We are extremely pleased to announce that James Kightly is joining our team here at Vintage Aviation News, where he will take on the role of Commissioning Editor. Kightly is a respected historic aviation writer and editor with decades of experience as both a professional writer and journalist covering the world of aviation preservation and beyond. He has written regular columns for a number of well-known magazines in the UK, Australia, America, France and Canada over the years, advised and assisted academics, museums and restorations, worked on podcasts and organized aviation orientated online conferences, as well as writing and editing a number of books. James will be bringing a different angle to what one can read elsewhere, and aims to look behind some of the well-known elements of historic aviation with an expert’s insight.

Seen in the header image (by Doug Fisher) wearing a red top in the cockpit of the Canadian Warplane Heritage’s Avro Lancaster C-GVRA, Kightly is known to many simply as ‘JDK’ or ‘Vintage Aero Writer’ on the numerous internet fora he frequents. James has an established record as a level-headed contributor, well versed in the subjects under discussion. He has also worked as a writer/editor in areas beyond the field of aviation as well. All of us here look forwards to collaborating with James in the years to come, and feel sure that his contributions and perspective will add further depth to our coverage. 

Regarding his new role, James stated: “I’m very pleased to be now working as a member of the Vintage Aviation News team. I’ll be looking at a wide range of aviation preservation and heritage from a global perspective. And tackling some of the more interesting and sometimes controversial sides of aviation preservation, as well as the obscure, rare, and lost. As well, of course, the rarer byways of historic aircraft news.”

Our publisher, Moreno Aguiari, is equally enthusiastic about Kightly’s arrival, noting: “I am very excited to have James as part of our team. I have admired his work for a long time, in particular, his contributions to developing the Aviation Cultures Conferences. His experience and deep knowledge of the vintage aviation world will help us to provide even more great stories to our readers.”

Aviation Cultures is an annual conference bringing researchers and practitioners together to share their knowledge and ideas about flight and its place in history and society. First held in 2015, Aviation Cultures has evolved into a major online gathering. To understand what Aviation Cultures is all about, please read more about the organization’s history and the subjects which past conferences have discussed.

Shortly before this announcement, we were pleased to publish Kightly’s first commissioned article for Vintage Aviation News, an excellent piece regarding the first post-restoration flight of an original, Australian-built Mustang in the land of its birth. Commenting on this excellent story, James hopes to pen a follow-up, noting: “If there’s enough interest, I’m hoping we will be able to present a significantly expanded story.” Australia’s license-built production run of the North American P-51 Mustang is indeed a fascinating tale, so we look forwards to Kightly’s tale about this magnificent aircraft, along with many other subjects.

Currently, Kightly’s byline is appearing on pieces ranging from the reopened airport heritage display of an ultra-rare, WWI-era Vickers Vimy, the restoration of an Imperial Japanese Navy Kawanishi N1K1 Kyofu ‘Rex’ floatplane fighter, a look at an all-new Curtiss Jenny, and a roundup of ‘preserved’ Boeing 747s – with much more to come.

In the meantime, please say ‘G’Day to James Kightly!

James chatting with Hudson pilot Stephen Death after the Tocumwal Airshow. Matt Savage of Mach One Aeromedia captured this image. Sadly, the much-loved Matt Savage passed away recently following an extended battle with cancer, leaving behind his wife and daughter.

1 Comment

  1. Congratulations on your new post as Commissioning Editor with Vintage Aviation News, James. I enjoyed your article on the restored Aussie Mustang, looking forward to many more articles.

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