Monday, September 20, 2010

McClellan to EAA

I'm sure Mac McClellan is a terrific guy. The former editor in chief of Flying Magazine is joining Sport Aviation, and that's the problem. I dropped Flying Magazine a few years ago because it no longer was aimed at guys like me; it was aimed at guys like McClellan, guys with big bucks and twin-engine airplanes loaded with tens of thousands of dollars of avionics.

It's tempting, I suppose, to lament that Sport Aviation would do anything -- anything -- to become more like Flying Magazine, but the fact of the matter is, experimental aviation itself is becoming more like Flying Magazine. Spend a few minutes on Van's Air Force anymore and you're looking at images of guys with their $100,000 panels.Our sport is more Cirrus than Cub these days.

If I had to create the perfect magazine, it would be full of articles by Lauran Paine Jr., who of course writes for Sport Aviation too. Unfortunately, it would probably have a readership of only a few hundred people. There aren't many of us left.

Here's the news release from EAA:

      EAA AVIATION CENTER, OSHKOSH, Wis. — (Sept. 20, 2010) — J. Mac McClellan, former editor-in-chief of FLYING Magazine and one of aviation’s most-respected journalists, is joining EAA and will share his insights through EAA’s publications and electronic communications beginning in October.

      McClellan, an extremely active general aviation pilot, will provide his aviation expertise to EAA with his popular “Left Seat” column and other features for Sport Aviation magazine. He will also contribute to EAA’s e-publications and websites.  His focus will be on EAA’s pilot community, encompassing flying experiences, flying techniques, weather, technology, and aircraft ownership.  McClellan’s writings will interest all readers, including those EAA members and aviation enthusiasts who fly more complex aircraft for personal and business transportation.

      “Mac is a most welcome addition to EAA,” said EAA President Rod Hightower.  “His expertise across all of aviation will help us build on the success of the “new” Sport Aviation magazine that was launched in January 2010. Mac is certainly no stranger to EAA, having participated at Oshkosh for decades and has a thorough knowledge of EAA and AirVenture.  His unique understanding of EAA’s mission and role within the aviation community will help us better serve and add even more value for all EAA members.”

      McClellan has logged more than 10,000 hours as pilot-in-command, flying everything from a 1946 Cessna 140, his first airplane, to the Cessna 162 SkyCatcher and virtually all general aviation airplanes that have been in production over the past 30 years.  He holds an ATP certificate for multi engine airplanes with type ratings in several business jets, has a commercial certificate for helicopters, and is a CFI-I.

      “I plan to share information on a number of topics monthly, each designed to inform, educate, and entertain the broad spectrum of the pilot community, plus those who want to be pilots, with an emphasis on using an airplane for fun or travel,” McClellan said. “It might be new equipment, airplanes, or services, or it might be the basics of flying technique that helps all readers enhance their skills in the cockpit.”

      Sport Aviation magazine is EAA’s flagship publication and is sent to all EAA members.  It is part of the organization’s suite of five monthly publications and nine electronic newsletters, designed to meet the needs of the diverse aviation interests of EAA members.

       EAA embodies the spirit of aviation through the world’s most engaged community of aviation enthusiasts.  EAA’s 160,000 members and 1,000 local chapters enjoy the fun and camaraderie of sharing their passion for flying, building and restoring recreational aircraft.


  1. R.S. Hoover was our kind of guy. Building ribs out of salvage-wood sticks with cereal box cardboard gussets, then testing them. Sadly, he's Flown West.

  2. Couldn't AGREE with you more Bob!! He IS the reason I dropped Flying Magazine. This quite simply, sucks.


  3. I read Flying for its content by more than a single author, and all of its contributors, including Mac, have taught me something or otherwise contributed to my thinking. While I have not shared McClellan's experiences in larger aircraft, I've found his experience as a pilot and communicator beneficial, though he has been one of the Flying authors whom I've bypassed occasionally because I simply wasn't interested in his subject. It appears that Mac has new experiences available in the experimental aircraft community to complement those bigger-airplane rides that he's written about for so long. I don't share the resentment that seems to be expressed here, though perhaps I feel more kinship to Peter Garrison and Lane Wallace. McClellan ("I'm the luckiest pilot...") seems still to be lucky to be opening a cool new door. I'm sure that I would enjoy Mac's new job too, if my resume carried me there. The prosperity of the EAA has clearly affected its points of view, and a look at how EAA has benefitted its present and past executives provides clear understanding about the motivation for such evolution. The rise of experimental aircraft-related industry is a big factor in that evolution as well. Bob, sport aviation communications need content from us grass roots guys, and I appreciate your efforts. Who knows, maybe Mac will get started on an RV emp kit. (har har har).

  4. This isn't really too good. I don't think the playing field is level when the avionics (and other gadget manufacturers) give their stuff to the journalists, who write glowing review articles and suggest it's not safe to be without the stuff.

    Maybe someone will give him a set of plans, several lengths of tubing, a gas welder and he can try that out. Probably wouldn't hear from him for awhile.