Brian Stainer's 'Aviation Photo News'
Alan W Hall's 'Aviation News' magazine

My early days with an interest in (military) aviation, still in school, were mostly fed by English magazine. The Dutch magazines such as Avia were written much like glossy fashion- and homestyle magazines, with articles about the aviation industry and interviews of 'captains of (Dutch) industry', e.g. J.M.Schröder (founder of Martinair Holland). Those magazines did not go down to 'streetlevel' and had little to do with 'plane spotters' and their photography, though Hugo Hooftman's 'Cockpit'-magazine did bring to some extend news that was useful for the roaming plane spotter.
I only became aware of the Dutch spotters magazine 'Scramble' during the early 1980s. I also subscribed to two US publications: US Naval Aviation News and Air Force magazine; the trouble I had to go through for the annual payments, with International Money Orders!

So for my military aviation interest I subscribed to the South East Air Review (published by non-profit aviation enthusiasts organized in the West London Aviation Group), Air Enthusiast (a quality monthly magazine) and Aviation News.
By the time I subscribed to the latter it was a bi-weekly tabloid-size (to use a term much less in fashion in those days, the 1970s) publication. The paper it was printed on was akin that of newspapers and the photographs were printed in black & white. Postal services had 'their way' with it, I often received it worse for wear.
It later developed to the more traditional appearance of a magazine.

For a short while I was able to recoup some of my subscription expenses (which were considerable for my budget in those days!) by the photos I sent them and had them printed; this was during the start of my career in civil aviation and they printed my photographs of airliners taken at Amsterdam IAP too, so the magazine dealt with both civil as well as military aviation.

I recently (Feb.2016) received a kind gift from someone, which brought this all back to me. I did not save the Aviation News magazines, as the quality did not warrant that; the paper was that newspaper quality that finds the fish & chips in the next day, after the news had gone stale - it did not include articles worth saving, if I remember correctly.
While the South East Air Review did not (or if they did, very few) publish any photographs by spotters, the Aviation News did.

The gift I received is a 01Feb1970 (stamped 29Feb1970) copy, 'Order No 79', and seems limited to
photos available from Brian Stainer's 'Aeronautical Photo Agency'. While 'Aviation News' was set up by one Alan
Hall, APN was a solid contributor and always took up space within the Aviation News publication.
Brian Stainer's Aviation Photo News
Donated by Frank van de Peppel

Brian Stainer's Aviation Photo News
Size is 20x25cm

Aviation Photo News - Aeronautical Photo Agency (B.N. Stainer)
Aviation Photo News - Aeronautical Photo Agency (B.N. Stainer)

It would be interesting to collect some memories here, I thought. Remembering the days when aviation news only went as fast as a phonecall and photos had to be printed and were sent through the post office.
To start with I found a (30Mar2009) remark posted on a forum: "Brian Stainer, I believe, sold up the Aviation Photo News collection a few years ago now; I think, to retire."
This was followed by:
[Thu. 10Dec2009] "I have just heard that Brian Stainer passed away a few weeks ago.
For those that didn't know him, Brian was a fireman at Heathrow in the 1950s which gave him great opportunities for photographing all the glorious early piston airliners on the apron.
In 1956 he started up a photo service called Aviation Photo News and published monthly lists of photos for sale.
He left the fire service and went full-time with APN, with professional cameras producing quality b/w negatives.
Air Pictorial provided him with press facilities at Heathrow, enabling him to continue having access in order to publish his photos in magazines.
He gave up APN in the late '70s and sold all his slides, keeping his thousands of beloved b/w negatives for a while, but then sold all those as ill health took its toll."
This met following reply:"I remember Brian's photo lists well before competitors such as MAP came on the scene. When Alan Hall set up Aviation News, published initially as a fortnightly news paper, it always included a full page of Brian's APN photos and their collaboration made a success of its launch. In later years Brian used to sell his prints at shows from a tent set up beside his Reliant car and his faithful dog would lie there patiently wending away the day."

My memory of the South East Air Review as a series of A4-sized sheets printed with long lists of tailnumbers (report sightings) and serials, stapled together without much photography, well my memory may be at fault here (or the SEAR may have developed after I ended my subscription at some point), for I read this comment: "I recall buying many 116 size black and white pics from Brian Stainer at the West London Aviation Group meetings, near Heathrow, at sixpence a pop (old money), as well as ordering more from the APN lists.
I still have them here somewhere. He also supplied pics for the WLAG magazine, South East Air Review for some considerable time."
"If anyone has the Autumn 1985 issue of Propliner Magazine, there is a profile feature on Brian called 'ShutterKings'.

Brian Stainer was at the fence of LHR when a BOAC Boeing 707 came in to make a crash landing with an engine on fire and fully ablaze! As the aircraft came to rest, it was fully ablaze and passengers were starting to evacuate with the chutes. As the fire engines raced to the scene, Brian leapt (well something like that) the fence with cameras in hand and approached the burning aircraft. This event was well documented thanks to him. Full details and one of Brian's photos can be found here:

Alan W. Hall passed away at Mater Dei Hospital, Malta, on 06Nov2008.
He was reported as ".. one of the major figures in aviation publishing for as long as any of us can remember. First editor of Airfix Magazine, creator of Aviation News, Scale Aircraft Modelling (SAM) and Warpaint Books." His aviation library was handed to the Malta Aviation Society.

Someone wrote (2008):"What an excellent publication the old newspaper style Aviation News was , had many a photo published in that in the good old days of 35mm and black and white!"
Another:"As a kid I always thought Aviation News was the Bees Knees. As a Teen I went quite often to the Aviation Bookshop in Holloway Rd, to pick up the old 'paper style' versions to add to my collection."

The magazine changed from a newspaper-style publication to a more traditional magazine type
Remembering Aviation News magazine
£1,95 in 1985, with a special review of the RAF in that year.  £1,60 in 1992.
And, while still a fortnightly publication, Aviation News cost £1,95 in 1995. From

Comments welcomed! EMAIL (plse include the link/url)

See also my page on the early reference books for aviation enthusiasts! HERE..

There were others who sold slides, photo prints and B&W negatives. I remember ordering them from A.J. Brown (in memoriam) in England, but I did not keep his lists. I preferred swapping my slides and negatives with correspondents all over the world.
Among material donated by Frank van de Peppel I found two Scandinavian sellers of aviation photos and slides. For many years I subscribed to the Aviation-Letter for aviation news.

Photos and slides for sale 1970s
Aviation-Letter Photo Service, Feb. 1970

Photos and slides for sale 1970s
Color slides for sale by F. Nielsen (Brønshøj/Copenhagen, Denmark), Jan. 1971

Created 21-Feb-2016,
Updated 05-Nov-2020