The Reading Aero Club is one of the oldest continuously active flying club
in the United States. Though by no means the largest of its kind,
the organization has maintained a unique status as a non-profit
corporation in which all members hold equal shares and are eligible
to participate in the running of the club. Over the years
(we celebrated our 75th year in 2007) the basic purpose of the
club has remained the same
... to encourage aviation in general;
... to acquire, preserve and disseminate valuable information and
knowledge through books, lectures, pamphlets on the subject of
... to acquire, own and maintain aircraft, hangars, club house and
personal property for the use of the club members;
... and to promote the safe use thereof in the interests of the
of public and private property.
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In 1929, a group of fourteen men with a common interest in flying each
contributed an equal amount to a fund for the purchase of two airplanes – Curtis Wright Juniors.
After three years of informal operation, the group decided to incorporate into a more formal organization;
in March 1932, the first meeting of the Reading Aero Club was held. The first meeting took place in a field
shed at Whander Field, just south of present-day Leesport, and the first order of business was to elect a president,
vice-president, secretary, and treasurer. Accepting the nominations for these positions were:
The group of twelve members quickly grew too large for the meeting headquarters and in 1935
they relocated to Madeira field, opposite the Reading Fairgrounds. Another airplane was purchased – a Travelair biplane –
and the club began to consider building their own hanger to reduce rental costs. Soon, the Travelair was traded for an Aeronca,
membership grew to about 50 members, and the club outgrew their Madeira field location.
President - George B. Fisher
Vice-President - Carl A. Reber
Secetary - Samuel Celone
Treasurer - George Bennett
A committee was appointed to develop a set of bylaws, provide membership
cards, and to design a club emblem. Among other topics at the first meeting were the admission of associate members,
and the eventual organization of a girls’ group in the club.
In 1937, the Aero Club found suitable land to lease about a mile north of the present Reading Municipal Airport,
and by spring 1938, the members had begun construction of a 2400 foot airstrip and seven hangars. It was officially named Berks Airport.
The official dedication of Reading Municipal Airport, about one mile from Berks Airport was on
October 7 and 8, 1939. In spite of the close proximity to each other and the advent of World War II, Berks Airport remained operational.
Club membership declined due to the enlistment of many active members but a core group of men continued meetings throughout the wartime
period. In 1943, an all-girl flying club based at Madeira field, called the “Flying Ten Club”, began negotiating with the officers of
the Reading Aero Club for group membership.
After the war, the club quickly regained its membership and by 1946 had 100 members ranging in age from
16 to 60 years old and seven airplanes housed in two hangars. In 1965, the club began occupying space at Reading Municipal Airport
and leasing a meeting room from Reading Aviation Service, Inc. Located at the west ramp of the field and adjacent to where the club
keeps its airplanes, this meeting room is still the location of the Reading Aero Club.
In 1980, an extensive renovation project in the
clubhouse included insulation, dry wall and paneling – a project completed entirely by the membership.
from The Reading Aero Club: 50 Years of Aviation in Berks County, publ. 1982
The Reading Aero Club - After 40
Article from the booklet titled "The Reading Aero Club 1932-1972"
From the Historical Society of Berks County's web site
Reading Aero Club "The First Fifty Years"
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