For a long time, my entire focus has been recreational aviation news. Normally, the news is about an aircraft, a new engine, or some innovative flying product. The news is rarely about the messenger, ByDanJohnson.com.
As many who attended Sun ‘n Fun 2023 learned and even more discovered via online news — Flying Media has acquired the ByDanJohnson aviation brand and all of the written, photographic, or video content created under the tagline, “By Dan Johnson.”
This content dates to 1976. Since the mid-1990s, much of this work migrated from print to the web. Work on the website began in 1999… a mere four years after the World Wide Web was birthed by the Netscape browser.
Building a website was very challenging then — we called it “stick-built,” as every line of code to make it work had to be written essentially from scratch. WordPress, which today delivers ByDanJohnson.com and about one-third of all websites worldwide, did not exist in 1999. Google was new. Facebook had yet to launch. No one had heard of YouTube. Apple’s iPhone was years away. Tick tock was something only a clock did. A lot happened in 20 years.
It was a formative period to go online. I got lucky with the timing. Being very early to move from print to web, I benefitted from being able to refine the website and build an audience long before most of today’s web outlets existed.
As Flying takes completes its takeover around April 1, 2024, ByDanJohnson.com will complete a full 20 years of publishing… an eternity in Internet time. Flying will rebadge ByDanJohnson.com as AffordableAviation.com. I purchased this website domain name many years ago with exactly this change in mind.
Don’t go to AffordableAviation.com yet. It is not ready. Today, everything remains exactly as you expect.
What and Who Is Flying?
The magazine you already know. Every pilot knows it. For many of us, it was probably the first aviation magazine we ever read. Flying has been headquartered in places like New York City and has focused on the higher end of aviation though their coverage spans the field. However, the iconic magazine was not strong in affordable aviation. That’s where I saw an opportunity
I contacted Flying Media owner Craig Fuller after discovering he was an LSA enthusiast; it turns out he owns two of them. He had purchased Flying magazine in 2021 and had ambitious plans. I believed that what I had to offer — the affordable end of aviation including Light-Sport Aircraft, Sport Pilot-eligible kit-built aircraft, and ultralights — could nicely complement the wider range of aviation served by Flying magazine.
Craig was “highly interested” almost from the start; he had already watched some of my videos and was familiar with my work. Between April 2022 and summer at AirVenture, we came to basic agreement and spent a few months working out the contract details.
What Does this Mean to You?
Regarding your interest in what you always find on ByDanJohnson.com, expect no changes. As I have for decades, I will continue my reporting on affordable aviation.
AffordableAviation.com will come online soon enough and then the door will open widely for more pilots to see this content. I have been serving around 40,000 loyal readers each month. I expect that could double …or more, depending on how many in the Flying ecosystem are intrigued by affordable aviation. Already some articles of mine appear in Plane & Pilot, another familiar aviation title Craig acquired recently.
“The LSA category is the most exciting part of the aviation industry,” Craig said in Flying’s announcement. “It offers affordable access to some of the most advanced general aviation aircraft in the market. With the changes expected under Mosaic, we expect an explosion in new aircraft models, innovative technology, and more affordable offerings for pilots and aircraft owners. Affordable aviation is coming to general aviation and Flying Media Group plans to capitalize on this opportunity by providing far more coverage and content related to the category, across all of our channels.”
I can hardly tell you how pleased I am that Craig and Flying magazine (and several online products) will carry the affordable aviation flag into the future. For nearly a century, Flying has built a reputation and audience unmatched throughout all of aviation. To join such a prestigious, well-known and well-respected aviation publisher is very satisfying.
What Will I Be Doing? — Short answer: trying to keep up! For the next year, I expect to be busier than ever. The affordable end of aviation is enjoying strong success.
Part 103 ultralights — that nobody, including me, can count accurately — appear to be doing very well. Light-Sport Aircraft and Sport Pilot kit-built aircraft were up almost 20% in 2022 after a 10% gain the year before. Companies are quoting deliveries into 2024.
In other space, eVTOLs are capturing attention and money by the bagful. Air taxis may be well off in the future but Part 103 eVTOLs are almost market ready now.
Finally, FAA should be on the cusp of releasing their much-anticipated NPRM known as Mosaic.
Whew! What a time to be covering the segment of aviation I love. Now, with Flying’s acquisition, decades of content can be offered to a larger world of aviation. I will do my best to faithfully report affordable aviation and the fun sort of flying machines recreational pilots enjoy.
C’mon along for the ride. I’ll happily be your tour guide.
Congrats, Dan! I’ve been reading your content about as long as you’ve been publishing it online, and your website has always been THE authoritative source for what’s happening in light & affordable aviation. I see you as “The godfather of light & affordable aviation in America” and your contributions have been deeply appreciated.
I hope Flying magazine does indeed invest more resources and coverage into this end of the aviation spectrum. I know far too many people who would like to learn how to fly but see it as “a wealthy person’s hobby.” Perhaps broader coverage of the more affordable end (Part 103, LSA, etc.) can encourage more people to take the leap. Because as with any hobby, we always need new entrants with whom we can share the joy and love of the skies!
Dan Johnson says
Thank you for the very kind words. I share your hope that affordable aviation will become a substantial part of the Flying ecosystem.
Neal Shade says
Congrats Dan. I hope it works out for you at Flying. I always enjoyed your talks at the the MidWest LSA Show and chatting on the flight line. However, I am disappointed your great content will soon be buried at Flying Magazine. They’ve always been a high end piston single/twin/turbine/jet crowd with zero interest in anything with a price tag less the 500-650K or the used market. I stopped getting their magazine years ago because of that focus. Plane and Pilot has all but disappeared from newsstands and the editorial content turns against GA about half the time. Good luck, I hope you can get more than a single page in Flying.
Dan Johnson says
Flying has new ownership and fresh ideas. That they wanted to acquire my content speaks loudly, I believe. Give them a chance (and us some time to make these changes). I hope you’ll be happy with what you see.
Congratulations, Dan! I am happy for you, and even happier that you will continue reporting. You are the best source for the news I want.
I do have to admit that I’m disappointed that the best light sport aviation site will be under the Flying umbrella, though, given the fact that they will be giving away a light sport aircraft and sport pilots are not eligible to win the aircraft.
Agreed Rick. Flying needs to rethink contest rules for the Icon / Astore giveaway if there was LSA enthusiast interest in what they’re doing.
Is it that Sport Pilots are not eligible to win, or is it that the plane is not Light-Sport eligible?
Rich Hopkins says
It is that the rules state:
“You must beaprivate pilot or prospective private pilot to enter this Sweepstakes.”
“Grand Prize: One (1) Grand Prize will be awarded in this Sweepstakes, inclusive of Grand prize Winner’s choice of one (1) of the following:
a. Option 1: One (1) used ICON A5 airplane (with less than five hundred (500) hours), having an ARV of ($250,000) and $30,000 cash, awarded in the form of a check, which can be used towards insurance, training and/or retrieval of the aircraft. The total ARV of the Option 1 Grand Prize is $280,000.
b. Option 2: One (1) used TecnamAstore LSA airplane (with less than three hundred (300) hours), having an ARV of ($250,000) and $30,000 cash, awarded in the form of a check, which can be used towards insurance, training and/or retrieval of the aircraft. The total ARV of the Option 2 Grand Prize is $280,000.
c. Option 3: In lieu of an airplane, Grand Prize Winner may opt for $100,000 cash awarded in the form of a check. The ARV of the Option 3 Grand Prize is $100,000.
Option 1 & Option 2 prize details:
Grand Prize Conditions: If Option 1 or Option 2 is chosen, Grand Prize Winner must
(a) provide proof of being a private pilot via a private pilot certificate;
(b) provide proof of at least fifty (50) hours of total flight time;
(c) provide written sign off by a certified flight instructor demonstrating proficiency of instruction in the specific airplane type chosen; and
(d), if choosing the ICON, a seaplane rating.
Proof of an insurance policy, underwritten specifically for the aircraft chosen, must also be provided prior to delivery. The aforementioned must be provided within twelve (12) months of receipt of the Required Documents as outlined in the PRIZE CLAIMS section herein. If the Grand Prize Winner is unable to complete the flight training or cannot obtain the required insurance, Grand Prize Winner will be provided with the Option 3 Grand Prize.”
So, when given the choice of two Light Sport Aircraft to choose from, both worth $280,000, a Sport Pilot would only be able to win $100,000 – IF HE WERE NOT PROHIBITED FROM WINNING, due to that first clause I quoted.
I recently subscribed to Flying Magazine. From what I have seen so far they don’t represent grass root aviation enthusiast. It mostly represents wealthy GA pilots who can afford Cubcrafters and high end LSAs of that sort. Apparently all that is left for us HA pilots of moderate means is Kitplanes Magazine.
Dan Johnson says
Well, that may be an accurate assessment of the past but it is obviously changing, as Flying magazine showed a high level of interest in affordable aviation. Of course, we’ll have to see how it all plays out, but I will be doing my best to funnel information into the Flying system.
Thanks. I hope you are able to maintain your influence. You have done a great job representing us.
ED LEINEWEBER, Golden Age Aeroworks LLC says
Congratulations, Dan! Best wishes for the future.
Hollis Babb says
JOEL THOMPSON says
CONGRATULATIONS!!! JOB VERY WELL DONE!!
As I always say when someone does or achieves a milestone…..BAM!!!
WTG Dan Johnson!
Of note: The RANS Designs S21 SLSA aircraft is booked out to 2026!
Rich Jennings says
A big congratulations Dan! As a person who has followed your writing since the early days of Ultralights, I think it’s about time that the entire aviation world (not just the Hang Gliding, Ultralight, Light Sport, etc. world), will be shown that there is fun to be had at the opposite end of the financial spectrum.
Also, as a long time Flying Magazine subscriber, I am thrilled with the new look and editorial vision that has occurred with the new ownership.
Dan Johnson says
Thanks, Rich. Your longtime support means a lot to me.
Congratulations Dan. You saw the market!
Dan Johnson says
Dane Ward says
Awesome and congratulations Dan. This will be a “win win” for everyone!
Dan Johnson says
Thanks, Dane. You’ve observed most of this…
Congrats Dan! Hope you made a mint! Now have them give away a Montaer as a victory lap to kick off the new site. 😉
Dan Johnson says
Thanks very much! My main goal was finding a long-term way to continue delivering this content to those who enjoy it. Done!