Golf Club…No Aviation Country Club

SIn 1929 some very wealthy men formed a corporation to jump on the aviation craze that spread across the country. There were golf clubs already so they thought why not clubs for people who owned airplanes. Names like Lindbergh, Rockefeller, and Vanderbilt were some of the well know men that belonged to these clubs. The first club was started in Hicksville, Long Island, New York. The plan was to have a club in every major city. Club members had the right to use the facility for any club in the circuit. The main clubs would be built in 1929 were Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. The initiation fee was $250 and $150 for dues. Each club had a flying instructor like a golf pro on a golf club. In fact, Lindbergh taught his bride, Ann Murrow, to fly at the Long Island club. Hicksville was the only club that had a clubhouse, tennis courts, and swimming pool. At the clubs airplane manufactures showcased their newest models. The clubs didn’t allow stunting or death-defying acts. Also no sales pitches were allowed. This was THE place to fly. There was room for twenty-five private civil aircraft. The ramps were paved concrete and a grass landing fields. The clubs had large beacons for night flying. Fame, connections and money determined membership. You had to be a pilot but you needed more than that to be a member. Your club affiliations were important as were the potential members education and connections. Not just anyone could be a member. The Hicksville opening was attended by 5,000 people. It was the event of the year. Everyone wanted to see the celebrities and the powerful planes.the police even wanted to see the festivities. The clubs never opened in all of the cities that were envisioned due to the depression. But some clubs didn’t last.  The ownership proud that in a twenty year period their were no accidents. Now comes the intrigue involving Vicky. In her paraphernalia I have a card that says Palwaukee Aviation Country Club. I found out from  my research there’s no aviation Country Club at Palwaukee. The club was at another long gone airport, called Sky Harbor. When Vicky was married to Ward she had the money and the connections to belong to the club but Ward walked out of Vicky life in 1925. On her own I don’t think that Vicky could have become a member. So I don’t know this detail of Vickys life. Today there are no Aviation Country Clubs but wealthy people live on an “Air Parks. These are areas were people have hangers with planes in them  instead of cars. There are about fifteen in Illinois. John Travolta lives s on one in Florida. So the wealthy still have places to hang out.


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