I've given Air Classics magazine subscription to my Dad for years. He is a Retired Pilot and he loves the older aircraft. Excellent magazine for those who love these great classics.
I have subscribed to this magazine for many years and have seen it change and reinvent itself several times. The 2006-7 version is far superior to its older incarnations. The current version is an aviation history journal and does not cover "current events" in aviation which are reported in duplicate in many US and UK journals. I am also pleased that model aircraft are not covered as there are exellent model journals available. This is a nicely done and well illustrated historical journal and approaches but does not quite reach the excellence of the UK's Aeroplane Monthly.
This is a great magazine for the enthusiasts of military aircraft. The magazine covers military history, a/c restoration, museums and various activities. This was a suplement to the old "Wings" and "Airpower" magazines, but with the loss of these two, it covers a great void.
Air Classics appeals to those who like vintage WWII aircraft, although other classic aircraft are also covered. The talented Michael O'Leary seems to write and photograph the keystone articles each month, with other writes and photographers contributing. Unfortunately, for many years, this magazine's format has leaned towards larger, less tightly packed print, and more advertisements than meat. I personally had read and collected every single issue since Vol. 1, #1, printed in 1964, and gave the entire collection away to a local aviation museum a few years ago after letting my subscription expire, and haven't read Air Classics since. There are far superior, similarly themed aviation magazines out there to spend your money on, FlyPast and Aeroplane monthly being the two I'd recommend.
I agree with the earlier review that there are many better vintage aviation magazines out there. The two mentioned (FlyPast and Aeroplane Monthly) have less usefulness in the U.S. though, because of their primary U.K. and European focus. Air Classics is a good snapshot review of vintage/warbird flying in this country, and its extensive treatment of Post World War II subjects is refreshing with all the emphasis on WWII in other warbird venues. Michael O'Leary does seem talented, but the Magazine suffers from his name being too frequently seen in the articles. Also in the latest issue (Nov. 2006, I think?), O'Leary really goes over the top in criticizing "internet crowd" armchair critics of the "Thunder Over Michigan" air show in August 2006. O'Leary using some non-professional vulgar language in the article that speaks very poorly for the magazine. I hope this is an abberation.
JWC - Northern Virginia
AIR CLASSICS and I go back to the late 1960s when publisher/editor Ed Schnepf was getting it off the ground. Over the years, AC has had its ups and many downs but it's lasted, which is more than you can say for the infinitely better WINGS/AIRPOWER duo.
The addition of Michael O'Leary was a turning point, O'Leary being a prolific writer/photographer who gave the then-struggling magazine a much-needed shot of energy. Under O'Leary's editorship, AC has become a slick, well-illustrated aviation rag, the airplane set's equivalent of "People" magazine. Most articles are skin-deep but nicely-illustrated accounts of various aviation topics. A quick read, AC is perfect bathroom or airport lounge material!
Several AC competitors rate higher in my book. FLIGHT JOURNAL boasts better authors and more in-depth articles. FLYPAST is another fine title, a typically English publication overstuffed with a wide variety of articles done by noted authors. It's much pricier than AC but well worth the bucks.
Bottom line: If you need a quick aviation fix, AC will do fine. By all means, get a subscription; it's way, way dirt cheap.