Did you know that over 300 issues of Model Aviation magazine are available online right now, freely accessible by anyone?
Model Aviation Magazine
The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is the world’s largest model aviation organization. Model Aviation (MA) magazine is the flagship publication of the AMA, sent free to all open members. That means that the monthly readership of Model Aviation is over 150,000. By my reckoning, that makes Model Aviation easily the model airplane magazine with the largest circulation in the world.
Like so many other things, more eyeballs usually means more money to create great contents. Over the years I have probably subscribed to every American model airplane magazine on the market. Several of them are no longer in circulation. In my opinion, there is no contest. Model Aviation is easily the best model airplane magazine.
Before I get some angry emails, let me clarify. I said American magazine. Once in a long while I buy a copy of one of the British magazines. They are excellent. But they cost me about $10 an issue. Also, looking at the advertisements is a lot of the fun of reading a magazine. Unfortunately, the British advertisements filled with products I cannot get do not do much for me.
The AMA has been working hard to scan and put online issues of MA for many years now. The last time I looked at it the online collection was very incomplete. The interface was a bit clunky and the web site was not very fast. I think slow is the word I am looking for…
The new website (link below) looks completely different. It is a lot snappier and looks much better, too.
The plan is to have every single issue online, starting with the very first issue of MA from July 1975. Right now the archive is freely accessible by anyone. Because of the free access, the most recent year available is 2000. That is still over 300 issues online right now. Eventually you will need your AMA number to gain access. At that point every issue right up to the current one will be online.
This used to be called the AMA Archive. Because of the plan to include every issue through the present, it has been renamed the AMA Library. Makes sense.
It is not just that they are online. I am sure we all have stacks on old MA issues lying around. The real value is in the search function. It is excellent. It is fast and returns high quality results.
There is an advanced search mode that shows up after you have done a preliminary search. With it you can search for a specific phrase. You can also exclude certain words from the articles in the results.
Even better, the search function returns articles, not pages. I remember that being a problem with the old archive website. With most feature articles getting spread out throughout the magazine, it was time consuming to read an entire story. No more.
Here is a tip for making the most of the search function. Right now, the date of the MA issue where the article is from is not shown in the results. I’m sure it will be fixed soon. In the meantime, just hover your mouse over the link. At the bottom of your web browser you will see which issue it is from.
If you live outside the United States and are not a member of the AMA, I would not hesitate to take advantage of this wealth of information. Like I said, there is no telling when the access for non-AMA members will be going away.