The Aero Club of Pennsylvania celebrated its 100-year anniversary at a gala reception at the Desmond Hotel outside of Philadelphia Dec. 15. AOPA President Craig Fuller joined the more than 150 guests marking the event—and delighted in joining in the salute to 1909. In addition to “guests” such as Benjamin Franklin, Amelia Earhart, and Arthur Atherholt (the first president of the Aero Club of Pennsylvania), Fuller tried his hand at piloting the Wright Flyer simulator by Ken Hyde.
A “crash” after the first couple of seconds in the “air” galvanized Fuller and he spent the next half hour perfecting his skills, succeeding in keeping the Flyer airborne for a record-setting number of minutes.
The anniversary was a celebration of flight from the Wright Flyer experience to exhibits featuring local aviation history. The Aero Club of Pennsylvania was organized in December 1909 and chartered on May 13, 1910, and is the oldest continuously operating aviation club in the United States. The notable members of the original club were among the most influential individuals in aviation of the time, including Harold F. Pitcairn, Rodman Wannamaker, and Alfred L. “Abby” Wolfe.
Nancy Kyle, president of the Aero Club introduced Fuller who presented the club with a framed certificate honoring the club’s 100th anniversary.
Featured speaker was Connie Tobias, US Airways captain and veteran pilot of several Wright Flyer actual flights.