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And that’s the way it is

Signing off after 34 years at AOPA

I had been struggling for months about what to say in this last column of mine as an AOPA employee when I clicked on a link sent by a friend (thank you, Harvey!).

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The link is to a video of Walter Cronkite’s final signoff from the CBS Evening News, Friday, March 6, 1981. I don’t want you to think that I think of myself as some sort of Walter Cronkite, but creating a monthly magazine and all of the media properties AOPA has here in the twenty-first century requires a similar amount of teamwork as a television news broadcast, and it is there that Cronkite focused his final signoff. So, with full credit to America’s news anchor, allow me to paraphrase:

This is my last regular column as AOPA editor in chief. For me it’s a moment for which I have long planned, but which, nevertheless, comes with some sadness. For almost three decades, after all, we’ve been meeting on this “Waypoints” page, and I’ll miss that.

But those who make anything of this departure, I’m afraid, will have made too much. This is but a transition; a passing of the baton. Great aviation journalists, writers, and friends Richard Collins and Mark Twombly preceded me in this job and another, Kollin Stagnito, will follow. And, anyway, the person whose byline and photo appear on this page is but the most conspicuous member of a superb team of journalists, designers, editors, photographers, and videographers. And none of that will change. Furthermore, I’m not even going away. I will be back from time to time with occasional columns, articles, and videos. Old editors in chief, you see, don’t fade away. They just keep coming back for more.

I’ll be away on assignment. Kollin Stagnito will be sitting in here for the next few years.

Blue skies. I’ll see you at the hangar.

[email protected]

Thomas B. Haines
Thomas B Haines
Contributor (former Editor in Chief)
Contributor and former AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.

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