From biplanes to the space probe that may soon discover creatures living some place other than Earth, the magical craft that have paraded across the pages of Air & Space magazine for the past 30 years all have one thing in common: They were invented, built, flown, maintained, or restored by people with compelling stories to tell. Because this magazine has emphasized the humans behind the hardware, we have introduced you, our readers, to the most interesting people on the planet and—through archives, diaries, and interviews—to some of the most interesting people in history.
When we began publishing in 1986, the word “drone” referred to aircraft used for military target practice. We’ve told the stories of those who helped change the meaning of that word. Our first issue went to press within days of the tragedy that took the lives of the Challenger astronauts. We later told their stories and those of the people who returned the space shuttle to flight—twice—and constructed the International Space Station. In the last 30 years, we’ve met the people who invented stealth technology, introduced the Boeing 787, and combined a helicopter with an airplane to produce the V-22 Osprey. We have profiled entrepreneurs preparing to send tourists into space and pilots who have served in the nation’s wars.
Of all these people, the most important to us are the ones reading this. Without you, there would be no magazine. Would you like to wish us happy birthday? Vote on which cover you like best!
1991 April/May Cover