Editor's Note

Editor’s Note: Onward And Upward

By Bill Carey | December 1, 2006
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It is with great pleasure that I introduce myself as the new editor of Avionics magazine. Actually, this is a return engagement for me. I served as managing editor of this fine magazine in the mid-to-late 1990s, at a time when Free Flight was the rage, the 777 was state of the art, the Comanche helicopter was nearing production and the Dreamliner was just that. Guess change is the only constant in life.

Where have I been? When you have some time to kill and a couple of seats at the bar, I’ll bend your ear. The highlights are that I took a job as business editor with my hometown newspaper in Massachusetts, broke my left knee running down a mountain trail, became an EMT, broke my right knee on the soapy floor of an ambulance garage, made several trips to Russia and got married. Before I got the call bringing me back to these pages, I covered the trucking industry for
a freight-transportation magazine. We’re not talking Joe’s Cartage Service here. Trucking is a big, time-critical business run (mostly) by guys in suits and ties and dominated by some familiar names, like FedEx and UPS. Communications, navigation and surveillance are important in trucking, too, with new technologies like electronic on-board recorders and satellite-based trailer tracking coming to the fore. Engine manufacturers have spent billions of dollars in meeting a new diesel engine requirement that will dramatically reduce smog-forming nitrous oxides and soot coming from big trucks, starting next year. The aforementioned trucking executives like to say that the exhaust emitted by their trucks in the future will be cleaner than the air in most major cities. They are not being facetious.

But I digress. Much of my experience as a journalist — the best part, I might add — has been in aviation. Before joining Avionics as managing editor in 1996, I worked for our sister publication, Rotor & Wing, and was posted to London from 1993 to 1995, representing both magazines. My title was European bureau chief; really I was just a guy with a computer keyboard and a lot of curiosity, a history major and World War II aficionado covering an industry steeped in history and popular lore.

Aviation is a global business. Few other writing jobs would place you in the jump seat of an Air Niugini flight landing at Mount Hagen airport in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, in a Bell 230 skimming the savannah of Kruger National Park, South Africa, or on the factory floor of Poland’s PZL-Swidnik in the first years after the fall of the Soviet Union. Thanks to aviation,
I walked the hallway with a federal police general in Mexico as his subordinates clicked their heels and saluted. I barely — but just barely — avoided vomiting after doing tight turns in a British Army Air Corps’ Gazelle helicopter. Then, still green around the gills, I was ushered to an interview with a major general.

I have fond memories of those and other experiences on the aviation frontier. And I was pleased to see many familiar faces from that time at the recent NBAA convention in Orlando. The aviation trade press is a dedicated, collegial and hard-working group.

Indeed, I’m glad to be back, and excited to pilot Avionics into the next era of ADS-B and miniature UAVs, the Airbus A380 and the real Dreamliner. I’ve heard some people refer to the avionics field as “esoteric.” I disagree. This isn’t technology for technology’s sake; it’s sophisticated, cutting-edge stuff with real applications and demonstrable benefits for safety and efficiency.
I’m approaching this topic with the same excitement I had as a kid reading “Tom Swift and His
Repelatron Skyway.”

I’m declaring an open-door policy here. I’d like to invite any and all of our readers to contact me with ideas, comments, criticisms, whatever will help me keep Avionics the respected industry resource it has become. Or visit us online at http://www.aviationtoday.com. I look forward to meeting you.

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