Flight International

Aviation-related Magazines Guide

Key Facts

Availability: News-stand
Issues / Year: 51
ISSN: 0015-3710
First Year: 1909
Last Year: current
Publisher: Reed Business Information
Country: United Kingdom
Language: English
Main Genre: industry
Aviation Only? Yes
Current Status: Current

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Founded in 1909, ‘Flight’ is the world’s oldest currently active aviation journal. It has always been primarily a news and analysis magazine for the aerospace industry. It was famously parochial and insular before World War 2, but this complacent attitude was soon changed by the war. Post-war the magazine has taken an increasingly international, (if Eurocentric), viewpoint, in direct contrast to its American “competitor”. On 4 January 1962 it was renamed ‘Flight International’.

‘Flight’ is famous for its technical articles and stunning cutaway drawings of new aircraft types and engines, which appear every 4-5 weeks or so. It was renamed ‘Flight International’ in 1962. Regular colour illustrations on the inside pages were introduced during the mid 1980s. The number of pages in each issue can vary considerably, but on average there are about 52 pages per issue. Major features include annual surveys of world airlines, world air forces, military aircraft, aero engines, helicopters, commercial airliners etc.

During the early 1990s there was a distinct bias towards commercial aviation, with numerous features on the financial problems of obscure airlines, and relatively little coverage of the important contemporary military issues arising from the end of the Cold War. Under the subsequent editorship of Carol Reed the correct military-civil balance was restored.

Publishing History

Published weekly by Stanley Spooner (1909-1934) and then Iliffe & Sons [later Iliffe Transport Publications Ltd] (12 April 1934 until 1968). Iliffe was taken over by IPC Business Press in 1968 but continued to publish under the Iliffe name until 1 March 1970, when IPC Business Press displaced Iliffe on the masthead. IPC was renamed Business Press International, which became Reed Business Publishing in 1987. A final name change to Reed Business Information occurred in September 1996.
The editors were Stanley Spooner (1909-1934), CM Poulsen (1934-May 1949); Maurice Smith (May 1949-?); Rex King (?-1964); Mike Ramsden (1964-1981); David Mason (1981-1988); Allan Winn (1988-1998); Carol Reed (February 1998-May 2001); Murdo Morrison (2001-2015); Craig Hoyle (2015-present).

Contents/Issues Produced

Volume 1 No. 1, 2 January 1909 to present day.
A number of issues were not published due to strike action and other causes – list to be added.

In the time of its existence, artists with ‘Flight International’ have produced over 1100 high quality cutaway drawings of aircraft and aero engines. Originally, the drawings appeared in black & white over 2 pages within a given issue, but since circa 2005 the cutways have appeared as full colour drawings on A3 size sheets inserted into the magazine. A full list of cutaway drawings appears here:

For magazine contents, see the online digital archive below.

Digital Access

In a highly praiseworthy move, the publishers of ‘Flight International’ have digitally scanned and placed online fully searchable PDF copies of each page of the entire back archive of the magazine 1909-2005. Unlike other publishers, this archive is free to access with no signup required. Other publishers should follow suite. The archive is here:
The Flight Archive
Note that a few of the many issues produced were not found in the official archive, and could not be scanned. A list of the missing issues will be added here. (The last isssue scanned was actually 14-20 December 2004, not 2005). Issues published from 2005 onwards are available via the Digital Edition of the magazine – digital subscriptions have been available since 2005. From January 2018 all print edition subscribers have been given full access to the Digital Edition.

Special Issues

Very few special issues were produced, the most notable one being a Red Arrows special from circa 1977.

Further information

Magazine Exchange

Cover Gallery

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See other aviation-related magazines from United Kingdom.
See the full aviation magazines database here.

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