AOPA charter members (left to right) David Beltz, Billy Bailey, Henry Sollman and Spencer Kellog pose with Phil Boyer and a couple other famous aviators.
AOPA chose to hold this year's Expo in Philadelphia this year to honor the association's roots, even as all of aviation honors the centennial of powered flight. At the opening luncheon, AOPA President Phil Boyer honored all of AOPA's surviving charter members, four of whom were in attendance—Billy Bailey, member 1084; Henry Sollman, member 1188; Spencer Kellog, member 1196; and David Beltz, member 3576.
Bailey and Kellog had each just soloed when they read about a brand-new association in what was then known as Flying magazine and decided to send their $5 in to join (that $5 membership in 1939 would cost $66.62 in 2003 dollars—nearly twice the current annual dues—if dues increases equaled inflation). Sollman and Beltz said they each learned about the association in a mailing from AOPA. "Only one mailing?" joked Boyer.
All four praised AOPA for its 64 years of general aviation advocacy. "GA enjoys the benefits it does because of AOPA," said Bailey.