Right: Mark Postlethwaite and Simon Parry in a cold, wet French field in October 2007 whilst filming the TV documentary ‘Last of the Dambusters’. Below their feet lay the remains of Dambuster Lancaster ED825, the aircraft flown by Joe McCarthy on the Dams Raid.
In the summer of 1986, 22 year old aviation artist Mark Postlethwaite was asked to paint a few cover paintings for Aircraft Modelworld magazine based in Surrey. On the staff of Aircraft Modelworld at the time was 28 year old Simon Parry who had recently setup his own publishing company ‘Air Research’ and was looking for cover art for some of his first books. The pair duly worked on several projects together and established a firm friendship forged by their common interest in WWII aviation history...
In 1990 Mark and Simon set up Red Kite as a joint venture to publish aviation books with a particular emphasis on a large photo content and high quality reproduction. These books proved to be an immediate success with several titles selling out within a year or so. Throughout the next two decades, both continued with their specific fields of interest, Simon in aviation archaeology and research and Mark by this time as a professional aviation artist.
In 2010 Mark and Simon formed Wing Leader Ltd to be an online retailer for all books published under their imprints. They brought Mark’s old friend Wesley Cornell in to design the website and to keep the technology at the cutting edge as online retailing developed. The concept of Wing Leader Ltd was always to include more than just books, as between them Mark and Simon had amassed a huge WWII photo library of over 25,000 images in the form of online library ww2images.com.
In 2014 Wesley Cornell launched a new magazine for accountants using the Xero software called XU Magazine. Using crowdfunding to get it off the ground, the magazine quickly grew. This success triggered discussions between the three as to whether the same principles could be applied to an aviation magazine. With Wes’s experience in the magazine sector and Mark and Simon’s vast amount of aviation material and contacts, it seemed to be an obvious move and Wingleader Magazine was born.