First Word: September 2012

The Watch Changes

A couple of years ago when I was having fun chasing down all the doublespeak larding up the avgas replacement effort, NATA President Jim Coyne made a comment to me as we were leaving yet another information-free meeting masquerading as a press conference. “You know,” he said, “you were born for this.”

Jim is an old-school airplane guy from back in the days when the industry was a friendlier place than it is now and he’s a long-time aircraft owner and reader of Aviation Consumer. He knows me we’ll enough to sense my unrestrained glee in pursuing stories that certain interests in the industry would rather see kept in the shadows. This natural predilection springs from my experience as an unreconstructed hooligan in Catholic school and was further reinforced early in my career in the newspaper business, where wide-eyed awe is checked at the newsroom door.

But at some point, the fun always ends, does it not? And so effective with this issue, I will be handing over the editorship of Aviation Consumer to my colleague Rick Durden. He’s been ably editing our sister magazine, IFR Refresher, for several years and is the perfect guy to assume the reins of the only magazine in aviation publishing that still offers an honest and independent critical voice free of commercial influence. He’ll be assisted by our highly capable avionics editor, Larry Anglisano.

Obviously, for me, stepping down is no easy decision. Jim was right. When I stumbled into the editor’s chair of Aviation Consumer­—really, it found me—it felt like the perfect match for my skills and outlook. I have enjoyed it immensely. But after 18 years, it’s time for new eyes on the project and a fresh perspective.

The considerable reward of having edited this magazine is its readers. All of Belvoir’s titles are uniquely married to the interests of their audiences, which are discerning, demanding and engaged. There’s no more satisfying experience for an editor than publishing for readers who are paying attention. So to our subscribers, I offer my heartfelt thanks. It has been a rare privilege to serve you.

A word about Belvoir Media Group and its unique culture. Our chairman, Robert Englander, likes to say that when you do a great job around here, we ignore you. As it turns out, not everyone thrives on being ignored, but I do. I’ve always felt comfortable in providing readers with useful, well-packaged editorial and I don’t need a bunch of suits second-guessing me. At Belvoir Media Group, they don’t.

What they do provide is an exceptionally supportive environment for real journalism, with no not-so-subtle directives to lay off advertisers or small herds of sacred cows grazing unseen amidst the pages. I have been blessed to have worked in such a place and I’m profoundly grateful that Belvoir continues to maintain it for those who will follow me.

What’s next? I’ll remain on the masthead as a regular contributor to Consumer and will continue my duties as editorial director. I’ll also be working on new projects, including more features and a redesign for our sister online publication, I relish the change and hope you do, too.

—Paul Bertorelli

Paul Bertorelli is Aviation Consumer’s Editor at Large. In addition to his valued contributions to Aviation Consumer, his in-depth video productions on sister publication AVweb cover a wide variety of topics that greatly contribute to safety, operation and aircraft ownership. When Paul isn’t writing or filming, he’s out flying his J3 Cub.