Art Davis, the aptly named art director who guided the look and quality of AOPA publications since 1979, has retired after more than 20 years with aviation's largest-circulation monthly magazine.
"Art Davis enjoyed decades of success with some of the best publications in their fields," said Tom Haines, AOPA senior vice president of publications and editor-in-chief of AOPA Pilot. "We're gratified he spent his 'prime time' with AOPA, staying with us to play a huge role in making AOPA Pilot what it is today."
Davis signed on with AOPA in 1979 as creative director of AOPA Publications and art director for AOPA Pilot magazine. He was previously with Car and Driver magazine.
Davis had been with Air Progress, then art director at Flying, where he played a large role in Flying's fiftieth anniversary issue in 1977. He also worked for Conde Nast and Petersen Publications.
His aviation interests had been kindled in his native Ohio after World War II when he saw the new jet age literally pass by over his Dayton, Ohio, home near Air Force developmental headquarters at Wright-Patterson AFB. Despite the Air Force exotica, Davis was smitten by general aviation—especially the Beech Bonanza, although he later declared the Great Lakes Biplane his favorite.
The Ohio State graduate became a pilot in 1969 and later constructed—but never flew—a homebuilt BD-5. He was also famous at AOPA for crashing a Quicksilver during AOPA's early involvement with ultralight aviation. He still keeps the broken prop from that crash above his fireplace.
At AOPA, Davis brought enhanced graphics capabilities to AOPA Pilot, at one point employing more advanced computerization than the rest of the organization. He was a noted speaker at many publishing and graphics design events and seminars.
Davis will stay busy at his home in Maryland's Middletown Valley with a new specialty—expanding his superb woodworking talents into the creation of hand-built guitars.
Mike Kline has been named to succeed Davis. Prior to his previous five years as assistant art director at AOPA Pilot, Kline spent two years with Professional Pilot magazine. He remains art director for AOPA Flight Training, AOPA's newest publication.
During Davis' tenure at AOPA Pilot, the magazine has been a leader in design and graphical quality. AOPA Pilot became aviation's largest-circulation monthly in the mid-1990s. It delivers a practical but engaging magazine (of nearly 200 pages in many editions) for a motivated audience of active pilots.
"Art Davis was a big part of transitioning AOPA Pilot from a 'club magazine' to general aviation's most popular and focused monthly," added Haines.
"But throughout his career at Air Progress, Flying, and the car books, the touch of Art Davis made magazines better. We're just happy he spent his best 21 years with AOPA."
March 7, 2000