Aviation Journalist Richard Collins Dead At 84


Richard L. Collins, well-known author of books about aviation and longtime editor-in-chief at Flying magazine, died on Sunday at his home in Maryland. Collins began his journalism career working on Air Facts, a magazine founded by his father, Leighton Collins. He began writing for Flyingin 1968 and became editor-in-chief in 1977. He also worked at AOPA Pilot, and wrote more than a dozen books. Collins earned his private pilot certificate in 1952 and logged more than 20,000 hours in GA aircraft. Recently, he had been writing a blog for Air Facts Journal, a website he developed together with Sportys Pilot Shop. He appeared in videos for Sportys, teaching pilots about weather and ATC procedures. Collins was 84. He had learned to fly in the 1950s, and had been writing for aviation magazines since 1958.

Numerous aviation journalists have posted appreciation online for Collins work, praising his skills as an editor and publisher as well as a writer and communicator. The general aviation community has lost one of its greatest safety champions, said NBAA President Ed Bolen. Dick Collins shared his knowledge with thousands of fellow light-plane pilots, thus making our industry safer. … Much of his advice is timeless and will continue to benefit aviators for years to come. Robert Goyer, editor of Plane & Pilot, who worked with Collins at Flying, recalled his generosity. Dick had the knack, and this was perhaps his greatest gift, of noticing important things about our everyday flying that somehow either never occurred to us or escaped our ability to put it into words, Goyer wrote. Tom Haines, vice president for media at AOPA, had fond memories of working with Collins. I am grateful for his leadership, the many lessons he taught me when he allowed me to fly his revered Cessna P210, and his friendship, Haines wrote on Monday. He was an icon in general aviation publishing and a safety advocate unlike any we’ve ever seen. He will be missed.