Richard L. Collins
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Call for Entries: The Sixth Annual Richard Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots
$5,000 first place and $2,500 second place awards for pilots up to age 24

Richard L. Collins

Entries are now being accepted for the Richard L. Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots.

The Richard Collins family has once again partnered with Sporty’s to offer The Richard Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots. To qualify, the writer must be a pilot (including student pilot) who is 24 years of age or younger. The article must be original, not previously published, and no longer than 1,500 words. The topic should be “my most memorable flight.”

The winning articles will be published in Air Facts, the publication Richard’s father, Leighton, founded in 1938 and which was relaunched in 2011 by Sporty’s as an online magazine. The articles will be judged by a panel of three: Richard Collins, Jr., Amy Laboda, and J. Mac McClellan.

“Since launching this contest in 2019, the Collins Prize has encouraged hundreds of young pilots to reflect upon their aviation experiences and pursue their passion for writing,” said Sporty’s President, John Zimmerman. “We’re honored to celebrate Richard’s legacy with this inspiring writing contest.”

Once again two prizes will be awarded. Both the first place and second place articles will be published in Air Facts, while their writers will receive $5,000 for first place and $2,500 for second place. The winners will be announced in April.

Articles may be submitted now through March 7, 2024, and sent in as a Word document to [email protected]. In addition, young pilots are required to submit a 100-word bio to accompany their articles.

Read the 2023 winning articles:

First place by Harry Karmel – Beginner’s Luck: Winning my first aerobatics competition

Second place by Grace Eger – Young and Reckless

Official Rules for the Richard Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots

  1. To submit an article, the author must be no older than 24 years of age as of March 7, 2024. The author must be a student pilot or higher.
  2. The article should highlight the author’s most memorable flight and be no longer than 1500 words.
  3. The article must be original and have not been previously published.
  4. The submission must include a 100-word biography of the author written in the third person.
  5. The article must be submitted on a Word document and emailed no later than March 7, 2024, to [email protected]. Only emailed submissions are accepted. Please put “Young Pilot” in the subject line of your email.
  6. Once a submission is received, no corrections or editing are allowed.
  7. Photographs to illustrate the article are accepted but not required.
  8. One first place winner will be awarded a $5,000 check; one second place winner will be awarded a $2,500 check.
  9. All winners will be notified by email no later than April 4, 2024.
  10. The winning articles will be published in Air Facts. Although there are only two prizes, Air Facts reserves the right to publish any article submitted.

Checklist for Young Pilot Authors

  • Does my article have a title?
  • Have I included my byline (by John Smith) below the title?
  • Is my article 1500 words or less?
  • Is my article about general aviation flying, specifically my most memorable flight?
  • Have I carefully proofread my article and/or asked a pilot-friend to proofread it as well? (Remember that once your article is submitted, no changes will be accepted.)
  • Have I included a 100-word bio of myself at the conclusion of my article and labeled it as such?
  • Have I typed “Young Pilot” in the subject line of my email?
  • Am I ready to email this article to [email protected]?

If you answered yes to all these questions, you are ready to press SEND! Good luck to all young pilots.

Air Facts Staff
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