Apt Tribute to THE Journalist of General Aviation

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NOVEMBER 6, 2018

The Richard Collins Writing Prize For Young Pilots

by Air Facts Staff

The JDA Journal has been a big fan of the writing of Richard Collins. He captured both the beauty of flying but also commanded the science, engineering, meteorology, navigation and wisdom of this endeavor. He had the rare touch of conveying the risks of flight with precision and not fear. His death was a great blow to aviation journalism.

Thanks to the generosity of his three children (Charlotte Richard Sarah) and Sporty’s,  The Richard Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots is being offered . To qualify, the writer must be a pilot (including student pilot) who is 24 years of age or younger. The article must be original, not previously published, and no longer than 1,500 words. The topic may reflect any aspect of general aviation flying.

The winning article will be published in Air Facts, the publication Richard’s father, Leighton, founded in 1938 and which was relaunched eight years ago by Sporty’s as an online magazine. The articles will be judged by a panel of three: Richard Collins, Jr., J. Mac McClellan, and Amy Laboda.

“Mac worked with Richard for nearly 40 years, and Amy was hired by Richard for her first full-time aviation writing position,” says Sporty’s Vice President and Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman. “Over the years, many young pilots were hired and mentored by Richard.”

The winning article will be published in Air Facts while its writer, the Richard L. Collins Scholar, will receive a check for $2,500. The prize will be awarded during the 2019 Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lted now through March 1, 2019, and sent in as a Word document to editor@airfactsjournal.com.  In addition, young pilots are required to submit a 100-word bio to accompany their articles.


“This writing prize honors two passions of my father – Air Facts and finding new writing talent among young pilots,” says Richard’s son, Rich. “My sisters, Charlotte and Sarah, and I are honored to not only help fund this prize, but to help to continue my father’s legacy. We know this effort would make him happy.”


More about his life.

A scholarship which encourages young people to master both writing and piloting is such an apt tribute to the journalist of General Aviation.



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