Michael Brown Wins the Richard Collins Writing Award

Brown is the third annual recipient of the $2,500 prize.

Michael Brown, now a private pilot, also holds instrument and seaplane ratings.Sporty's

Michael Brown, a 23-year-old instrument and seaplane rated pilot from Tennessee, is the winner of this year’s Richard L. Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots for his story, “The Wrong Stuff.” A distinguished panel of judges selected Brown’s story as the entry that best answered this year’s writing prompt, “My most memorable or important flying lesson.” Brown’s article recounts what he learned when he let his ego make the decision to impress his first non-familial passenger in a Legend Cub on twin amphibious floats. As he admits, “I didn’t want her to think I didn’t have the confidence or the right stuff enough to do what the plane was designed to do.” After landing the floatplane, he quickly realized safely taking back off was going to be an issue.

Sporty’s vice president—and Flying contributor—John Zimmerman awarded Michael the $2,500 prize to encourage his aviation and writing pursuits. The winning article was also published in Air Facts. Michael is a private pilot with 280 hours total time and an instrument and seaplane rating. His grandfather worked for Delta Airlines for 37 years and his father is also a pilot. Michael graduated from Texas Christian University last May with a double major in business and communications and is currently a first-year law student at Tulane University.

The late Richard L. “Dick” Collins for whom the award is named, was a prolific aviation journalist whose career spanned 60 years, nearly half of it on the masthead of Flying magazine, including more than a decade in the 1970s through the late 1980s as editor-in-chief. Collins wrote his first aviation article in 1947 when he was just 13 years old, for Air Facts, the magazine founded by his father Leighton Collins. Richard later joined the staff of that publication full time in 1958 after serving in the U.S. Army and as chief pilot for Ben M. Hogan Co., a highway construction company based in Little Rock, Arkansas. Air Facts, the magazine relaunched by Sporty’s in 2011 as an online publication, was the starting point for such authors as Wolfgang Langewiesche, Bob Buck, Bill Mauldin and Richard Bach.

The Richard L. Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots is funded by royalties from Collins’s book sales, augmented by contributions from his children, Richard, Jr. (who was also one of the judges), Sarah and Charlotte.