Experts in print media say that it’s bad form for an editor to focus his/ her remarks on the magazine itself. “Be original,” they say. “Write about something related to the industry.” I’m going to ignore that guidance, but—I hope you’ll agree—with good reason.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last 40 years you know that general aviation has seen its heyday and is, for the most part, shrinking. New aircraft deliveries, once in the thousands per year, now make headlines with mere hundreds. Recent increases in training, and even saturated flight schools, have not yet translated into a financial resurgence of the market. Perhaps they will. Hopefully they will.
But, for now, all aspects of our industry are shrinking except perhaps high-tech avionics. That means fewer buyers chasing fewer products. One casualty of that shrinking market is our sister publication, IFR Refresher. Last month was its last month. That was issue number 101 for Editor Ted Spitzmiller. This month, we welcome those readers to our ranks. And, coincidentally, this is my issue number 101.
Many IFR Refresher readers also subscribe to IFR, so they’re familiar with what we do here. But for those who are new to us, let me welcome you with a brief tour.
I try to keep the format and content of the magazine somewhat consistent month to month. We usually start with these Remarks and a news summary on the facing page. Note the box below with a peek at upcoming articles.
The next two pages are letters and questions from readers. Feel free to reach out to us with comments, questions, criticisms, suggestions, and even corrections. In the following pages, most issues will have an article about ATC, a quiz or our quarterly Killer Quiz, a Clinic where we take a deep dive into one airport or a full trip, and a weather article. We have some fun on the back page with On the Air (OTA).
Sprinkled in between are typically three more articles with varying topics. Some article types appear regularly— typically quarterly—but not monthly. Notable among these is our Sim Challenge where we present a difficult exercise for you to try in a sim or—lacking a sim—in your arm chair. If you get through it successfully the first time, chances are you’re cheating. Yeah, it’s that difficult, but also that beneficial.
One thing that differentiates IFR is our tone. While we deal with rather heavy and often dense material, we try to keep the tone light to make it easier to read. Often that light tone will reach frivolous or even cheeky, but that just adds to our ability to get important information across to you while keeping you from nodding off.
I’d like to offer our IFR Refresher readers a familiar face. Former IFR Refresher editor and long-time aviation industry professional, Ted Spitzmiller joins our staff as Associate Editor and graces our pages this month with an article. We’ll see much more of Ted in future issues, giving IFR Refresher readers a comfortable anchor.
So, let me offer both IFR Refresher readers and veteran IFR readers our sincere thanks for following along through our slight course change. Ted and I are confident you’ll enjoy the trip.