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Happy birthday, ‘AOPA Pilot’

Premier aviation magazine is 65 years old

‘AOPA Pilot’ made its debut as an independent magazine with the publication of its first issue in March 1958.
'AOPA Pilot' magazine
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'AOPA Pilot' magazine

Since 1939, AOPA had reported on general aviation in what was first Popular Aviation then Flying and Popular Aviation and finally Flying magazine. AOPA contributed to the Ziff-Davis publication in first the “AOPA Section” and then “The AOPA Pilot.” The decision to break from Ziff-Davis and Flying was made by AOPA President Joseph B. “Doc” Hartranft, Editor Max Karant, and Managing Editor Charles P. Miller.

“The editorial policy of The AOPA Pilot will be to educate, entertain, and inform, and to do so objectively, forcefully, and fearlessly,” said Karant.

The editorial staff had offices at AOPA headquarters, which at that time was located at 4644 East-West Highway in Bethesda, Maryland. Freelance writers and AOPA members wrote most of the 1958 magazine content. Membership was $10 per year (adjusted for inflation, that’s about $100 now) and the first staff writer for The AOPA Pilot earned $6,000 per year.

The first cover of The AOPA Pilot featured an air-to-air photograph of the Cessna 182 Skylane. The magazine used the title The AOPA Pilot until 1979, when “The” was dropped.

AOPA Pilot is the world’s largest-circulation general aviation magazine, staffed by pilots and aircraft owners who are award-winning writers, artists, and photographers. The magazine consistently wins design and photography awards each year.

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Julie Walker
Julie Summers Walker
AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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