by Moreno Aguiari
Ten years have flown by. It seems like only yesterday when I realized that the “latest news piece” I was reading in a then-current aviation magazine was already several months old. I realized that there had to be a better way of relating such stories in a more timely manner. The solution was actually pretty simple, of course… the internet. After just a short search, it became obvious that while there were a few discussion fora, reference websites and a plethora of irregularly updated personal pages, the vintage aviation community lacked a reliable online source of well-researched articles and news.
Another thing which struck me at the time was that many aviation museums and flying organizations had made little if any effort to establish a credible online news presence. More importantly, very few of these enterprises understood how to use the internet to promote their mission, let alone raise funding for their causes. I was well positioned to improve this situation.
In 2013, the internet was already a mature medium, its business strategies well-proven and consolidated, with the proven ability to raise billions of dollars online – and yet our community seemed almost entirely absent from this opportunity for growth. Back then I was an executive within a large internet-based software company. I possessed over fifteen years of online marketing business development experience; all I had to do was apply this know-how towards the vintage aviation industry. And so Warbirds News was born…
We have a very simple mission here: Promote accurate aviation history and insightful aircraft preservation and help related organizations raise funding towards those ends.
We published our first article (HERE) on February 16th, 2013, then set up a Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter accounts and, a few months, a YouTube channel. From small beginnings, our story had begun!
Our first “big break” arrived when Jerry Yagen’s Military Aviation Museum flew its freshly-restored de Havilland Mosquito FB.26 for the first time in the United States. We published a story about this event, shared it on social media, and roughly 55,000 people read it in very short order! The exposure gained us a rapid growth in website visitors and social media traction. The credit for this opportunity must go to the late Jon Brawner, of course. He worked at the Fighter Factory back then and provided videos, still images and details about this momentous event.
Another important moment in Warbirds News history was getting to know Richard Mallory Allnutt, our founding Chief Editor. I first met Richard on Facebook and commissioned a couple of articles from him before we had the chance to meet in person for the first time at the Military Aviation Museum on the occasion of the 2013 Warbirds Over the Beach Airshow. Richard is a phenomenal writer, editor and photographer – on top of being a wonderful person. We clicked right away and by the end of the show he agreed to become more involved with our fledgling operation. Richard brought with him immense experience in vintage aviation, restoration, engineering, and photography, combined with a compelling writing style. Without doubt, Richard is one of the best writers in vintage aviation and we are so lucky to have him as a key part of our team.
In 2017 we started a collaboration with Warbird Digest, which helped lead to the production of what became arguably our community’s best available vintage aviation magazine in print. While this partnership ended in June 2022, we remain ardent fans of this exceptional magazine. The parting of ways also led us to rebrand our platform, expanding outside of the warbird world (which we still cover) to also include both vintage and classic aviation. Even more that the warbird arena, the historic civil aircraft world is both hard to get a good insight to overall, and full of fascinating, often rare or unique aviation aircraft, people and events. Covering the whole gamut of vintage aviation, precipitated our name change to become Vintage Aviation News.
We love the history and technology which Aviation Museums, Restoration Workshops, and Vintage Flying Organizations help to preserve for our collective future. Indeed, we devote great passion towards the support of non-profit and grassroots historic aviation organizations and are proud to promote awareness and drive donations towards their projects. This is why we are investing in the technology necessary for delivering the most interactive and effective vintage aviation magazine currently possible.
People are central to this. From the foundation of so much aviation, the often selfless, always enthusiastic, dedicated and sometimes unstoppable volunteers, we network from there to the restorers, operators, museum and heritage professionals, pilots and so many more specialists. One facet of our core mission is getting the stories out there, from being overlooked or only known to a few, to assisting in spreading the word, making connections and we hope, getting more aviation commemorated, preserved and where appropriate, flying.
To help guide the next decade (and beyond!) of vintage aviation publishing, we have assembled a workforce featuring some of the brightest minds in vintage aviation publishing; our editorial team has well over 60 years of combined knowledge and experience in the business. And we are legitimately international now as well, with primary contributors based in Australia, the UK, Continental Europe, and the U.S.A. – thus offering richer, more informative perspectives on the subject which we have all built our lives around. We are also always keen to hear from you, especially if you have insight knowledge that should be wider shared, or even ‘just’ a tip that might make a positive difference.
Our latest addition to the editorial team is James Kightly (known in the community as JDK or ‘Vintage Aero Writer’) a veteran of the vintage aviation community. 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, the U.S.A. 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 published by enthusiast to government publishers. James will be bringing a different angle, and aims to look behind some of the well known elements of historic aviation with an expert’s insight.
Publishing online involves as much, if not more of, the effort and time required to produce a print magazine. It also requires a pretty serious financial commitment, which has largely been sustained by me. However, a special mention must go to our sponsors and advertisers who have made significant contributions in support of our efforts – without their help our endeavor would have become far harder to sustain. We are optimistic we can continue to provide great access to our readers and promote the vintage aviation with new sponsorship and appropriate advertising, and increase that reach to everyone’s – readers, advertisers and the aviation community’s – benefit.
When we launched Warbirds News back in 2013, we had the simple goal already mentioned: we wanted to help safeguard our aviation heritage for future generations by raising public understanding and enthusiasm for the subject via internet-based digital media. After ten years of hard work, we can proudly say that – with your assistance – we are achieving precisely that. Outside of the educational benefits we have provided, there are numerous aviation groups that have gained from our efforts, and we are very proud of that knowledge. And this will continue.
In closing, we look forwards to publishing many more stories about your favorite subjects, and to continue helping safeguard and promote our mutual aviation heritage – not just for now, but for generations to come! Stay with us, it’s going to be another great decade of Vintage Aviation News!