The Philadelphia Aviation Country Club was founded in March of 1931 by a group of local residents, all of who were prominent in aviation circles. The original clubhouse, which is still in use, was converted from an old farm dwelling. It became the home of The Philadelphia Aviation Country Club (PACC) when the Wings Corporation of Camden, New Jersey purchased the entire farm and converted it into an airport.
In 1939, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) was founded at the Club. Today, the organization boasts some 360,000 members nationwide. Also during the 1930’s there were a number of associated aviation clubs in other cities, such as Los Angeles, California, Hicksville, New York and Cleveland, Ohio. Reciprocal privileges were extended to club members and it was originally anticipated that the idea of associated clubs should expand to the rest of the country. These plans were interrupted by the advent of WWII, which severely curtailed civil aviation. During the war, a restricted zone was established along the eastern seaboard, which limited all flights except those for defense purposes. The clubhouse was used in the latter part of the war for aviation ground school and navigation classes.
In the late 1940’s, the clubhouse underwent extensive repairs and alterations, including the addition of the present bar and patio terrace. In this period of the club’s history, flying was the primary concern, with annual regattas being a regular feature for club members and their guests. It was also at this time, that non flying members began assuming a more active role in the club’s operations.
In late 1998, the focus once again turned to updating the facility as another series of repairs and renovations began starting with the kitchen facility and continuing on to the entry foyer, front dining room, boardroom, third floor residence, and bar. The AOPA graciously financed the renovations of the Club’s Boardroom, while several other members personally financed the other work. As the Club approaches its seventy-second anniversary, we sport a happy mixture of both flying and non flying members, many of whom has established a distinct fondness for both the uniqueness and history that surround the Philadelphia Aviation Country Club.
Five prominent Philadelphia aviators, members of the Philadelphia Aviation Country Club, working with aviation activist Joseph B. (Doc) Hartranft, Jr. Founded the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)