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Where the Fun Begins
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Aero Club of Louisville
The Aero Club is one of the best-kept secrets in Louisville. It’s everybody’s favorite place to get away from it all. It is an aviation themed private club for those who fly, or have ever wanted to fly. It is a place where members, their family and friends come to have fun. It is a pleasant environment, with many year round activities. It is an inexpensive social club for entertaining members and their guest.
The Aero Club sits on a small portion of Bowman field, which is one of the nations oldest general aviation airports. The airport is located in the center of Louisville a fabulous city in the great Commonwealth of Kentucky. The location is convenient to all, and enjoyed 7 day a week by the current membership of approximately 350. Whether you fly in, or drive over, expect a good time when you get there. It's our part of Louisville, and we love it.
Much of the early history of aviation in Louisville and indeed the state is a result if the Aero Club of Louisville. The club's founding fathers included pilots returning from World War 1 who found that there was no place to continue their passion for flying, and businessmen who saw the potential of aviation beyond military applications. Aviators and observes of the World War formed the Aero Club of Kentucky yesterday to use Bowman Field, recently accepted by the War Department, as a flying field for reserve officers in the Air Services. Louisville Courier-Journal, October 26, 1922. A.H. Bowman, Sidney Park, and Louisville Mayor Huston Quinn were among the 18 men who founded the Aero Club.
In 1922 a Louisville delegation including Mayor Huston Quinn, Abram Bowman and others approached the Army about establishing a base at Bowman Field. The Mayor had gone to Washington to ask President Warren Harding to put Louisville on the “Army Airways. The Army agreed and formed an Air Corps Reserve until the 465th Pursuit Squadron.
In 1923 the Aero Club was given an allotment of funds by Jefferson County and the city of Louisville to rent and maintain an airport at this site. The number of club members started growing immediately and some of them also joined the Pursuit Squadron. Thirty members of the club spent a weekend at Camp Knox (now better known as Fort Knox) dismantling and old Army hanger, which they brought back to Bowman Field and erected as the quarters of the Reserve Air Corps SquadronThe Aero Club ran Bowman Field for the first six years of its existence. The members took care of maintenance, building, and anything that arose.
In 1923 they put on the first air show in Louisville with an attendance estimated by the Courier-Journal at 12,000. By 1928 it was clear that Bowman field was outgrowing its volunteer status, and that the members of the Aero Club could no longer keep it maintained and manned as it needed to be.
The state Legislature created the Louisville and Jefferson County Air Board and entire Von Zedwitz estate. Part of the estate is now Bowman Field and Seneca Park.
The first chairman of the new Air Board was Aero Club member Addison Lee. He and five others were appointed to the bipartisan board in October, 1928. Bowman Field is touted as the longest continuously operating, general aviation airport in the United States.
...and of the living, none not one, who truly loves the sky, would trade a hundred earthbound hours for that one that they could fly.