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In Memoriam: Beloved editor succumbs to COVID-19

Mike Collins leaves a legacy of contributions to aviation, AOPA

Mike Collins, AOPA technical editor and director of business development, passed away February 25 from COVID-19. He was an integral part of the AOPA Media team for nearly 30 years. He was 59.

Photography by David TulisMike was a photojournalism graduate of Western Kentucky University; co-founded The Southern Aviator; and held many key editorial roles at AOPA Pilot, Flight Training, and AOPA Online. He was a gifted writer, photographer, and an instrument-rated pilot and drone pilot. One of his most memorable stories was a 25-day flight around the world in 2013 with Mike Laver in Laver’s Mitsubishi MU–2.

Mike was well known in the aviation industry—and widely admired for his big grin and helpful attitude. When tasked with helping the average aircraft owner to understand the emerging ADS-B mandate, Mike, as usual, dove into the topic and soon became an industry expert on the subject, writing dozens of stories and speaking at events.

“Mike’s always positive and helpful attitude opened many doors for him and gained him great respect here at AOPA and around the industry,” said AOPA President and CEO Mark Baker. “All of us in aviation have suffered a loss with his untimely passing.”

Mike is survived by his wife, Janette, a member of the AOPA Pilot Information Center, and his children Jennifer, Matthew, and Bridget.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel with the passing of our friend and colleague,” said Tom Haines, AOPA vice president of Media, Communications, and Outreach, and editor in chief. “Anyone who has ever read a story in our magazines or our Email newsletters has benefited from Mike’s expertise. He and Janette are a part of our family here at AOPA. His passion for knowledge and educating will be missed for years to come.”

Memorial donations are appreciated to Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. (; the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County (; the AOPA Foundation (, or the charity of your choice. If you’re able, donate blood or platelets in his honor—even one pint makes a difference (Mike regularly donated).

For more on Mike Collins’s life and legacy, please read AOPA’s stories online.

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