Chattanooga businessman buys Flying Magazine, brings headquarters to city

Contributed photo / Chattanooga businessman Craig Fuller is shown with son Max in an ICON 5 amphibious aircraft on the Tennessee River.

Chattanooga businessman Craig Fuller has acquired Flying Magazine, the most widely read publication in the sector, with plans for it to serve as a beach head for a broader aviation concept.

"In the next decade there will be a massive renaissance in aviation," said Fuller, who is founder and chief executive of supply-chain media and data firm FreightWaves.

Fuller said that Flying, which has been around since 1927, will be independent from FreightWaves and part of Flying Media Group.

Fuller acquired the magazine from American enthusiast media publishing group Bonnier Corp., which is based in Florida. He said the terms of the deal were confidential.

Flying has a print readership of 160,000 per issue and 410,000 monthly visitors to the website, Fuller said. It also has a social media presence with nearly 450,000 followers across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, he said.

The magazine, to be headquartered in Chattanooga, now has about a dozen employees, and Fuller said he has plans to double that number within a couple of months and make "significant investments."

"It's really focused on general aviation," he said. "The goal is to build on a broader aviation concept."

Fuller said he sees investing in online and mobile platforms, with a bigger focus on aviation photography, podcasts and streaming video.

A 30-year pilot, Fuller said he started at age 13.

"Flying has been my guide through that journey over the past few decades," he said. "Today, I have the opportunity to blend two passions I have - aviation and media."

The existing editorial team, led by Julie Boatman, will stay with Flying and become part of the new group, the businessman said.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the segment accounts for more than 5% of America's gross domestic product. The FAA said aviation contributes $1.6 trillion in total economic activity and supports nearly 11 million jobs.

Fuller founded FreightWaves about five years ago. He said logistics and the supply chain is undergoing a rebirth amid the pandemic. Retailers are having to figure out how to deliver goods faster to people's homes and looking at innovation to do so, Fuller said.

He said FreightWaves had "a good year" in 2020 despite the pandemic. The company has 168 employees, including about 100 in Chattanooga, Fuller said.

Contact Mike Pare at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.