I Could Never Get Away With This Again


At the end of his legendary career, famed aviation pioneer Jimmy Doolittle titled his autobiography, “I Could Never Be So Lucky Again.” From down here in the flatlands of 21st century general aviation, Doolittle’s Olympian perch is a smudge on the horizon, but I nonetheless have mustered the unmitigated temerity to steal his idea and name my own book, “I Could Never Get Away With This Again.” Or I would if I were writing a book, which I am not because a three-volume history on pork belly trading would be more engaging.

But as Doolittle’s career reached an end, so has mine, thus your day may have begun drearily by clicking on a swan song. Could be worse, I suppose. At least it’s not another column about unleaded fuel. Normally, when journalists write these things, they insert lofty observations about things they’ve seen and covered during the grand sweep of their careers. You know, witness to history and all that. Sorry, I got nuthin’. The fact is, I never took good notes, learned early on that sources tell you what they think you want to hear—or will believe—and I’ll cop to being the walking, talking personification of a squirrel chasing the next new nut. If I knew this when I signed up for J-school 50 years ago, I’d do it all over again.

Let’s see if I can compress the history of how I got here into three sentences. I came ashore as a refugee from another publishing company, edited a couple magazines for Belvoir Media Group, helped start AVweb and became a blogger and a vidiot. This is the third sentence.

During the five decades I’ve been doing this, publishing has changed so dramatically that I can hardly describe it, so I won’t try, other than to say the newspaper I started at still had Linotype machines and like every other green reporter, I got minor burns from believing a pressman’s claim that it was cool to spit into the hot lead pot. It was a searing lesson in how to be skeptical that has served me well.

Most of what I have to say is by way of acknowledgement and thanks, especially to the many readers of publications I have edited. Small circulation magazines are uniquely married to the interests of their readers and because of that, the readers are intensely engaged, curious and of a higher caliber than the typical mass audience. They have self-qualified themselves to prize content tailored to their sophisticated wants. I am blessed for having been allowed to serve these appreciative audiences. Not all writers and editors can claim to be so fortunate.  So to you readers and viewers, my profound thanks.

Belvoir Media was, for me, both a great haven and a source of inspiration. For at least the past three decades, print publishing has been under a relentless siege of declining economics, like flying into a persistent headwind that only gets worse. Year after year, Belvoir managed to navigate this dwindling universe, keeping its editors employed and, improbably at times, providing us with the resources to not just do the job, but do it well, unmolested by micromanagement. Belvoir always backed us in publishing topics that slaughtered the industry sacred cows.

Through an equally improbable set of circumstances, I evolved into an opinion writer and if born for it can be applied to anything, it applies to me. You will have noticed that I never lack for an opinion, wrong at times, obnoxious occasionally, but never speechless.

I know I pissed some people off because some of them still won’t talk to me. It’s less occupational hazard than the occasional unavoidable scar tissue. I can claim no great journalistic prizes or achievements other than having met the deadlines and properly filled the white paper with useful content. Well, maybe one. I believe I am the only editor who so enraged my boss (and friend) Tim Cole, that he slammed the phone into its cradle with such force that it scattered across the desk in its component pieces. To this day, neither of us can remember what contentiousness provoked this, but it’s a tribute to his patience and generous worldview that I wasn’t kicked down the stairs right then.

Tim not only suffered my cynical, juvenile humor but encouraged it. I can imagine no better working relationship, which is why I stayed on the job for 33 years. Rather than a gold watch as a retirement gift, I expect the pieces of that phone in a plain brown box. To my list of best colleagues ever, I would add Robert Englander, who raised Belvoir from a pup, and COO Phil Penny, who kept our myriad titles percolating along against odds I often thought insurmountable. My blogging colleague Paul Berge has been a constant inspiration and it was my honor to share this space with him.

Now that Belvoir’s aviation division has been bought by Flying Media Group, it is part of a greater whole. There is safety in numbers and economies in size and from what I’ve seen in the past several weeks of the transition, things are moving in a positive direction. I expect good things are coming and I’m pleased for my friends in aviation publishing who will remain in the game. Good on ya’, guys. I’ll still contribute an occasional guest blog and there may be a video or two left to be produced, but the daily grind passes on to others.

Published here are the very bookends of my aviation career. That’s a 1972 version of me with a post-war J-3 and striking a similar pose with the pre-war J-3 we now own. In between the two, well, I apparently really did get away with it.

So long y’all.    

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  1. Paul !!! Say it ain’t so ???

    I (we) will miss your prodigious output of topical, insightful and irreverent writing.

    Don’t sell your self short, you worked at the level of the aviation magazine greats like Collins, Garrison, Gilbert, and Gann.

    • Every login to AVWeb I looked for your writing, Paul. Not so much for the opinions but for the excellence of your prose. The opinions I valued too, which you presented with reasons and supported by your experience. I’ll miss you and your writing — am feeling the sadness.

  2. In the heart of a dusty California desert, amidst the sprawling cacti and the distant rumble of military and civilian jets, lived an old Mexican Vietnam vet named Rafael. Rafael, with his weathered skin etched with the lines of a thousand stories, had a passion for flight that rivaled the soaring eagles above. Every morning, without fail, Rafael would rise with the sun, his weathered hands reaching for the latest issue of AVweb, an online aviation news and information website. The reason for his unwavering devotion lay in the pages of the site, penned by a fellow Vietnam vet named Paul Bertorelli.
    Paul’s articles were like a shot of adrenaline to Rafael’s soul. They were witty, insightful, and often unapologetically opinionated. Paul wasn’t afraid to ruffle feathers, to challenge conventional wisdom, and to call out the BS in the aviation industry. And he did it all with a flair for the dramatic, weaving tales of near-disasters, heroic rescues, and lessons learned the hard way. For Rafael, Paul’s articles were more than just aviation stories; they were life lessons, reminders of the importance of perseverance, courage, and a healthy dose of skepticism.
    Rafael didn’t always agree with Paul’s opinions, but that’s what made their relationship so special. It was a clash of perspectives, a battle of wits, and a testament to the power of free speech. Even when their views diverged, Rafael found himself eagerly awaiting Paul’s next article, anticipating the intellectual joust that lay ahead.
    Over the years, Rafael and Paul’s connection deepened through the pages of social media. They became like pen pals, sharing their love for aviation, their experiences in Vietnam, and their thoughts on the world of aviation around them. Rafael would often clip out Paul’s articles and save them in a special box, a treasure trove of wisdom and wit that he would revisit time and again.
    As Rafael aged, his body grew frail, but his spirit remained as strong as ever. He continued to read Paul’s articles with the same fervor, finding solace and inspiration in his words. And every morning, he would wake up with a smirk on his face, knowing that somewhere out there, Paul Bertorelli was crafting another tale, another adventure, another lesson learned the hard way. Hasta la vista, Paul!

  3. Writing well is hard. When it appears to have been easily grasped by the reader, it proves the point.
    Paul proved this continually – on subjects ranging through the full spectrum of the human condition, philosophy, science, humor and imagination and gathered it all to shoot through the prism of aviation for each of us to interpret on our own in our own way. The comment section in his blogs revealed that regularly – and thanks for that opportunity.

    Can a Final Draft even exist for any written work or lifetime effort? I think not.
    So keep researching and writing through time and space, Paul, best wishes and thank you for helping me expand not just my aviation knowledge but general knowledge of many things related!

  4. Thanks for everything! How’s about occasional titillation just to remind us all of what we’re missing. Good luck in whatever comes next.

  5. guess we all gonna be missing your columns Paul. Still, looking forward to these occasional guest blog and video or two left to be produced 😉

    Thanks for all!

  6. Paul, you’ve earned your release from daily deadlines. I hope that we get an occasional visit to remind us of your part in our small but special community.

    I’ll miss your topical articles and especially your wit. I have long marveled at your ability to decompose a ticklish issue into elements that could be understood and analyzed, then put it all back together into something that (often at least) made sense and now had a sense of direction.

    I’ll join others here in accolades for your writing style. You commanded my attention. I cannot think of a single Bertorelli piece that I’ve abandoned mid-reading. I’ve always learned something new or looked with a different perspective at something that I thought I knew. Your bylines have been my go-tos each morning; I will miss that.

    Well done, Berto!

  7. Awww man. Sad to see you go, I honestly loved your columns and videos. Partly because of your writing style, but mostly because you were never afraid to hold and publish opinions that were more or less contrary to what most of us general aviation nuts think. Unleaded fuel? Not reflexively hating on the China connection? Helmets? In Aeroplanes? Who could get away with that in a major aviation news source? Well, you did. And I was glad to see someone pushing my preconceptions and making me think.

    Man, I will miss one of the most progressive opinion writers in a field that sometimes feels to me as having stopped evolving in the 60s. And I’m not talking about Lycoming engine technology. I hope you’ll get bored soon and start writing columns somewhere else – don’t just spend all your days flying, that’s really inconsiderate to us guys and gals sitting at the airfield wanting to read something while waiting for the weather to clear.

    Stupid low clouds. I gotta rewatch that pattern etiquette video.

  8. I beat you to it, both as fledgling pilot, and hearing the fat lady sing. First lesson, a J-3 in 1957; last PIC landing in 1989- also a Piper (PA38). High spot in 1970, LearJet ATP rating, but a fairly rapid tapering off in ’75. Meaning: I know how it feels. My current ‘home airport’ doesn’t even have any planes for rent, of any model or size, and I actually gave up frequent flying in 1986 because hourly rates had gotten so high. (Sigh….)

  9. I have faith the aviation world will provide you with enough stupid (the lead-free reliably renewable aviation resource) that you will find it irresistible to not offload comment when fully topped up.

    Fair winds, following seas…and cheap gas!

  10. Hi Paul.

    We do not know each other, but I know your writing and videos, which I have always enjoyed. Your journalism and opinion pieces provided enjoyable perspectives that I always looked forward to.

    I wish you all the best with whatever you turn your attention to in the future, and I thank you for all that you have provided in the past.

  11. There are a handful of people whom I know only through their writing. Writers do something I cannot do; a writer opens my mind by showing me theirs. Garrison references Shakespeare to explain a loose battery terminal, Berge delights us with whimsical views of a past in which we would wish to have lived, and Bertorelli educates us with his humanity, edged by an acerbic wit. Each of you is on my bucket list to share a beer or a meal with and you, Paul Bertorelli, are at the head of that list. Though I live in England I will one day pitch up in Venice FLA, determined to look you up. I have been reading your insightful output for a very long time. When I receive an AVweb email, I scan the list of articles – and though the authors are not named, it is easy to spot your work from the craft in your title and it is that article I open. What draws me to it, is not just your insight, aviation knowledge, curmudgeonly wit and ability to corral statistics, but your humanity. Because of you, I have pondered many things about Motorcycling, Northern France in WWII, being in a skydiving team, the ethics of negotiating a door with a foot in plaster, flying a non-radio cub, the delight of dipping bread in tomato sauce, the best response to a coming storm, and serving in Vietnam. When you write about the loss of a friend, it moves me to tears. When you write about engines. I learn something; when you write of the hopeless optimism of aviation ventures, you make me laugh out loud. May you and your wife get through many more chains on your BMW.

  12. I fly halfway round the world and only discovered AVWeb a couple of years ago but came to like your articles and videos to the point that I had your video voice in my ears when reading your articles. Thanks for many an interesting thought and good luck wherever you’re headed!

  13. Paul, I read and watched you for years before we became friends and – it still baffles me to say this word – colleagues. They say to never meet your heroes, and in many cases it rang true. I’d admired a lot of folks and found them nowhere near the expectations I’d held.

    On the other hand, you wound up exceeding expectations and while I’m sad to see you’ll be stepping away from Avweb, I draw solace in knowing I can pick up the phone from time to time when I need a dose of wit and insight from a friend.

    Enjoy the retirement, and include us in your pit stop plans when you pass through Atlanta.

  14. When I open up the Avweb email every morning, it’s to look for Paul Bertorelli’s column.

    Paul, I can get aviation news in multiple places, but this is the only one where I can get your humor and pithy insights along with the dry facts. We’ve never met, never corresponded, but yours was the voice of an old friend. I miss you already.

  15. Nothing new to add; all the above have said it all. Thank you for the laughter, insights, and your often self deprecating wit. Have a CAVU future!

  16. Paul, thank you for all the articles! You are my favorite and I hope you will continue to contribute! You might put a link to all of your articles, such as John Deacon’s Pelican Perch. You will be missed!

  17. Say isn’t so! I will sorely miss your humor and insights. Before you signoff, can please encourage Flying Media Group to publish a “Best of Paul Bertorelli” One of the best was a story about you flying the Mooney into a large high pressure system, enjoying the excellent ground speed and in the next moment you were looking at the ceiling with your snacks scattered throughout the airplane. It’s my favorite aviation story. I would love to read it again. Good luck in your next endeavors. In between the J-3’s was are rather nice M20J that “landed” in a salt water marsh.

  18. It won’t be the same every week without a Paul Bertorelli BLOG on AvWeb. This is sad news but the grind of a daily job gets tougher to handle as we get older. You are one of the best Paul! Your opinions always had a good dose of sarcasm and humor and in my opinion, you were usually correct. I hope you get to do more of what you love without the daily grind. God bless you my aviation friend who I have never met.

    Warmest regards – Brian Burton

  19. Congratulations on a great, entertaining career and thanks for all the informative articles and videos. I hope now you have a lot more time to fly that Cub.

  20. For some, your extensive positive contributions will be tempered by your Trump-like inability to accept constructive criticism and eagerness to insult and eviscerate any bold enough to attempt it using mere facts. Best exemplified in your video review of the Bristell with Lou Mancuso in a sunny Florida flight where neither of you glanced outside for traffic more than a half dozen times in a half hour and you labeled a commenter who pointed that out an “azzhole” for doing so.

  21. I didn’t expect you to retire so soon. You will be missed, except about that china thing. I’m tired of changing their inferior bearings on my farm equipment.

  22. Paul,
    We will miss you. Your thought-provoking work is always fun to read and inspiring. I admire anyone who can express and then support an opinion so well. Humor is an amazing journalistic tool and you use it well. Enjoy the next phase. I look forward to your occasional contributions to the site.

  23. If there’s one constant in life, it is that change is inevitable. I don’t even remember how I found Avweb, or when I started reading it (probably around 2008 when I was working on my instrument rating), but I have been hooked on it ever since. I first found the archives from John Deakin, which somehow eventually led to me finding articles written by some guy named Paul Bertorelli, and it quickly became one of the first things I’d read in the morning. I think one of my favorite videos that best exemplifies your style was the one talking about the traffic pattern in the J3 cub, and in each scene you had an additional eppaulet on your shoulder until they wouldn’t all fit.

    We will all miss your writing (and videos, but also glad to hear there may be one or two still to come), but you can enjoy your retirement knowing that so many of us hold you in high esteem with the rest of the aviation writing legends. Take care!

  24. Congratulations, Paul! You will be missed by your readers.

    I’ve enjoyed your articles, blogs, and videos over the years, having been both entertained and educated by them. I’ll miss reading them on a regular basis, but mostly I’ll miss your sense of humor that is quite similar to mine.

  25. Very sorry to see you go, Paul. Your columns were informative, entertaining, and provoked further thought on many, many subjects. Congratulations on a successful career! If you feel the urge to write on a semiregular at-whim basis, there’s always something like Substack. I’m sure many of your regular readers here would appreciate even an occasional witty burst now and then. Best wishes, blue skies, and tailwinds in all your future endeavors.

    If the Flying Media Group intend to replace your space with another writer, that person has a hard act to follow. Same with the pending retirement of Paul Berge. It’s the passing of an era in many ways, and the jury’s still out on the subtle changes happening at AvWeb. I read a number of av publications and web pages, and “Flying” is not one of them. All the best to AvWeb, but as the “Group” seems to homogenize itself, I don’t have to come along for the ride.

  26. To unashamedly steal a line from an actual writer, “Fare well wherever you may fare.”

    Best wishes Paul and thank you for always having an opinion and provoking thought!

    Happy flying!

    BS (my initials and NOT a snarky ending to a heart felt post)

  27. For a long time now, Paul has been the best journalist in General Aviation. He truly doesn’t give a s**t about offending anyone, yet he is totally objective with never an ax to grind. If FLYING Media has any sense, they will double Paul’s pay even for the occasional piece. Few writers have the depth of GA knowledge, the intelligent analysis, and the writing ability to appeal to the the broadest GA audience. Paul! Please keep writing for us somewhere!

  28. Oh wow! Your column is the first thing I read every morning. You will be sorely missed. In fact, it was your writing that got me to subscribe to Aviation Consumer! (so unbeknownst to you, you actually earned your boss another source of income). At least the good part is that you’re just retiring, and not dying!, so don’t go off and do some stupid pilot trick. And in another vein, sort of, I find it more than interesting how a reader can develop a somewhat strong emotional attachment to someone merely through that someone’s writing. I’ve come to love what appears as your honest assessment of objects and situations, perhaps because I share a similar “take” on “the world”. So, good bye, and thank you for your ongoing contribution to my life. Good luck on your next adventure, which I hope will be as engaging and rewarding as this one has been. Best Regards, Rich K

  29. Deadlines may be burdensome Paul but writing is compulsive. Keep a keyboard handy to snag random thoughts. I’ll read what you share. BTW . . . my dad was a Line-O-Type operator.
    A Piper J-3 keeps this retired aviator satisfied also over here at X21.

  30. Paul,
    Thanks for all your insightful commentary over the years. I’ve always appreciated professional and thoughtful writing over pretentiousness and self-aggrandizement, and you have always fit that bill.
    Best of luck in your next adventures.
    I hope you’re right about the coming Flying publishing mega-monopoly.

  31. Wow! Oh, my! This IS a shock. But as they say, “All good things must come to an end.”

    Thanks for all the years of insightful and invaluable perspectives unavailable anywhere else.

    Best of luck in all your future endeavors.

    Dave Potter

  32. I retired 16 years ago (I kept flying though) and all I can say is do at least one project every day, it doesn’t matter if it takes 15 minutes or 10 hours, just do it.
    I’ve enjoyed your stuff over the years and I hope you have a great retirement.

  33. Thanks for your wonderful, witty, and wonky writing. I’ve always enjoyed and looked forward to it. The best compliment I can pay is that I almost always knew when a story was yours within the first few sentences before I looked at the byline. Your unique style is instantly recognizable and a joy to read.

  34. Congratulations Paul. Thank you for all the content and effort you put into this industry. I started reading your work about 10 years before becoming a pilot. Now 10 years after I’ve stopped flying, I’m still reading. You’ll be greatly missed.

  35. Enjoy retirement Paul. Your writing, investigations, and opinions have provided a real service to your readers and the GA community, scars and all. Your voice will be missed. Don’t stay away completely, keep your hand in as able.

  36. It saddens me to read this news, Paul, but you have earned many times over, a change from the daily grind.

    Wishing you clear skies and a strong tailwind.

  37. Thank you Paul for your knowledge of aerodynamics, of aviation, of aviation history, of aviation current events, for your ability to insightfully analyze, and in addition to all the above, to have written and spoken about it all in such an artful manner. I read you as much and sometimes more for your artistry than for your take on subjects of the day. You are a true wordsmith and that will not end along with your career. Thanks you for sharing your gift of language with us.

  38. Paul, you hooked me when you were writing for Aviation Consumer. I sprung for a lifetime membership because of you. One of the best investments I ever made. I have always appreciated your straight shooting knowledgeable articles and videos. Tom is right about humor being a powerful journalist tool and you did in a style that I really appreciated. I will certainly miss your regular contribution to aviation.

  39. I started off my Monday morning like I always do, checking email. The typical AVweb email was waiting on me and after opening I was happy to find that I would get to start my week with Paul Bertorelli. Paul never disappoints and most likely will make me smile. I did smile after I got over the shock of you leaving. Paul, you will be missed. I have thoroughly enjoyed your years of writing. I never had the pleasure of meeting you in person but I feel like I am losing an old friend. Fair winds.

  40. You mean there will never be another, “AVweb Editor Arrested,” story, when you tried to escape Sun’n’Fun by crossing the Mexican Border, on a stolen motorcycle, with the help off your friends? Who’s going to keep us informed about “Stupid?” No other AV journo dares approach that subject like you do. You may say, “So Long,” but, I’m expecting it will sometime, for some reason, it really means, “See ya’.” Looking forward to that day.

  41. Sorry to see you go, Paul. Yours was a singular voice of sanity and well-reasoned thought in a medium that tends towards the simplification of ideas…least common denominator writing doesn’t expand the horizons…and your efforts over the past years ranks up with Collins, Deaken, Gann, and so many others.

    Enjoy YOUR time to explore new horizons without the press of deadlines…I’m right behind you as I wrap up 45 years of work in the IT realm, polish the bugs off my windshield, brim the tanks, and plan the next XC to somewhere I’ve not had the chance (or time) to visit. Or maybe it will be just sitting in my chair in the hangar with the door open, watching the students bump and go.

    Whatever you choose, know you made a difference. And in the end, that is all we can hope for!

    • I’m sure you’ll have blast. I just got back from a weeklong motorcycle tour of Spain and more are planned.

  42. I woke up thinking about your departure — in sadness — this AM.

    Like many have said, Avweb is one of the first websites I go to each day. In fact, it’s in position #2 on my ‘Favorites’ bar. The reason is largely because you are here. I always looked to see if you wrote anything new or did another video. Your retirement is well deserved BUT … you have a worldwide following and a natural ability to write or (now) produce awesome aviation videos…often whimsical and always enlightening. It would be a shame to totally turn that off. IMHO, no one does it better. In much the same way as aviating becomes a part of a pilot’s psyche, so to does writing in the style and ability of yours. Please come back as a guest writer when you find something all of us need to hear or know about. Keep your ‘juices’ going that way.

    I’ll tell ya one thing … Avweb/Flying is gonna have one helluva time filling your shoes. What better a thought to have on the first day of retirement … a worldwide following saddened by the news of your departure and asking — NO! Pleading — for an occasional visit. I retired 17 years ago. While I often say that “retirement is HIGHLY underrated,” I still miss the camaraderie of workmates and the activities of the aviation industry. I dip my toes in from time to time. Retirement doesn’t have to be a black and white thing … make it a ‘shades of gray’ thing … visit us once in a while. It’ll be good for us and good for you, too. That’s a helluva legacy to plant squarely at the forefront of your memories, I’d say. All the best.

    • Thanks indeed, Larry and thanks too for being a loyal reader all these many years. I will probably establish a personal blog of my own eventually. What I’ve learned in working alongside Berge is that we both have a burning need to write. His is like the noon day sun, mine more like a Christmas tree bulb. But we both keep perking.

  43. Paul,
    I’m so disappointed to realize that the fat lady is, indeed, singing her final aria, but as someone who (finally) retired from the aviation biz last year, I know that you are looking forward to your next adventure. I have always anxiously awaited your next article and opinions every week and have been sharing your missives with friends and colleagues for what seems like forever. I surely hope to see your further “guest appearances” in the future, as you are such a major figure in Aviation journalism-as far as I’m concerned anyway! Sorry that we never (haven’t) met in person (yet!). Enjoy, Paul!

  44. For some time, it has be rumored that “the TWO PAULS” are one and the same. Now they are both delivering their Swan Song–coincidence?

    I’m an FBO, with 52 years in the business–62 years of flying. I write for several aviation magazines, and when I managed to meet you at Oshkosh, I mentioned “I like your insouciant style of writing”–and your reply was pure Bertorelli–“Insouciant? THAT’s a $10 word–most people just call it “Smartass!”

    FLYING, by my count–has gobbled up over 20 aviation publications–and many of their columnists are no longer writing for them. That’s hard to fathom–they must have seen value in the publication to make the offer to buy it–yet the columnists (the provider of the CONTENT that FLYING paid for) are no longer producing the content that caused the publication to be a success. This “homogenization” of the industry does not bode well.

    Some commenters have compared your work with other writers–I’ve always been an Ernie Gann fan–LIKE YOU, he was able to provide context and observations to the “back story.” Yes–like other commenters–I place you in the pantheon of aviation journalists–“a group of particularly respected, famous, or important people.”

    If FLYING doesn’t have a “no-compete” clause in your contract, please find a way to continue to contribute your opinion and observations–and put me in line for first-run editions!

  45. Considering that I read “I Could Never Be So Lucky Again” years ago, as soon as I saw the title “I Could Never Get Away With This Again”, I had a feeling I knew what was coming. Paul, thanks for all the great story telling over the years. And here’s my advice, you’re “not retired”, you’re “in-between projects”, (like me). Greg Hill.

  46. Paul,
    You’ve already written a book. All you have to do is put your best and most timeless pieces into a collection and publish it. Plenty of us will buy it.

    What you can’t do is grow back that full head of hair.

    • Well, actually–if I let if go, it looks like that first photo again. It’s just all gray and looks kinda…stupid.

  47. Selfishly sad to see you retire – but happy for you! Hope to see you as a “guest writer/blogger” frequently! Enjoy your retirement!

  48. I wrote this same comment on an Aveweb’s “other” Paul’s article, just a few days ago, but I’ll write it again today. When you see an Avweb Article written by a guy named “Paul”, you can bet it’s gonna be REAL Good. No offense to the other “Paul”, but this one was THE MASTER! All the comments to this article bear out that fact. I’m truly sorry to hear that Paul is retiring, but I’m retired myself and I know that there comes a time to leave the hard work and pressure to someone else. Congratulations Berto, WELL DONE! Welcome to Retirement, where every day is Saturday!

  49. In its heyday, Flying magazine’s soul was bookended by two great aviation journalists, Richard Collins and Gordon Baxter. One gave us insights into how flying works, how to be skillful aviators; the other taught us what it meant, how to be joyful cloud dancers. Paul, you somehow managed to be both. Your writing has always been a pleasure to read, and I’ve known I’d learn something from each piece I’ve read, whether or not the topic was of any particular interest. I’ll miss it.

    • What a great tribute you wrote–“Collins”–“Baxter”–and BERTORELLI!

      I enjoyed the PRECISION and LOGIC of Collins….
      But for “Right to the heart of the issue” (mixed with allegory and historical Bon Mots and personal anecdotes–BERTORELLI IS THE BEST!

  50. NOOOooooo… 🙁 🙁 🙁

    While your latest (I refuse to say “last”) article refers to the end of your career, you leave out the degree to which this is your choice. I sincerely hope that this is all on you PB, or Flying has lost another subscriber. Again.

    I became a pilot and “Flying” subscriber in the sixties (my first actual magazine subscription; I bought “MAD” at the soda shop). I was a loyal subscriber for nearly fifty years, until one of their regular re-orgs left them such a shell of a publication that I just couldn’t justify the cost of the glossy advertising with a few desultory articles about kerosene-burning aircraft I would never seen on any field I frequented. More to the point, I stuck with them long after the departure of Gordon Baxter. The first thing this “new” Flying conglomerate should do is award you the ‘Bax Seat Award’ and then retire it, since they won’t have any writer remotely comparable to Ol’ Bax.

    And if you think you will no longer be a slave to the deadline, allow me (and all the retirees I know) to disabuse you of that canard. That “steady job” was the only thing protecting you from all the obligations that you will now accept from your wife, friends, relatives, and still-employed colleagues. After all, you’re “Not Working Anymore”. Your best bet is to compile a “Best of Bertorelli”. Or at least start on it, so you can use that as an excuse.

    Like everyone else here, I will miss your prose, scholarship, insight, animations, and frankly, your non-corporate ‘tude. The one big advantage I see of your new status is that you might finally be able to enjoy Airventure in a leisurely manner, albeit on your own dime. Next year, drop by Vintage Flightline Ops; all those beautiful antique and classic aircraft aren’t gonna park themselves, and we don’t let just anyone do it. And the stories you’ll hear from their owners/caretakers …

    Just don’t be a stranger. I’d love to see your commentary on AvWeb articles from our seats here in the peanut gallery.

    • A tip of the hat for mentioning my sophisticated animation work. I studied years to develop this. 😁 I really should have been at South Park.

      • HEY! There’s your next ‘gig,’ PB … producing an irreverent and humorous aviation version of South Park using your new found videography talents to make — say — a quarterly Bertorelli “gram.”

        EAA has Aviore; I’m certain you’d come up with some really, really cool protagonist to teach, expose, or otherwise have fun and make our day out here. Add some dopey aviation antagonist character — kinda like “Curly” — to help make your point. You could syndicate it and likely bring in enough $$ to finally put a starter on that J-3. You’d immediately develop a new following yet not be fighting short schedules.
        At Airventure, you can find me immediately N of the Light Sport runway at Boelters W of the shed. I always have beer. Stop in.

  51. Not to be the suspicious one of the group, but one of the first things that came to mind was the question of whether this is a voluntary retirement, or one “suggested” by the new management. A voice that cuts through the nonsense of PR word salads to get to the heart of the matter is not always welcome by those who have big-dollar advertisers to keep happy. Just sayin’. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go polish my tinfoil hat . . .

    • I can clear that up. For both Berge and I, this was a personal decision whose only uncertainty was timing. I had originally planned this for the week after AirVenture but when I called to announce that, I was asked to stay on for another 90 days to help with the transition to Flying Media Group.

      And that gets us to now. For both of us, the creative load was beginning to tell. Taking much longer to do things that is used to and I felt it was time for some new voices. They’ll be along shortly. I wish them all the best.

  52. I have had the pleasure of working with Paul since around October 31, 1989, and I have to say, for me, our association has always been a treat. We were both schooled in daily newspapers. We both had tough, no-nonsense editors we adored. We both had a cynical side, which Paul cultivated to perfection. He was also my instrument instructor and as we strapped on a ratty old Cherokee from Bridgeport’s Three-Wing Aviation, he liked to say with that ready sneer… “ready to slip the surly bonds?” Over the years, we’ve all enjoyed Paul’s “acerbic wit”, as he slaughtered and skewered all the sacred cows. He would be the first to tell you that aviation is expensive, time-consuming, and not without risk. But his natural skepticism could never hide the fun he was having as he slipped the Cub into a short grass field. And I liked the one where the epaulettes on his Van Heusen shirt kept adding stripes while he opined learnedly on proper pattern etiquette. Let’s not get started on his April Fool’s shenanigans. But you don’t get to be a helluva writer without knowing your stuff. Paul is an ATP, a CFII, and a serious student of the deep, broad world where pilots congregate—from accident stats to our fuels worries to our arcane rules and regs. He’s a great writer because he knows what the hell he’s talking about. Working with Paul has been one of the great joys of my professional career. I am delighted I was able to give Paul the platform, the electrons, and the pixels so he could perform at his best. I also knew how to keep the dragons at bay…and stay out of the way. I learned early it was always a good policy to let Bertorelli be Bertorelli. I am also delighted Paul chose to ease away from the keyboard on somebody else’s watch. Lastly, Paul…smashing that phone to smithereens was a worthy sacrifice to the Gods and a fitting trophy for our three decades plus friendship that I know will never end. So go take Val on a nice long ride…but I know you. Something will stick in your craw. You’ll be back.

    • Thanks, Tim, for being such a good friend, colleague and boss. I will always suppose you sold the joint so I couldn’t quit on you.

  53. As with all the comments above, I will truly miss your articles. All writers of note have a following, and please consider me one of your avid followers. I will particularly miss your inimitable way with words and phrases, but most especially your insights behind those words. The fact that I have been a pilot for many years and your topics have largely been aviation-oriented is incidental to my appreciation – I have looked forward to your work for lo these many years, and to the extent that we will see them again from time to time will enrich my life and no doubt the lives of your many other fans as well. As a subculture, aviation is well-served by talented writers and commentators in the field and has been for many years, but you stand out sir! May you enjoy your retirement…

  54. Well done Paul! You’re leaving as adroitly as you have always written. There are a thousand (well maybe a few hundred) aviation journalists out there who can cobble together some facts and a few opinions and thus fill an empty page. But precious few are they who can turn a phrase and craft a story in such a way as to make it something far more engaging and entertaining than its individual parts. You have well earned all the accolades coming your way. Who gets to inherit your mantle?

  55. You set a standard few have met, Paul, and fewer will exceed. It’s been a happy accident that I got to share a corner of an amazing industry with you. Clear skies and fair winds.
    So, does this mean we can finally get that cuppa coffee?

  56. The comments above say it all … I just want to add my admiration to the chorus. Your readers must be of a “higher caliber” since the comments today are as enjoyable to read as your column. You claim “no great journalistic prizes” but a ledger full of stout admirers is a prize itself. I also nominate you for the “Gordon Baxter Award for Aviation Humor” (there should be such a prize). I also place you among the great aviation writers. Wishing you Blue Skies Mr. Bertorelli.

  57. Paul,
    Thank you for all you have done for general aviation. You have been an incredible ambassador for GA. Diplomacy at its best has been described as the art of telling someone “go to hell” and actually having them looking forward to the trip. You walked that fine line of aviation realism through acerbic wit combined with true compassion for the cause. When chastisement was required, you did it with grace and often humor, allowing for more dialogue. Yet, you never lost your “ creds” by lukewarm compromise thru empty words. You mean what you say, and say what you mean in a style that is unique, authentic, always filled with wisdom, and enlightening. You took on many controversial subjects often opening my mind to other possibilities outside of the status quo. While I enjoyed Bax, Collins, Gann, and other notable aviation writers, frankly none of them… in my book… can hold a candle to you. There is only one Bertorelli, dispensing Bertorellisms, through both the written page and video ( a rare combination). Simply put… you have and will continue to do a great job of being one of most influential and entertaining GA ambassadors. Now you get to do it on your terms. Well earned. I look forward to more “guest” blogs and videos. Like others, I look forward to BOB… the Best Of Bertorelli compilation. We will miss that unique Bertorelli diplomacy that GA will always need. Once again, thank you!

  58. Paul, Though we’ve never met in person, I feel like we’ve been traveling together for many years and it’s been a great flight. Thanks for the enlightenment, entertainment, and inspiration. Best of luck in whatever you do and wherever life takes you. We will miss you.

  59. The first sentence of the second paragraph hit me like a ton of bricks! Still feeling the wind knocked out of me.

    Congratulations Paul!

    I’ve so enjoyed your writing over the years, at AvCon and then AvWeb.

    Since 84 people have already commented by noon the day of the announcement, there’s little more to add.

    I will say that your writing has had a huge impact not only on my flying, but also on my personal philosophy.

    Good luck away from the grind! I look forward to an occasional editorial or video when you feel like it. I suspect you will have something important to teach us from time to time. Freedom from “having to” is wonderful. Enjoy!

  60. Fare thee well Paul. I’ve enjoyed your stuff for many, many years.
    And for what it’s worth, I would definitely be interested in subscribing to your Substack newsletter. Should you be inclined to start one.

  61. Although sometimes I didn’t share Yours points of view, You’re to me a respectable writer and blogger. I, as an retired already and living almost 5.000 miles away, will miss my readings of Your column.
    I’m feeling sad in the last days of my life to see journalists like You to retire (abandoning??) the GA publications. Does it (GA) deserve it now? Blue skys, Mr. Paul Bertorelli.

  62. Hi Paul, many blessings on your retirement from AvWeb. I know you won’t miss the deadlines (I don’t!), but maybe they’ll be replaced by kinder, gentler nudgings that will compel you to occasionally share your sharp wit and observations.Take care, hope to meet you at Oshkosh.

  63. There comes a time in everyone’s working life that you recognize it is time to step away and turn the proverbial reigns over to the next generation. For the fortunate ones, the recognition and decision are theirs to make, not one handed down from above. For almost 20 years, I have looked forward to your writings on whatever subject you picked for that column or video. Sometimes we agreed, and sometimes not, but I always came away feeling like I had learned something and the time was well spent. I met you one time at Sun ‘n Fun and had a chance to watch you in action. You were busy as the proverbial bee going about your business with no entourage and no fanfare, just getting the story. It made me realize how much work goes into even a short video interview or product review. Making it all look seamless and easy is the mark of a true professional.

    Like many others, I will miss your dry wit and extensive knowledge, and your willingness to point the skewer at those who deserved it, regardless of the outcome. I wish you tailwinds and blue skies wherever your old Cub takes you. Just don’t be too much of a stranger, okay?

  64. Man, this is the “Paul post” I’ve been dreading ever since the other “Paul post.” Safe to say that we all envy your knowledge and experience but, most of all, appreciate your willingness and ability to colorfully express your perspective. I’ll remain positive and say that change isn’t necessarily bad, just different. But, for sure, this place just isn’t going to be the same.

    Congrats on your next chapter and sincere gratitude for all of the great content…past, present, and long into the future.

  65. Paul,
    That small audience include me. D-8329 was a PRO and Tandum Master for many years.
    Owned 2 Cessna 182 years ago, still have one 182L w/0-520FTS jump door, tow hook, STOL kit. Oh also got a 70 Citabria 7GCBC that makes me smile now that I no longer jump.
    If you ever in the Shenandoah Valley Area please advise, KSHD is a nice hang out with nearby DZ’s Enjoyed your work and spot on comments!!!!

  66. “Let’s see if I can compress the history of how I got here into three sentences…This is the third sentence.”

    Your style is delightful.

    Congratulations Paul!
    I read the comments from readers responding to your AVweb retirement announcement and it’s clear they think very highly of you and have really appreciated your work. I am another one of them. I also always listened carefully to what you had to say in the Pilot Workshops round-tables. You have taught me some important lessons about flying and validated some ideas I’ve had. For example, I would like to buy a flight helmet if they ever go on sale, but because they don’t, I was thinking of buying one for skiing (on sale now) and modifying it so my headset fits.

    I retired from a career as a parole officer two years ago and it was as if a 250-lb felon got out of the back seat of my Champ and said, “Go on. You can fly this thing by yourself, now.” I hope you will notice a similar burden has been lifted from your Cub the next time you “slip the surly bonds….” I suspect your lengthy practice of studying and reporting on the tragic details of aviation crashes might be one of those burdens.

    I just did a YouTube search and re-watched “A Sarcastic View Of Pattern Flying,” to punctuate your turning point with silliness and laughter.

    I wish you the best in all your future endeavors and that if you ever stall your Cub on the base (or final) turn, you get away with it, again.

  67. Paul,
    I wish I could be eloquent as the many before me.
    I truly will miss your self deprecating wit and humor.
    My job clock is winding down as well, a little under 3 yrs to go. My hope is to be as revered as you are when I walk away.
    CAVU and tailwinds kind Sir.


  68. For many years you’ve been my go-to, all time favorite aviation journalist, Paul. Enjoy your retirement, and remember, when people try to entice you into cluttering up your calendar with stuff: “No,” is a complete sentence. Be well.

  69. Paul,
    I’ve been an avid reader for many years, and really grew to appreciate your writing after an Oshkosh stint with one of your competitors. Your snarky style has always been appreciated as well as your acerbic wit. I really like the way you take an aviation subject apart and look at it from many angles. Your writing will be missed but you’ve certainly earned retirement or whatever you want to call the next chapter.
    I have a friend who is a farmer by family inheritance and works on motorcycle electronics as a secondary source of income. He has a Cardinal and a Cub on his farm with two grass strips. He makes it a point to fly the Cub at least once a day unless weather doesn’t cooperate. It’s how he keeps current and stays on an even keel. I hope you have the ability for a long time to do the things you love every day without deadlines, whether flying, motorcycling, skydiving, or travelling. Every now and then, entice us with a slice of your life and we’ll call it good. Take care and thank you for the insights!

  70. Dang! Now where am I to go for the “Snarky Wiseass” take on all things aerially elevated?

    And in my book “Snarky Wiseass” is a supreme compliment that sadly far too few are worthy of. You, kind sir, have maximized snarkosity to the point of beauty. Your style is enviable and in fact the whole reason I subscribed to this deal here.

    I am serious in as much as I will need some poor sap to step up (metaphorically speaking of course) to the level of personal freedom that you have in order to continue. News isn’t interesting and honestly I don’t want to know. I live in the desert so it doesn’t matter. But attitude and style are entertaining. You haven’t always been right ( in my estimation) but you’ve always been fun. To me that’s all that matters. Aviation is supposed to be fun – and you contributed to that fun. Good job boss.

    Being retired myself, I understand the decision and would never attempt to dissuade anyone from it. But you will be missed. Thank you very kindly for the contribution you’ve made to my personal fun. It’s not worth anything, but I sure appreciate it.

    Best of everything.

    • Thanks for mentioning it, Bill. You’re right, some sap will have to step up. Stay tuned for the next phase.

  71. Congratulations on your retirement. Enjoyed your writing for many years. I am retiring in the spring so maybe I will see you on the field, my hangar is near you.

  72. Wow, been a rough couple of weeks for me personally and Paul your not helping any!

    Your writing style is, in a fantasy world of my own imagination, the exact same as what I would be capable of if I decided to try. I have tried, I did not succeed.

    Pretty sure I speak for many folks in our end of the aviation world, we need you and other folks that look at the myriad of issues in this business from a non biased, real world perspective.

    Thanks for it all and if it moves you, keep it coming.

  73. As an occasional contributor to your publications over many years, Thank you for your patience and efforts to make a 3/4 a$$ed pilot into a 1/2 a$$ed writer. Your brutal honesty and sharp wit, in both your writing and your critique, will be missed. None of the names previously mentioned here were your peers in these two important metrics. –Doug Rozendaal

    • Thanks, Doug, and for all your help and guidance on things warbird over the years. Wish the best going forward.

  74. Paul,
    As a long time reader, I thank you for everything. I hope to run into you again in the future. Figuratively, of course, and not in midair.

    Best regards,

  75. Paul, thank you for being a voice of reason and clear thought. From lead in avgas to aerosol science (thinking COVID here), you have repeatedly demonstrated unbiased attention to the facts. Your departure will be a blow to intelligent discussion of issues relevant to general aviation.

    Best of luck with all of your future efforts.

    Fred G.

  76. So sad to hear this but I know all good things must come to an end. You were the most informative and entertaining person when it came to aviation news. Really going to miss your reports.

    How about one more report on unleaded fuel just for laughs!😆

  77. I have come to appreciate your talent as a writer through my own occasional attempts to share my 50+ years of aviation experiences. You have artfully achieved what we mere duffers strive to accomplish but seldom experience: the validation of your effort by the admiration of your audience. BRAVO Paul!
    Larry Ford

  78. Early in my aircraft ownership life about 30 years ago I needed to get the Goodrich Stormscope in my 1978 Grumman Tiger repaired, but because it lacked any visible serial number or identifying marks Goodrich refused to touch it. What to do? Well, as a subscriber to Aviation Consumer (and many other excellent Belvoir publications), I took a flyer on emailing Paul Bertorelli. Paul contacted Goodrich and lo and behold the next thing I knew Goodrich accepted it and repaired it. A little kindness, probably long forgotten by Paul, but not by me. Thanks Paul for that and for 3 decades of informative and entertaining writing. Bob Davison

    • I remember that. That was in the days when companies actually delivered, you know, customer service.

  79. I’ll just add my note to the many you’ve already received to say you have been my favorite aviation journalist for many years. You have a unique writing style that’s yours and yours alone. As the many comments show, you are going to be missed. Best wishes in your future endeavors.

  80. Dear Paul,
    I am surprisingly sad and empty as I read your last post as well as all the tributes. The world is burning and yet I am crying about the retirement of the Ted Lasso of flying!? I’m such a softie.

    But seriously, thank you for sharing your thinking, the details behind your views. In the great wasteland of professional and social media, your are one of few authors for whom I can relax my guard. You did all the skeptical and cynical so I didn’t have to.

    It didn’t hurt that you are also funny; makes you a better teacher. So I just hope that you are mentor for some fresh talent. Did you train your replacement? I want to miss you, just not too much.

    Happy trails,

    • Ya know, I haven’t watched a single episode of Ted Lasso. Guess I’m gonna have to. Thanks for the kind words.

  81. I’ll miss all your great articles and will be looking forward to your occasional guest blogs. Thank you so much for providing much entertaining and enlightening over the years. Enjoy that J-3 Cub.

  82. Don’t want to discourage you, but my father-in-law, a journalist who worked for national newspapers, and then founded and edited a specialist magazine, retired to do a doctorate in naval history — and then went back to work as a reporter/sub.
    And worked in London till he was 80, saying once his hair was white, no-one could tell if he was 50 or 80.
    Dismal pensions in the job (I know from personal experience), contributed to non-retirement, but also he found most retired folk so, extremely, boring…. Sure it will not happen to you?

  83. Paul
    I recently sold my farm and in a few months will complete my last construction project and retire from building as well as farming so I am gaining a new perspective on retirement and it’s very appealing. Time for what I want to do rather than what others want me to do. You have well earned your retirement and I trust you’ll now have time for everything you want rather than what others want of you. That said, I will greatly miss your columns and commentaries; they have been the high point of my aviation reading. Your wit and disrespect of foolishness and bureaucratic idiocy resonates loudly with this little Aussie black duck.
    I must take issue with you though on one point. You contend that a three-volume history on pork belly trading would be more engaging than any book you might write. I think I’d be singing with a large choir in saying that is not possible. Indeed I fervently hope that in your retirement you might carve out a few hours a month to jot down some short stories from your illustrious career and maybe in a few years publish them in book form. I suspect every second flying school and hangar across your great nation and mine would want a copy and apart from anything else you’d do the most immense favour to tens of thousands of wives/husbands, girlfriends/boyfriends and others who would instantly have the perfect birthday or Christmas gift for their aviation obsessed significant other. Think about it. Please.
    Mate, I wish you clear skies and open roads. Enjoy life’s next chapter.

  84. Let me join in and say how sad I am to see this news. I quit almost all of my other Aviation news feeds except this one due to you, Paul. Now, I am not sure what to do.
    I have enjoyed all of your stories and videos. It is always the first thing I read in the morning. I don’t comment much, but your stories were always funny and thought provoking.
    Regardless, I wish you blue skies and tailwinds, in whatever you decide to do from here. Thank you for the enlightenment!

  85. I’ve heard tell that a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Paul has shown us that so does a concoction of intelligence mixed with acerbic wit. Speaking for myself, Paul, I hope AvWeb doesn’t abandon the hard-nosed, honest coverage of the industry that you fostered. Thanks for everything!

  86. Well done, Paul, except I expect you’re not quite done. 😉

    BTW, I note the “fat lady” picture at the start of the article. A gig with J. D. Wentworth may be in your future.

  87. Paul, as I age I appreciate quality even more. You are a professional journalist, a unique mixture of professionalism, accuracy, impressive command of the language, some (?) dry humor, a dash of sarcasm, and maybe even a bit of smart-ass! It has been reassuring at the least to know that, when reading your column, I am getting the most accurate information that you can knowingly produce. You’re the proverbial “tough act to follow”, and your writings will be truly missed by so many. I wish you clear skies and smooth sailing in your years to come! Thank you!

  88. Congrats Paul! I loved your writing and videos. My aviation career also spanned from 1972 to this year. Thank you for helping fill my bucket of experience before my bucket of luck ran out.
    Safe travels.

  89. It is definitely a shock to read this. I have always looked forward to your thoughts and your writing. I will still look for your occasional inserts in future Avwebs. Thank you for all you have done over the years. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

  90. Paul, you will be missed. As many others have already said, I come here mainly to read your educated, informative, opines infused with wry observations, and unafraid to take on controversial subjects. I used to ride motorcycles a lot and received numerous magazines on the subject. What does that have to do with anything, you ask? Well, as in flying, it is considered to be slightly riskier than driving, and yet, every magazine did not feel the need to have at least one or two articles discussing crashes and fatalities as the aviation media does, in the name of education and prevention. It would scare off more newbies to riding than it would attract, and I feel it may have some of the same effect in aviation, but one dost not make such proclamations in the old guard of aviation journalism. But you did. And almost made me cheer in my seat. I did not always agree with some of your other thoughts, but always considered your perspective. I sincerely hope you, after a break, submit guest articles, and often. And considering your years of experience, a humorous educational article, perhaps on which barf bags are the best, and how to get the smell out of the airplane, would be appreciated. 😀 I met you once years ago at Sun n Fun for a brief moment, hope to run into you again someday, and wish you clear and smooth skies ahead.

  91. Well damn!
    I almost never commented in AvWeb, but read it voraciously. Paul, I read your articles rapt fascination, not only for your aviation wisdom but the sheer entertaining value. Simply and honestly put… there is no writer I enjoy reading more than you.
    PLEASE, write a book. Please write something, and often!

    I’ll miss you.

  92. Oh no! This is shocking news! Never saw it coming. Why not a 12 month farewell tour to get us Paul Bertorelli fans and followers a bit more used to the idea?! This is much too sudden. Your articles and videos are so far above the usual efforts in content and delivery–inside and outside of aviation. The hole their absence creates will be immense. Someone has erred mightily in letting you go–even if you wanted to go. Your departure will leave us all immeasurably less informed and less entertained. This is a very sad day. 🙁

  93. Well, sheeeeit. When I saw the fat lady picture, I knew where this was heading. I’m sorry to see you go. You are the best writer in this business, because you take the material seriously and yourself, well, not so much. Your critical insight on aviation safety, regulation, and the industry are unparalleled. Your writing is fun and original and very smart. I’m going to miss reading your latest brainstorm. Drop us all a crumb once in awhile, please.

  94. Paul,

    I’ve never posted or commented here before, but feel compelled to say thank you. Writers are the people who thought we’ve never met, become our true friends by enlightening, informing and teaching us. Thank you for your many wonderful articles and videos you’ve shared over the years. Your words have gotten me through many a cubicle farm workday in good cheer!

    Secondarily, in my other career as a “spare time” CFI, your video on pattern etiquette is mandatory viewing for all of my students, including those who are experienced! Selfishly, I sincerely hope to see more observations from you here and elsewhere….but I also wish you much enjoyment with your time that you don’t have to dedicate to your daily grind. Thank you again. If we ever cross paths in person, the meal/beer/coffee/etc is on me.



      He is perfectly suited to utilize his sharp wit to skewer questionable policies and procedures ANYWHERE in the aviation business. Some possibilities:
      . Traffic pattern procedures.
      . Radio self-announced calls–far too many people making useless calls–“leaving the ramp”–“taxi on Alfa to runway 35”–“crossing runways 23”–“holding short of 35″–taking off on 35”–“crosswind” (AND downwind, AND base, AND final)–that’s 5 calls for every pattern circuit–or at least one a minute! I posted a sign in the FBO–“Aviation happens because of Bernoulli–not MARCONI”–I ACTUALLY HAD A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR ASK ME “WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE?”
      . Radio calls that have no practical value–“Holding over *****as published”–anyone not familiar with the area will have no clue of what you are doing!
      . Flight instructors soloing a student by getting out at the end of the runway–if the student DOES have a problem, the instructor has no radio, and is in no position to advise.
      . Pilots who decline to practice crosswind landings because “It’s too windy!” Take an instructor along and LEARN, and you’ll feel much more comfortable.
      . The pilot’s lounge-lizards that critique other pilots flying skills–yet it has been months or years since they flew themselves.

      You can write at your own selected pace, as there is an inexhaustible amount of material out there, Paul–just WAITING for someone with your powers of observation, perspective, and wit for commentary! (smile)

  95. Geez, I’m tuned out for a few days and look what I return to find. Not much to do now but add one more “Damn, we’re going to miss you, Paul!!” And may whatever you have set up beyond this door turns out even better than you hoped it would.

  96. Great Scott!!! I get behind, and miss one day’s worth of news, and it’s THIS??? I don’t know what to say. Paul I’ve been reading your work my entire career (since the mid 90’s I suppose). I don’t recall ever disagreeing with you. I love your humor. I love the inclusion of your opinion in your work. I think you are very clear about when you’re providing hard facts and when you’re providing color. You sir, are a STANDARD by which others will be measured.

  97. Oh no! The first thing I do when I receive an Avwebflash is scroll down to see if there is an article or video from Paul Bertorelli, in the knowledge that, whether I am interested in the subject or not, it will be highly entertaining and will make me smile, and I might just learn something in the process. Judging by the distance I have had to scroll to leave this message I realise I am not the only one who you will leave marooned on an island where intelligent humour has lost one of its great contributors. I retired 7 years ago and therefore totally understand that the time comes when you have had enough and have to enjoy doing other things, in your case presumably doing silly things with parachutes. However if you ever have second thoughts please come back to entertain us some more. I wish you well, and thank you for making occasional mornings much more sunny for me.

  98. Oh no!! Say it ain’t so! I love your writing and your videos. I had to read this one twice because I couldn’t believe/didn’t want to believe what I seemed to be reading. I still am an shock. The way you’re able to present complex topics clearly and with humor is second-to-none. I really hope there is some outlet for you in the future. I will miss you from these pages.

  99. I always read you first. That’s the highest compliment I can give.

    Enjoy your retirement. You earned it.

  100. I only just read this…. which is not normal as I tend to click on a Bertorelli byline first if given a choice. Amongst all the stories and opinions that aviation elicits, your view is one I always valued. We need your particular combination of realism, cynicism and humour! I’m already looking forward to the guest columns, but will also wish you a very enjoyable and long retirement.

  101. Echoing all others, you and Paul Berge were the two writers I come to AVweb regularly for. Tis a sad time indeed.

    We’ve learned a lot from you, your writing and video editing style is among the best I’ve ever witnessed. Never dull, always informative.

    Just saying, I would pay to watch ground school/flight training videos from you. Probably learn way more and enjoy every second of it. Plus you’d make every CFI’s and flight school’s job way easier…

    Blue skies and tail winds.

  102. Dang, you are the author that I look forward to reading the most! I wish you would write a book. I’d buy it in a heartbeat. Also, the comment above about ground school videos is a brilliant idea.

    I wish you all the best going forward. Stay safe and have fun!

  103. Paul,
    I will truly miss your writings and videos. The moment I start reading something that you have written, without knowing the author, I do. You can take that anyway, but it was meant in a positive manner. Don’t be a stranger to posting things, because I like what you say and most of the time agree with you. (I think I said things to Rush Limbaugh one time.)
    Thank you and all the best,
    Ray Ebner

  104. The end of an era. Having somewhat recovered from the initial shock, and cycled through a few stages of grief before putting finger to keyboard, I’m consoled by the thought that occasional gems still to come will be all the shinier for their rarity. Happy for you to ride off into the sunset, as long as you remember to write home occasionally. Thanks Paul, and so long.

  105. It’s all been said already, but I’ll add my words as well: Thank you, Paul, for all you’ve said. Writing is hard work, and you do it well. If I ever see a book with your name on the spine I’ll buy it without a second thought.

  106. 40+/- years ago I heard you tell the OFC (née SSFC) that you had hitched your wagon to this aviation star. Now you know where it has taken you.

  107. Paul, you have a way of getting things down to crayon level (the level I normally operate at) when talking about all topics aviation. Thanks for your candor, your smart-assed sense of humor, your knack for humor, and your ability to highlight the little things that make flying and aviation a passion for so many people. Enjoy your well-earned retirement.

  108. Paul:
    I missed this blog entry and while I am not surprised that you have decided to “retire” (whatever that means), you will be missed. Over the decades I have known you and read your never dull or boring scribbles, I have always been informed, entertained, and have enjoyed the product of your work. You will be missed. What makes me ponder more than anything is how Paul can retire and I am still here working. LOL. Blue skies and dont be a stranger we are always over here on the other coast waiting for a visit.

    All the best my friend.