Bye Bye Kitplanes

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rheuschele

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Jan 12, 2010
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I know, not a lot of people care for this magazine but there are a couple of knowledgeable writers, or at least where a couple.
It seems like each year the articles become more and more like reading a high school book report rather than information to
help make decisions. In fact, most of what is in the print version I can find here but I kept up the subscription because I like
the end of year buyers guide. Last year and again this year they have decided also cut this down to minimal information. It is
more of an advertisement for their website rather than their magazine. I subscribe to a magazine for a few reasons including
not wanting to take a computer everywhere. So, just so I can *****, I thought I would put this here. I no longer will be renewing
kitplanes if they want to keep thinning out the articles.
 

Dan Thomas

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Sep 17, 2008
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Many aviation magazines have become dumbed-down. I don't read them anymore. Sport Aviation used to be a homebuilder's magazine; now I hear it's just a picture book to drool over. Flying long ago became nothing more than a flyer for gazillion-dollar airplanes.

Even the newspaper writers can't write anymore. Grammar and spelling are all shot and accuracy is suspect. I think it's a reflection of the attitude of certain people (who can't spell or construct a sentence or find the truth) that such rules don't matter now.

Dan
 

Aviator168

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Brookville, NY. USA
I going to discontinue as well after current subscription expires. I used to like their wind tunnel column; but lately it just turned down hill. I also with what you said about the buyer's guild. I like the old format much better.
 

Pops

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I know, not a lot of people care for this magazine but there are a couple of knowledgeable writers, or at least where a couple.
It seems like each year the articles become more and more like reading a high school book report rather than information to
help make decisions. In fact, most of what is in the print version I can find here but I kept up the subscription because I like
the end of year buyers guide. Last year and again this year they have decided also cut this down to minimal information. It is
more of an advertisement for their website rather than their magazine. I subscribe to a magazine for a few reasons including
not wanting to take a computer everywhere. So, just so I can *****, I thought I would put this here. I no longer will be renewing
kitplanes if they want to keep thinning out the articles.

I was thinking of the same thing for the same reason. Dan
 

Vigilant1

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I just renewed my subscription. I don't think it's perfect but it's worth the price. Barnaby Wainfan's articles are consistently good, I think their building articles are about as good as they've ever been (the electrical articles by Jim Weir have been a bit "eccentric" sometimes, but he and Bob Nuckolls know their stuff.). The flight reports on aircraft have always been "puff pieces", but in between the lines it's possible to see if the reviewer has objections to something. I miss Marc Cook, I very much liked his work.

But the main reason I subscribe is because I think the magazine is important to the hobby. When I was a kid, Kitplanes (along with the occassional issue of Mechanix Illustrated or Popular Mechanics) exposed me to the idea that people were building airplanes at home. I want Kitplanes to be there on magazine racks for people to see.

I subscribe to my local newspaper, even though I don't read much of it and it is getting smaller and smaller. I want reporters investigating the shady deals and mis-spending of taxpayer money. I want local reporters covering good things that are happening in my town. There's just too much bad stuff that can happen if no one is there to cast a light on it. TV and radio news doesn't cover issues, they just cover "events". The best way to support real reporting is to subscribe to the (far from perfect) local newspaper. Our town would be worse off without a local paper, so I subscribe. It's kinda the same with Kitplanes--it's a good way to promote homebuilt aviation (which is fighting an uphill battle on many fronts), so I subscribe.

I'd bet Kitplanes, like a lot of the print media, is on the razor's edge of survival as an entity. It's not like my dropping my subscription will make them start writing longer technical pieces of the type I'd like most. I think it's more likely to bring them a little closer to stopping publication altogether. That's not what I want.
 
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SpainCub

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Nov 27, 2012
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Madrid, Spain
I too dropped my subscription, I think this is the best way to show the producer of a product that I disagree with their efforts. If it fails, then they will have to ponder on that and maybe they will come back with a product that would be appealing to me, else why keep then in business?
 

Don D

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Jul 9, 2008
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Location
Oklahoma
Even the newspaper writers can't write anymore. Grammar and spelling are all shot and accuracy is suspect. I think it's a reflection of the attitude of certain people (who can't spell or construct a sentence or find the truth) that such rules don't matter now.

Dan

Amen to the above! It's my opinion that editorial oversight is almost totally lacking in most publications these days, especially in the "news" media. That is, other than a computer spell check, no one reads articles before going to press to see if there are inaccuracies, misspellings, poor grammar, or just dumb or misleading things said. Hasn't been much editorial oversight for decades now. A few more decades and no one will even notice the errors anymore

Don
 

Jan Carlsson

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Jan 11, 2009
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Sweden
I liked Kitplanes, I did advertise in it some 10 years ago, then it changed owner, and instead of a invoice every month, they wanted to get payed 3 month at the time 3 month ahead (time for going to press) to me it sounded they was going to close down, so I said thanks and good bye.

in a tragic article in a Swedish newspaper, it said, "it was reported that darkness can have been present at the place of the accident"
it is december and it was late in the evening, so my wild guess is that darkness was found on many places in sweden at that time. but the writers light was on, but no one was home!
 

dcstrng

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I know, not a lot of people care for this magazine but there are a couple of knowledgeable writers, or at least where a couple...
I no longer will be renewing kitplanes if they want to keep thinning out the articles.

Yes, but they are no different than most of the other mags out there… I have far too many hobbies, and whether bikes, cars, sailing, auto-racing or homebuilt-flying, the publication glossies are universally mere shadows of themselves – but they sell what the readership wants to by… Usually if you want something that is similar to the technical papers we used to get, you have to go to one of the specialty publications that are hard to find, published as a labor of love by the editors and undoubtedly will not survive for more than a year or two (of course this is just my opinion).

I actually think Kitplanes does better than most – my observation is that most articles in these mags these days are 90% opinion/philosophy and very little you can actually use day to day… about the best you get is a link to someone’s website where the story really is. Over the past year or so, I’ve cancelled all my racing, bike, and sailing magazines (and I still have my boat, bike, etc., etc.…). The one I retain is Kitplanes (and not because it’s exceptional, just a bit better than most…). Oh I get Sport Aviation too… comes with the membership (which allows me to search the archives… yippee, skippee…)
 

spaschke

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Oct 24, 2012
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Location
Denver, CO
every publication has errors, perhaps the proofreading or fact checking has been lax lately. But Kitplanes magazine has been educational for me and helped me narrow down my choice of a/c to build. if you hold out for 100%, you will be holding out forever.
 

1Bad88

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Many aviation magazines have become dumbed-down. I don't read them anymore. Sport Aviation used to be a homebuilder's magazine; now I hear it's just a picture book to drool over.

I generally read Sport Aviation for the articles by Dave Matheny, I enjoy his perspective.
 

Vigilant1

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Editors are always looking for leads on what the readers (and potential new readers) want to have included in their publications. A good (traditional) way to tell them is to write a letter. Another very good (and fun) way to tell them is to go to the website of the magazine and research all the old articles of the type that really interest you (e.g. Kitplanes published "Stress without Tears", a pretty good but non-high-math look at airplane structural analysis. Well worth a look.) Editors and their staffs now look very closely at activity on their websites for clues on new article ideas.
 

bmcj

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As a longtime subscriber (since their inception 30 years ago), I agree that Kitplanes is not the publication it used to be, but I still find some interesting articles from time-to-time when I have the chance to actually sit and read. In all fairness, though, the name 'Kitplanes' tells you that their focus is kit planes, not plans built planes. Today, compared to 30 years ago, there is a greater variety of kit planes available and the skill level necessary to build one is much less than those of yesteryear. Add to that the decline in plans building, and the evolution of Kitplanes magazine is completely understandable.

Now the real shame is that, despite the original founding premise of EAA, Sport Aviation magazine has gone down the same path... maybe even moreso given their highlights of many production aircraft, but we've had this discussion before.

As a final note, I would like to offer my opinion that much of the responsibility of this paradigm shift for homebuilt/kitbuilt plane magazines can be attributed to US. While many of us here on THIS forum are true builders, a majority of the population has shifted its interest away from aviation, and many of those who remain have drifted away from true homebuilding and craftsmanship.

Bruce
 
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rheuschele

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Chicago Il. USA.
Another very good (and fun) way to tell them is to go to the website of the magazine and research all the old articles of the type that really interest you

A long time ago I wrote and asked if this was the direction they were heading in hopes that they would get the hint. Their answer was "for additional information, I can go to the website." I didn't subscribe to a website, I can't read a website on a plane or in a car, I don't want a computer in the bathroom or while camping. If I'm going to research something online, it won't be on the kitplanes website, there are plenty more informative places to go. I'm just going to let it run out. Maybe by then they will get smarter about publishing.
 

Cy V

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Jul 1, 2008
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Virginia
I cancelled my Kitplanes subscription several years ago. I still check it out each month...at the local bookstore. But it usually doesn't take any more than five minutes to flip through it and then I'm finished with it...until next month's installment.
 

bmcj

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We should all keep in mind that these (and a few other) publications are really all that we have left in our specific area of interest. I would hate to see them go away for lack of subscribers. At least while they are still in existence, we can try to influence them into the direction we would like to see them go, and paid subscriptions along with subscriber suggestions is a strong form of influence. Sure, cancelling a subscription sends a statement, but at what cost?
 
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