As a pilot, you have a story to tell. Share it with Air Facts readers.
Air Facts is an online collection of funny, instructive, sentimental, educational, reflective (and about-25-other-descriptors) stories written by pilots for pilots. Our writers are experts – whether the writer is a student pilot with 30 hours or a retired airline pilot with 30,000 hours. You’re an expert, too, and that’s why we want you to write a story for Air Facts.
The real-life experiences of our readers entertain and inform us – every year, dozens of everyday pilots, just like you, write an article for Air Facts. We need your story to continue to provide our online pilot community with stories that make them better pilots, entertain them, and, yes, sometimes even nourish their souls. We wouldn’t and couldn’t exist without that volunteer effort, and we are grateful for it.
The list of what we don’t want is short. We don’t want poetry, fiction, book reviews, thinly-disguised advertising, multi-part stories, or preachy/teachy sermons. Remember that you are writing peer to peer – one pilot sharing a story with another. Our style is conversational and casual, and that’s why academic papers and multi-part stories don’t work well for Air Facts either.
Here are some general story categories that you may consider. The beauty of an online publication is that we don’t have to worry about a restricted number of pages or the price of paper so we’re able to publish what we call the “small story” – taking your mother for her first airplane ride, for example. We love the small stories because you don’t typically get to read them in the print magazines. It’s another thing that makes Air Facts unique.
I Can’t Believe I Did That: This is a story about a flight where a lesson – big or small – was learned. It could be a life-threatening error or just a dumb mistake that caused a problem. What you learned from it is what we want to hear.
Air Facts Travelogue: This is a story about a cross-country trip you took, the airports you stopped at, the weather you encountered, and a description of each leg of the flight. We also want to hear about the haunted hotel you stayed at or the world’s best burger you ate, but a rule of thumb is to have your story 75% about flying and 25% about sightseeing. Photos are a huge plus here.
International Stories: These can fit any category, but we absolutely want stories from non-U.S. based pilots. We want to know about navigation, air traffic control, weather, sights, the local pilot community and more. Most of us will never have the opportunity to fly in South Africa or Cyprus or Ireland so we want to fly vicariously with our international brother and sister pilots.
Christmas/Holiday/New Year’s Stories: It had been an Air Facts tradition to publish one Christmas-type story each year. As the holidays approached last year, we had no story and sent out a call to our wonderful community of authors and we received a half dozen stories, all of which ran. We respect all faiths and traditions but the winter holidays are ripe with great flying stories. If you have a story involving flying and Christmas, please share it with us. And don’t wait until December to send your story – send it now and we’ll hold it until then.
Young Pilots: If you’re a pilot who is 23 years of age or younger, we want you to write for Air Facts. Here are some ideas to get you started: the thrill of your first solo; your first cross-country and how you did; any interesting flight, especially one where you finally mastered a flying skill; taking a passenger flying for the first time; or words you’ll always remember from your flight instructor. These are simply suggestions — tell us your young pilot story.
I Was There: This is a catchall story for any first-person account of a flight that doesn’t fit any one category. This is the category where we no doubt swerve the most from our general aviation roots. We are willing to publish airline flying or military flying stories, but only if the story is truly about actual flying.
In brief: We like stories that entertain and inform without sounding preachy. We like stories that reflect the real world pilots face.
So what’s a typical story?
The typical length of a story is 1000 to 1500 words, but we are willing to go a bit shorter or longer. Author-supplied photos are a huge plus, but not a necessity. We are willing to post a story that’s already been published elsewhere if you can prove you own the rights to the story. Your story must be submitted as aWord document and sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How will I know you like (or don’t like) my story?
Once you submit your story, it is reviewed by the Air Facts team and you will be notified within one week if your story has been accepted. If it has, we will request a 100-word bio and aviation-themed photo of yourself to include with the story and for our Meet the Authors section. Next, your story is placed on our schedule and you can start bragging to all your pilot friends.
Here are some further guidelines for submitting a story:
- Your story must be in a Word document. Do not send a link to a blog or a PDF file. Word documents, only.
- Make sure your story has a title and you include your full name.
- Your submitted story should be the final version of your story. Don’t leave blanks for the name of that FBO or the airport designator. It’s helpful to have a friend or colleague look over your story for accuracy prior to sending it to us.
- If you have photographs, either tell us about them or send them along with your story. Often photographs are the deciding factor as to whether we publish a story.
If you can sit outside a hangar swapping stories with your buddies, you have the talent to write that story down. We believe in you and want to hear your own unique story. Just think: at your next party, you can say you’re a pilot and an author!