Contributor’s Guide

Want to contribute to Why Fly?

Use your skills as a writer, photographer, filmmaker, interviewer, or artist to inform. Entertain. Enlighten. Provoke thought. Encourage discussion. Above all else … inspire. Let’s bring the romance back into flying!

What we’re looking for

At first glance, it would appear that each contributor has only one chance to submit an essay/photo/video/interview as to answering the question of why they fly. Well, you’re more than welcome to do that … but as that singular concept would get stale pretty fast, we’d better explain what we have in mind.

You can create content about pretty much everything involved in aviation, as long as there’s an underlying theme as to why you, or the person you are writing about/filming/etc., flies.

For example: You could write about some strange, off-airport landing you made, the people you met, the adventures that ensued, and the things you learned from that experience-things you would never have learned had you not flown in to that place.

What we’re trying to get across in Why Fly is … truly … why we fly.

People often ask: “What’s the big deal? Once you’ve done it-become a pilot-what makes you keep on going back up time after time … even after you’ve survived some close brush with an airborne grim reaper that would keep most “sane” people permanently on the ground?”

What is it about flying that makes the experience so magical? Why does just about every cent of your expendable (and most of your non-expendable) cash go into whichever corner of aviation you’ve been drawn to? (And let’s be clear-all “corners of aviation” are open to Contributors.)

What is “your thing?” (Or “the thing” of the person you’re writing about)?

  • Propane-ing yourself into the wild blue under a hot air balloon?
  • Jumping off cliffs with a hang glider?
  • Wafting around in ultralights?
  • Flying your glider in seemingly endless circles as you search for the perfect thermal?
  • The joy of flying a Cessna 150?
  • Are high-performance machines what you crave?
  • Must it have floats, or be amphibious?
  • Will you only pilot an airplane with at least two engines?
  • Do your hands and feet have to rest on the controls of a warbird?
  • Is an antique airplane-the older the better-your kind of flying machine?
  • Are you convinced that the airship is on the verge of a major comeback?
  • Shooting a perfect approach-breaking out at minimums with the runway right in front of you … is that your ultimate high?
  • Or must you be weightless in a space craft-staring down at the curve of “the good earth” … or out into the infinity of space that is, inevitably, humanity’s ultimate destination?
  • Do you prefer to fly alone, or does a flight only count if it’s shared with someone else?

In each and every case, the bottom line is: your piece needs to show, by its content, in a unique and fresh manner … WHY you or your subject flies.

And please don’t think you have to be a licensed pilot to contribute!

  • Perhaps searching for wrecks is your passion.
  • Maybe turning a pile of junk back into a fully restored, living, breathing aerodyne is what you live for.
  • Perhaps you express your love for the sky with a paint brush … or a single photographic image that “says it all” … a piece of prose … or a poem, ripped deep from the heart of your consciousness.

We don’t care how much experience you have. We do care what those experiences have been. What they have meant to you. What they will mean to others.

A few of the concepts we’ve been kicking around

We’ve done a bunch of brainstorming around the types of content we’d like to include on the site. The names of the ideas below are just to help focus our thinking. If you’re into a particular topic and think you could provide ongoing content, then perhaps a named “column” is in order. Otherwise, just view these as ideas of the types of content we’re looking for.

  • $200.00 Hot Dogs: Great and/or unique, fly-in restaurants. Not just “Some place to go,” but a destination that gave you so much more than you ever expected when you touched down.
  • Air Born: Why I got into flying, how it changed-and continues to change-my life.
  • Animated Shorts: Is someone out there good at short, humorous, animated (or stop-action) videos? If you’ve got an idea with an aviation theme, we’d like to hear it.
  • As The Windsock Turns: The Rumour Mill: Heard anything interesting “on the grapevine” lately? Any great new aircraft just coming off the drawing board? Is some old wreck, pulled out of a forest-or up from the ocean bottom-going to fly again? Know any interesting government loopholes that can help keep more of us flying? Picked up any rumblings of potential threats to free skies? Got proof that any of the above is nothing more than a rumour? We’d like to hear it all.
  • Attitude Indicators: Future trends…. What’s coming…. What’s good…. What’s awful. How it will affect us all.
  • Deal Of The Month: Tales of incredible deals that got people into the sky-cheap. (We have to get across the idea that You don’t have to be rich to fly.)
  • Just Plane Noise: Audio wav/MP3 files of rare engines in operation (Merlins/Kinners/Gipsy Majors/OX-5s/Wright Whirlwinds/etc.)
  • Toyland: New Tech-but not the standard “aviation gadgetry” (that’s not our mandate). Something along the lines of-a belly-mounted, cockpit-controlled security camera, which allows the pilot to see (and record) what’s below her/him. In other words, any out-of-the-ordinary tech, not designed for aviation, that will make flying more fun and enjoyable for you and your passengers.
  • NORDO RONLY: Great pen name, eh? Places where you can not only still fly NORDO or RONLY, but where it’s expected!
  • Off-Airport Landings: Friendly, interesting and/or challenging places where pilots have landed “off-airport” and had extraordinary experiences. Beaches, sandbars, remote lakes, etc. (with a legal disclaimer).
  • On Our Six: Stories looking back at “The Way It Was” (and why it was that way).
  • SkySights: Your best in-air/air-to-air/ground-to-air & air-to-ground photos. Images that tell a story in one spectacular, or moving, shot. (Note: you retain the rights to your images … more on that later.)
  • Quote of the Month (possibly matched with imagery): i.e.:
    • “Both optimists and pessimists contribute to society. The Optimist invents the airplane. The pessimist, the parachute.”
    • “Death is nature’s way of telling you to watch your airspeed.”
    • Student pilot: “Hey, there’s birds up here.”
    • Michelle’s fave: “A woman like that can really piss a man off!”
    • Glenn’s fave: “Nose down, Throttle Wide. See What Happens.”
  • R.O.N. (Remaining Over Night): Stories on visits to our kind of “must-fly-to” destinations, around a) North America, and b) the World (why think small?.) Stressing the stories of the people who run these places/their uniqueness/ their friendliness (loan of airport car/etc.)
  • SkyWords: Full-length audio interviews (available in streaming or downloadable formats) with fascinating people who “get it,” have been there, done that and learned a lot about themselves as a result.
  • SkyWriting: Poems or prose (on their own, or with pictures) focusing on the “passion for flight.”
  • Static: Dealing with air traffic control (how to work with them … and how to get around them).
  • “There I Was …”: “Horror stories” of “being up there, wishing you were down here.”  (Note: This is not “I Learned About Flying From That.” WhyFly’s take on this arena is what you learned about yourself-about your life-from a “fright flight.”)
  • Twelve O’Clock High: Stories on flights into space and the upcoming privatization of space. How it changed the astronaut/cosmonaut/taikonaut. How it has-and will-change our world and the way we see it.
  • Use It Or Lose It: Unique ways of using aircraft that you wouldn’t normally think of (especially to assist the non-flying public).
  • Virtually Flying: Flight Simulator or X-Plane “flights” in exotic aircraft to exotic places (including where to download any aircraft or scenery add-ons mentioned).
  • “Visual Flight Rules”: Hi-definition video. Featuring people who fly, what they fly, and (as you’ve probably guessed by now) why they fly what they do.

What do we pay?

Everyone taking part in the launch of Why Fly is donating their contribution (including Why Fly’s four partner owners). Why? Because that’s the only way we can maintain control of this project without encountering the restrictions which would inevitably follow the introduction of “outside money.”

However … all “Charter Contributors” will get a free subscription to Why Fly and—more importantly—go to the top of our “A List” when they submit future contributions.

As subscriptions begin to climb, we’ll ramp up contributor payments to match them.  Our ultimate goal is to pay our contributors more than any of the major, aviation print publications.

In other words … we fully understand that it will be our contributors who turn Why Fly into the success we know it will become. So, it’s only fair that you share in that growth with us.

Also … as all four Why Fly owners are long-time writers, we’re on your side. 


As Why Fly exists on the Internet, and will be accessible around the world, we will be purchasing your “First World Electronic Rights” (F.W.E.R.) when it comes to articles. In other words-we are getting the rights to publish your stories for the first time online. But-other than that-you retain the rights.

The nature of online publishing means your article will be available indefinitely in Why Fly’s archives (in the same way articles written long ago are still available in surviving magazines.) However, one month after your piece has been “published” on Why Fly, you have the right to sell/publish the same material elsewhere.

Images, videos, podcasts, etc. will be treated in a slightly different way as “F.W.E.R.” would also give us the right to sell prints, DVDs or CDs of your material … and we don’t think that’s fair.

If we think our upcoming “online store” could sell framed prints, DVDs or CDs of your material, we will offer a separate agreement to market them for you (for a small commission). You are under no obligation to accept. All rights return to you one month after your piece has been published online.

We will not stop you from using your material in some other medium down the road. (For example, Richard Bach created a wonderful book titled “A Gift of Wings” out of some of the best articles he wrote for aviation magazines during the Sixties and early Seventies.) You retain your rights.


We’re in the process of putting together a Writer’s Style Guide that will explain some of the stylistic conventions we use on the site. Until then, if your submission is written, just submit what you have. We’ll make small edits, if necessary, and send the revision to you for review before publishing.

Format of submissions

While we welcome any and all submissions for our review, it will be helpful to us (and to you) if you attempt to send us your contribution in the following formats:

  • Writing: Microsoft Word document. Either .doc or .docx formats.
  • Photography:We’ll publish images as .jpgs, most likely as a small thumbnail and a larger 1600×1200 image. Feel free to submit images in any format.
  • Video:Video on the site will be in streaming and downloadable .flv format. We can convert your footage, so send it along in any format that’s convenient.
  • Audio: Audio will posted as streaming and downloadable .mp3 files. Submit as .mp3 or .wav.

If you already have something you want to submit – send it in. If you have an idea you haven’t completed yet – feel free to query us first to gauge our interest.


Hopefully, this contributors’ guide will give you some idea of what we’re looking for. The key factor to remember when you pitch your idea is the all-important “Why?”

So, if you think you have an idea for a story, video, podcast, poem, painting, image, prose (or whatever else we’ve overlooked!), please send it (or a short summary) to us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

We can’t promise we’ll use your submission, but we’ll carefully consider everything you send.

Again, our sincere thanks for considering a contribution to Why Fly.

Send all contributions and inquiries to Glenn Norman at .

Why Fly is just getting started. We’re glad you’re interested in helping us shape the future of this unique aviation project.


Glenn Norman and Michelle Goodeve

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