"Safety" and "Perfection" are recurring themes is Richard Collins' life and work. "Safety" is stressed in his books (ten of them) and his magazine articles (over 800 of them). "Perfection" shines through both his writing and his flying - especially his flying. One of his writers said, "Flying with Collins is a humbling experience, albeit an educational one."
A native of Little Rock, Collins flew for Central Flying Service and as a corporate pilot following two years' service in the US Army. In 1958 he went to work for his father, Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame alumni, Leighton Collins, at Air Facts magazine. After ten years of polishing his skills at Air Facts, he joined the staff of Flying magazine.
Collins returned to Little Rock when he became a senior editor for Flying in 1970, a position he held for seven years. While in Arkansas he served on the state's Aeronautics Commission, and spent one year as its chairman. In 1977 he became the Editor-in-Chief of Flying and moved to New York City. Under Collins' leadership, the magazine began to encourage pilots to polish their flying skills, to fly like professionals, and to work well within the air traffic control system. His influence extended far beyond the readers of the magazine, often reaching the Washington offices of the FAA.
In April, 1988, Collins packed up his trusty Cessna 210 and moved south to Maryland, where he became the Senior Vice President of the Publications Division of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. As Editor-in-Chief of AOPA PILOT magazine, he was widely known as a champion of safety and perfection in aviation.