A big challenge of the digital revolution is finding ways to attract the next generation of readers without upsetting venerable subscribers, many of whom tell us they like Aviation Week exactly as it is. Every day is a balancing act. But as we continue our rollout of new digital products and services, one longtime truism has not changed: Quality is king.
If Aviation Week expects to remain the market leader, we must continue to set ourselves apart with depth, accuracy and context that cannot be found anywhere else, in print or online. If we lose sight of that, it really does not matter whether content is delivered via an iPad, mobile phone, social media feed or print magazine that arrives in the mailbox.
Our team of editors is up to the task. The ongoing battle about the U.S. Air Force's selection of the Sierra Nevada/A-29B Super Tucano over Beechcraft's AT-6 for Light Air Support in Afghanistan has been widely covered in the trade press. But Aviation Week had a unique advantage: a staff writer who had piloted both aircraft. In our April 15 issue (page 58), Chief Aircraft Evaluation Editor Fred George provided readers with his first-hand evaluation of the two competitors and outlined why he believed the Air Force had made the correct call.
Subscribers have also been treated to Fred's pilot reports—accompanied by videos—of the Gulfstream G650 and. In a few weeks, we will be featuring his test flight of the military transport.
Aviation Week also is listening to its readers, increasing our focus in several key areas you tell us you want to see more of. Among them:
Avionics. In this week's cover package, Senior Avionics Editor John Croft provides an in-depth look at new technologies that will shape the next generation of cockpits, such as advanced synthetic vision, head-up displays and touch screens (page 42). Since joining Aviation Week last September, John has reinvigorated our coverage of avionics. And when theannounced plans to stop funding control towers at 149 airports, he hopped in his Piper PA28 Archer II, flew to some of the affected facilities and went up into the towers to talk with controllers firsthand. His reporting highlighted what a poor job the agency had done in planning the closures, which have since been delayed.
Helicopters: This week's article on's efforts to get the grounded EC225 back in the air (page 28) is representative of our effort to provide regular coverage of the rotorcraft market and its key players. Our new London bureau chief, Tony Osborne, is a veteran reporter on military and commercial helicopters. Earlier this month, he teamed up with Managing Editor for Technology Graham Warwick to detail 's efforts to get the U.S. Army to consider a tiltrotor for its Future Vertical Lift program (AW&ST April 15, page 34).
Commercial Space: Senior Editor Frank Morring, Jr., one of the world's preeminent space journalists, has provided readers with in-depth analysis ofand other fledgling commercial ventures. And Paris Bureau Chief Amy Svitak is leading an effort to increase Aviation Week's coverage of the commercial satellite industry. This week, she details how a startup backed by Bill Gates has adopted metamaterials technology for a new ultra-thin satellite broadband receiver (page 26).
European regulatory issues. From our new Brussels bureau, Contributing Editor Cathy Buyck has bulked up the magazine's coverage of European aviation and regulatory issues that affect airlines and aircraft makers.
Overarching all of this is our commitment to delve into the technologies that underpin the aerospace, defense and airline industries. Case in point: Senior Editor Guy Norris has been at the forefront of reporting the battery saga that has forced the grounding of the 787 and he detailed's efforts to develop a fix that will allow the jet to return to service. Meanwhile, next week's magazine will feature a special report on advanced manufacturing in aerospace.
I realize that may not be enough to satisfy readers who remember the days when Aviation Week was essentially an engineering magazine. I recently corresponded with Arthur Lee, a retired U.S. Navy commander who has been a subscriber since 1957. Interviews with CEOs belong in Business Week or Time, not Aviation Week & Space Technology, he says. “The 787 battery coverage is, however, great.”
Conversely, other subscribers tell me they count on us for coverage of key program, policy and business decisions in the industries that we follow. What do you think? Where can we do better? My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please write. We value your input.