We recently featured Plane & Pilot Magazine in our blog post titled, “The Top 18 Aerospace and Aviation Industry Blogs and Publications You Need to Be Reading.” In wanting to learn more about the places we mentioned, we reached out to Plane & Pilot and were lucky enough to conduct a Q&A with VP and Editor-in-Chief, Robert Goyer.
Keep reading to learn more about him, the magazine, and the industry.
- Tell us a little bit about your publication. What is its history and how did it get started?
We recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of Plane & Pilot, a brand that is dedicated to pilots who fly light personal airplanes for a variety of reasons, everything from transportation to pure recreation. The magazine was launched in the early ‘60s, a time when aviation interest and activity in the United States was high, thanks to the large number of veterans (many of whom were pilots) getting to a place in their lives where they could afford the time and energy to pursue their passion, flight.
Today, after all these years, Plane & Pilot serves the exact same group of pilots, many of whom own their own planes and all of whom live, breathe, and sleep airplanes. Today the brand has grown to encompass a healthy digital and social media presence. Our mission remains the same regardless of the medium: to inform, inspire, and educate pilots so they can get the most fun and utility possible out of what we think is the best active interest in the world.
- What sparked your interest in planes and flying?
Like many in aviation, I come from an aviation family. My dad was one of those young men who came home from WWII with the flying bug, and it never left. I caught it at an early age and have been flying ever since. The things about aviation that excite me most include the pure fun of actually flying a plane—try it, it’s a blast—the brilliant, innovative minds that drive progress in what we do, and the way that pilots come together as a community to share our love for all things aviation.
- What advances in aviation technology in recent years have gotten you most excited for the future of the industry?
The advance of computer technology has had a huge beneficial effect on the aviation world. Today, advanced flight decks with full-color moving map displays, in-plane apps that show pilots where dangerous storms are, programs that help us spot air traffic to avoid mid-air collisions, and utilities that alert us to the danger of high terrain are all examples of digital technology making flying safer and more utilitarian.
- What further advances do you predict will happen in the near future within the industry?
If we look back at aviation history, we’ll see that progress in one segment, propulsion, has created huge changes across the rest of aviation. This happened with dependable gas-piston engines, with the advent of jet engines, and it will happen with the wide adoption of electric power, which is ideal for light aviation and will cut costs and grow access to a degree that seems impossible to us today. The other big area of growth will be in autonomous flight, with computerized systems providing smart backup to human pilots.
- Tell us a bit about your Going Direct column. What kinds of stories do you feature?
I’ve been writing Going Direct columns, both online and in two major aviation print magazines for 15 years. Going Direct (taken from the term used in aviation navigation for flying directly between two points without reference to plotted courses), is my chance to discuss in clear and sometimes provocative ways the biggest issues facing aviation today. In it, I cut through the noise and identify the sources of our biggest challenges and opportunities in aviation.