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Kentucky Aviation Hall of Fame honors Collins

Collins was technical editor of AOPA Pilot when he died in 2021 at 59. He was nominated for enshrinement by former AOPA regional manager Bob Minter, who reflected on Collins at the enshrinement. “I was thrilled to nominate him and so happy that he was inducted so quickly,” Minter said. “I’m so glad I did it, it was a great weekend, and I was so happy to be a part of it.”

“We’re sorry to be without him,” Minter continued, “but he left us with a lot of great memories. Collins’ articles published for over 30 years have and will continue to serve pilots and their continuing need for recurrent training and education.”

The Aviation Museum of Kentucky is home to the official Aviation Hall of Fame for the Commonwealth of Kentucky and was designated in 1994. Since its first enshrinement in 1996, the Hall of Fame has honored over 100 individuals and more than 25 businesses, from or with close ties to Kentucky, who have made significant contributions in the fields of aviation and aerospace. Collins was born in Ohio and grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. He graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1984 and worked as a newspaper photographer and editor before helping to launch The Southern Aviator.

Collins’ children Jenn, Matthew, and Bridget were all in attendance as their mother Janette accepted the honor. Janette recalled Collins’ many accomplishments and spoke fondly on his time with AOPA and the impact he made on others during his life. “The true measurement of Mike’s impact isn’t the thousands upon thousands of photos he took, or the millions of words he wrote and edited,” Janette said. “The true measurement—as I am confident everyone who remembers him will agree—is the way he loved interacting with people, hearing their stories, sharing his wonderful sense of humor and infectious laugh, and bringing joy and kindness to every encounter. At the heart of it all was his huge heart. By action and example, he reminded us what was truly important: family, doing our best, helping others, and being honorable and compassionate.”

The Collins family, [from left to right] Bridget, Janette, Matthew, and Jenn. Photo by Mark Mahan, courtesy of Aviation Museum of Kentucky Hall of Fame.

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