A popular aviation magazine that ceased publication after its founder died in 2011 is now available online, thanks to the efforts of an Illinois pilot who obtained a grant to digitize the content.
Sportsman Pilot was published for 30 years by aviation writer and editor Jack Cox. Cox and his wife, Golda, edited Sport Aviation, the flagship publication of the Experimental Aircraft Association, from 1969 through 1999. The Coxes launched their own publication, Sportsman Pilot, in 1981, in part so that Cox could devote more page space to the various historic and technical aspects of aircraft construction, restoration, and aviation history.
“The magazine quickly caught on with aircraft restorers and homebuilders,” said Jim Cunningham of Normal, Illinois. Cunningham is a CFII and aircraft owner. “Each issue was packed with details unavailable anywhere else, and the material was rounded out with content on air races, fly-ins, book reviews, and personal profiles.”
Sportsman Pilot ceased publication after Cox’s death in 2011. It’s possible to obtain some back issues via the website, Cunningham said, but many are out of print. A digital projects librarian at Illinois State University, Cunningham obtained a grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund to digitize the content and put it online, with Golda’s permission.
Twenty back issues are available for review or download by clicking on the magnifying glass icon and entering “Sportsman Pilot” in the search box. The issues are keyword searchable when downloaded as PDF files.
“The contents of Sportsman Pilot are timeless—people who build or restore airplanes will find the material invaluable whether they are doing the work in 2015 or 2050—or beyond,” Cunningham said. He said he hopes to identify other timeless aviation materials to digitize in the future.