FLYING’s Significant Improvements and Smashing Success

After a full year under new ownership, FLYING owner and CEO Craig Fuller outlines how the investment has been a smashing success thanks to more content of the highest quality, enormous advertiser support, and big plans to expand.

[Illustration Credit: Amy Sledge]

I have been flying airplanes for more than 25 years and reading FLYING Magazine since I was a teenager. In late July 2021, I had the opportunity to purchase FLYING. The staff of the magazine and I are now more than a full year in, and I’m excited to share that the investment has been a smashing success. 

When I started on the FLYING journey, I could not imagine how rewarding it would be. In the past year, we have made significant improvements across FLYING

Focus on the Highest Quality 

Earlier this year, we upgraded the print edition of FLYING with high-end paper, a new design, and award-winning photography. We also required all advertisements to run full-page ads in order to ensure that the magazine delivered a positive experience for the reader. 

Our focus continues to center around publishing the highest quality print aviation magazine in the market. 

A peek at the cover of the first edition of the revamped FLYING. [Photo: Julie Boatman]

Initially, we rolled out the new FLYING as a quarterly publication, but in response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received from our readers—and enormous support from our advertisers—we have decided to take FLYING back to a monthly frequency. 

FLYING subscribers will receive the 2022 Buyers Guide in October, followed by the Q4 2022 issue of FLYING in November, and finally a special December issue. Beginning in January, subscribers will receive 12 issues in 2023, and we will maintain the same high quality of our recent redesign. 

Significant Investment in the Digital Experience Across Web and Mobile

In addition to our investments in the magazine, we have also made significant upgrades to the FLYING website. I hope you have noticed how much more content is there, with special attention paid to pilot-oriented topics such as Destinations, Maintenance, Aircraft Ownership, Careers, and Student Guides. We have also expanded our coverage of aviation history, military, and aerospace topics. We plan on doubling the number of contributors in 2023, and they will provide a wide array of aviation content. 

As part of the website upgrades, we’ve made the reader experience more intuitive. We eliminated the programmatic ads that were on the site and replaced them with aviation-relevant, direct-sale ads that don’t interfere with your reading experience. 

Response From the Market? Overwhelmingly Positive 

We have invested nearly $10 million in the new FLYING, and the market has responded very positively to the changes and upgrades. Revenues are up 88 percent year-over-year and we are starting to see real momentum in the business. As a growth-oriented CEO, I plan on investing the increased revenue right back into FLYING. We have big plans in 2023 and beyond to expand FLYING with more high-quality content, experiences, and applications. 

The cover of the Q3 2022 featured the TBM 960. [Photo Credit: Jim Barrett]

Back at the FBO—and Back on the Newsstand

As a supply chain executive, I was appalled by how challenging the print supply chain was for FLYING when I first arrived. Over the past year, we have overhauled the supply chain and created a streamlined process over which we have direct control. This process is complete and we are expanding our distribution to fixed-base operators (FBOs) and retail newsstands. 

Beginning in October, FLYING will be available at FBOs nationwide. We believe that being in FBOs is important—they are the central meeting and “refueling” place for all pilots. If you haven’t seen the new print version of FLYING, it’s likely to be at your local FBO starting next month. I hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to check it out and if you like it, please subscribe. We will continue to invest in new content creation—and we are also working on a subscriber rewards program. We want to develop a community with our readers, one in which we have relationships based on a love of flying—and FLYING

In November, FLYING is also returning to select retail newsstands. The print version of FLYING will be available at Barnes & Noble and more than 970 Hudson News stores. We believe this gives FLYING the opportunity to reach prospective pilots and aviation lovers in airports and bookstores nationwide. 

We are committed to bringing FLYING back to greatness and are preparing the magazine for the next generation of aviation. In addition, we are working on a number of new initiatives and products that will make FLYING an even greater part of the aviation community. 

A pilot for more than three decades, Craig Fuller is owner and CEO of FLYING parent company Firecrown Media.

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