Anniversaries were invented to remind us we should pause and reflect on what has transpired over the past year, decade or century. We all have celebrated them. Important historical events also have anniversaries, such as the founding of the country, the enactment of significant legislation, the beginnings and endings of wars or a significant technological breakthrough. Time itself has anniversaries as the world passes from one century to the next.
Magazines have anniversaries, too, and this one celebrates its 10th year of publication with this issue. It was founded originally under the title of Aviation Heritage but the title was later changed to more judiciously express its purpose. The publisher believed there was a yearning for all of us interested in aviation to have a continuous source of accurate information about its past. He was right on. Aviation History was founded on that obligation and has admirably satisfied the need, not only to inform but to remind.
As we plunge into the 21st century and plan to celebrate the first 100 years of manned flight in 2003, there has been much hullabaloo about the many wondrous things that happened during the last century. Whatever was said, there was no ignoring that it was the era of controlled, powered, fixed-wing flight. Man defied gravity first in frail wood, wire and canvas machines, and now travels faster than the speed of sound. And it cannot be denied that the airplane has influenced the future of all nations by compressing time and distance.
As Aviation History celebrates its first decade, we look back on articles featuring the vehicles and their capabilities as well as the men and women who conceived them, put them together and dared to fly them. It has commemorated technological breakthroughs and aviation’s milestone events. It has also reminded us of the agony of failure of man or machine, and the thrill of success when an aeronautical feat that was once only dreamed about was accomplished.
The publisher and staff of Aviation History believe they have a duty to encourage public interest in aviation history and keep it alive. They strongly advocate the preservation of historic aviation artifacts, diaries, military records, oral histories, books, videotapes, films and photographs. They propose that owners and their families donate these items to universities, museums and organizations that will preserve them and make them available on a controlled basis to tomorrow’s scholars and researchers. At the same time, they realize that there is much misinformation about aviation that is perpetuated by uninformed reporters assigned to cover flying events without the advantage of accurate historical background information. Therefore, they strive for accuracy in each issue and seek to be a continual source of aviation facts and narratives. If errors are pointed out by knowledgeable readers, the editor gives the authors the opportunity to respond and then, space permitting, prints the criticism and a response, if appropriate.
One of the outstanding achievements of Aviation History‘s research staff is the ability to carefully explore the country’s archives and locate appropriate, timely photographs, paintings and renditions by outstanding aviation artists. The skillful technicians in the art department then enhance each article with outstanding layouts. The result is always a fascinating issue that sets it far apart from any other aviation publication.
As one of Aviation History‘s contributing authors, I thank the publisher, editor and staff for the opportunity to submit articles, book reviews and photographs and make recommendations for its editorial content. As a member of the editorial advisory board, I appreciate being included in the review process when there may be doubt as to the accuracy of claims in a contributor’s manuscript or when an opinion is required regarding its value to the historical record.
I forward my best wishes to the publisher and staff for another decade of devotion to creating a reminder of the miracle of human flight for which the 20th century will forever be remembered.
Carroll V. Glines
Arthur H. Sanfelici, Editor, Aviation History