The very first advertisement in Aviation Week was taken by a U.S. aircraft company, but it is doubtful you have heard of it.
The Sturtevant Aeroplane Company of Massachusetts ran an ad touting its Model S military seaplane on the inside cover of Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering on August 1, 1916 (price: five cents). The company boasted that its airplanes and seaplanes were “of particular utility to militia organizations, where machines suitable for military use must to a large extent be operated by comparatively inexperienced aviators.”
The company had been created a year earlier by the B.F. Sturtevant Company, a leading industrial fan and air handling manufacturer, according to a write-up by the Massachusetts Aviation Historical Society. The company developed the first U.S. combat airplane, but found scant interest from the Army of Navy. It had more success when it refocused on reconnaissance, observation and patrol aircraft. In 1919, after the end of World War I., Sturtevant closed its airplane subsidiary and concentrated on its core business.
The company that advertised on the back cover of that first issue of the magazine in 1916 fared better. The Glenn L. Martin Company of Los Angeles was the precursor to what is today the Pentagon’s largest contractor, Lockheed Martin.
It certainly pays to advertise on our back cover!