Essential Reading - Then & Now

Aviation Week is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2016.  First published on Aug. 1, 1916 as Aviation and Aeronautical Engineering, the magazine's title has changed over the years to reflect its readership base and the industries it serves. It changed to Aviation, Aviation News, Aviation Week then became Aviation Week Including Space Technology in 1958 before finally changing to its current title, Aviation Week & Space Technology, in 1962. Click here to read about the magazine's origins and the work of its founding publisher, Lester D. Gardner, who became known as one of aviation's elder statesmen.

Today, the Aviation Week group is the largest multimedia information and services provider to the global aviation, aerospace and defense industries. Over 1.2 million professionals look to Aviation Week's unparalleled portfolio of publications, online services, events and custom media solutions for their total information and marketing needs.

Here, we highlight editorial content from the magazine's long and rich history, including viewpoints from the industry's most iconic names and stories that have helped change the shape of the industry.

Publisher's Letter

Lester D. Gardner

Gregory Hamilton

Lester D. Gardner published the first issue of Aviation Week’s predecessor magazine at 120 W. 32nd Street, in New York City - less than a half block from where I now publish Aviation Week & Space Technology at 2 Penn Plaza. Our core mission of being Essential to the still-growing aviation, aerospace and defense community hasn’t even moved that far!  I think Mr. Gardner would be proud that the Aviation Week team has continued to excel at providing “accurate, scientific and unbiased” information that serves as a “great stimulus” to the success of the industry. 

Even as our content is now deployed via print, digital and event channels around the world and into space, we commit to the industry that these values of utility and service will continue to be our guiding light.

- Gregory Hamilton, President/Group Publisher, Aviation Week

1916: First Ever Adverts

See the adverts that appeared in the first ever issue of the magazine. Where are those companies now?

1919: The Future of Civil Flying

Orville Wright makes the argument for runways in a 1919 viewpoint.

1949: Crisis In Naval Aviation


Our 1949 analysis a delves into the budget cuts that put the U.S. Navy into crisis.

1949: Twin-Engined Lightplanes


1949 article examines the emerging market for twin-engine lightplanes.

1979: DC-10s Grounded

The FAA grounded all DC-10s following the May 25 crash of one operated by American Airlines.

1989: Stealth Fighter Revelation

A fuzzy, low-quality photo marked a milestone event.

1998: Mega Mergers

Why a proposed defense mega-merger was blocked by the U.S. government in 1998.

2003: End of an Era

The planned cessation of all Concorde flights this week really brings the end to an era.

2013: Meet the SR-72

SR-72 on AW&ST Cover

Aviation Week breaks news of a hypersonic intelligence aircraft under development by Lockheed Martin almost 20 years after the SR-71 Blackbird's retirement.

1981: SR-71 Pilot Report

AW&ST's Los Angeles bureau chief (and later managing editor), Robert Ropelewski (right), wrote the first SR-71 pilot report by an aerospace journalist.

1989: Cockpit Automation

Ignore the date and you might think this article on cockpit automation from 1989 was written yesterday.

1998: Regional Jet Future

Bombardier was the leader in the up-and-coming regional jet market and proposed the BRJ-X to maintain its position. Then came Embraer’s “E-Jets”.

2006: Frank Lanza


L-3 Communications’ co-founder Frank Lanza was a colorful CEO. Read his final interview.

2013: RQ-180 Revealed

RQ-180 on AW&ST Cover

Aviation Week reveals the existence of black-world aircraft built by Northrop Grumman and flying at Area 51.