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After 75 years in print, Trade-A-Plane remains a family operation


Many pilots looking for a used airplane or spare parts may not think much of turning to Trade-A-Plane, the website and print publication. The company is celebrating its 75th year in print this year, no small feat in an aviation industry that’s seen its ups and downs in recent years, not to mention a broader classified-advertising industry that’s been radically changed by Craigslist and other free online options. Trade-A-Plane’s staff has grown to 150 people, but it remains a family-owned business and it runs its own commercial printing plant in Tennessee, rather than outsourcing the three-times-a-month print runs. Trade-A-Plane published its first broadsheet edition in 1937, several years after founder Cosby Harrison bought and then crashed a Laird Swallow biplane and had difficulty finding spare parts to repair it. Since then, Trade-A-Plane has grown to print 1.7 million copies per year; the company also produces classifieds for the trucking and energy industries.