Taking Off in Public: Celebrations and Surprises

Craig Fuller welcomed a new guest into his Icon A5. Courtesy Craig Fuller

Editor’s Note: “Taking Off in Public” is a digital series written by Craig Fuller, the new owner of Flying magazine. In this series, Fuller will provide insight into his plans for Flying and a first-hand look at how Flying is being built for the next generation.

My wife and I celebrated our fourth anniversary this past week. As a present, she surprised me by flying with me for the first time.

While I have been flying since I was 13, I had taken a 20-year break that I ended earlier this year. In March, I resumed flying and have logged about 120 hours since then. But she’s still getting used to the idea of me as a pilot. I was really excited to take her up in the Icon A5, and we flew over the Tennessee River Gorge and the Sequatchie Valley before heading back over downtown Chattanooga.

A look at the Tennessee River Gorge. Courtesy: Craig Fuller

The Sequatchie Valley, a nearly perfect straight valley visible from space, provides some of the most beautiful flying in the Southeast. I highly recommend checking out if you ever get to this part of the world.

The Sequatchie Valley provides some of the most scenic flying in the US. Courtesy: Craig Fuller

The skies were gorgeous, but the ride was bumpy. We got a water landing in, but with the winds being a bit unpredictable, I wasn’t comfortable doing more than one.

In any case, taking my wife up for the first time was a thrill, and it was the best anniversary present she’s ever given me.

We would love to hear about your adventures in taking a partner up for the first time. What was that like? Send some photos of your adventures to editorial@flying.media.

The Plan is Working

This weekend, I received the highest compliment I have been given since I purchased Flying:

We’re just unleashing the energy and passion that already existed! @FlyingMagazine now has the largest editorial team in our 95-year history, and we are just getting started.

I really can’t take credit for the recent surge of quality content you may have seen. This is entirely the doing of the Flying Media Group editorial and product teams.

We’ve been fortunate that we were able to retain Julie Boatman (Editor-in-Chief) and Lisa deFrees, who has been with the brand since 1995, and Amy Jo Sledge, who has designed the magazine for the past few years.

In addition, we have developed one of the most passionate editorial teams in all of aviation. Since they are new to the Flying team, I wanted to give you a quick introduction of our starting cast:

Mark Spoor is the managing editor for flyingmag.com. He’s got more than 20 years of experience as an editor in the digital content space with sites like WebMD, NCAA.com, and NASCAR.com.

Meg Scarbrough is the managing editor of Modern Flying, a new brand within flyingmag.com that covers the next generation of aircraft. Meg came to us from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, one of the most respected newspapers in the country, where she was the News Editor.

Ashley Barajas covers schools and instruction. She found a love for flying after taking a discovery flight while studying at Baylor University, since then her interest in aviation has grown into a passion. She’s excited to help others stay informed and make decisions about their aviation futures.

Thom Patterson spent 10 years writing and reporting about aviation for CNN Digital, including on-site reporting from AirVenture, the Farnborough International Airshow and the Paris Air Show.

Meg Godlewski has been an aviation journalist for more than 20 years and a CFI for more than 18 years. If she is not flying or teaching aviation she is writing about it. When she’s away from the airport Meg plays goalie for the Seattle Women’s Field Hockey team.

Kimberly Johnson covers military aviation. Prior to joining Flying, Kimberly helped launch and maintain news coverage for several community news sites in North Carolina. She also has years of experience reporting on aviation and defense issues from Washington, D.C., as well as ground-level experience covering Marine Corps combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jeremy Kariuki is part of the Modern Flying team. He is an experienced journalist with a background covering the Georgia State Legislature and has served as staff sergeant and crew chief in the Georgia Air National Guard.

Eric Kulisch covers freight aviation. He’s also the Air Cargo Market Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety.

Michael Wildes writes a weekly Monday column for flyingmag.com called “What a Flight Instructor Wants You to Know.” Michael has his bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry-Riddle and currently works at the university’s flight department as a flight check airman. He holds MEI, CFI, and CFII ratings.

Jason McDowell writes “The New Owner,” a first-hand, relatable account of the trials, adventures, and triumphs of an average VFR pilot entering the world of ownership for the first time. It appears each Wednesday on flyingmag.com.

Jason Depew writes “High Finances,” which appears each Thursday on flyingmag.com. He shares financial tips for pilots. He’s the author of “Pilot Math Treasure Bath,” as well as Delta Air Lines A220 Captain and two-time NAFI Master CFI.

Grant Boyd writes a feature on aviation real estate that appears each Tuesday on the website. He’s a private pilot with seven years of experience in aviation business, including marketing, writing, customer service, and sales. He was a NBAA Business Aviation Top 40 Under 40 award recipient in 2020.

Ellen Voie writes a monthly column spotlighting Women in Aviation. Ellen is not only an avid pilot, she’s also an internationally recognized speaker and authority on gender diversity and inclusion for women working in non-traditional careers in transportation.

Jessica Cox writes a monthly column called “Flying Over Adversity,” which spotlights people succeeding in aviation despite what may be perceived as shortcomings. Born without arms, Jessica is the first and only licensed armless pilot in aviation history. She also trains in Taekwondo, mentors children with limb differences, and travels the world as a keynote speaker.

Grace Carlon, a student at the University of Florida, is our community engagement specialist. She’s grown around the aviation amd has served as a student intern at Piper Aircraft.

Preston Holland is our vice president of product development. Previously with a background in live events and leading teams, Preston is passionate about bringing new media properties to life with a focus on community.

Andy Welch is our account manager. He comes to us from Premium Transportation Logistics. Andy has a degree in Supply Chain Management and a background in commercial aviation part sales and logistics.

John Day is our chief financial officer. A manager with a finance background who has worked in Europe, Asia and North America. He’s also served as chief executive of market and technology data businesses in Massachussetts, New Jersey and Ontario.

Don’t Delay Your Holiday Shopping

One thing to note: Get your holiday presents sooner than later. This is not a procrastinator’s holiday season.

Supply chains are a mess. If you are interested in learning more about the reasons, you can read an article I did for FreightWaves this weekend.

Do you need the perfect holiday present?

How about a subscription to Flying magazine for your friends and family. Or yourself. We are about to go through a major upgrade of the new print magazine and will be phasing out the newsstand edition of Flying. You must become a subscriber to get the print edition starting next year.

The best way to connect with me is on Twitter @freightalley.

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

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