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Freedom to Fly

AOPA and the History of General Aviation in America

In 1939, a small group of Philadelphia businessmen came together with a mission: to give a united voice to what was then called “miscellaneous aviation.” The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association was born.

Packed with photographs of pilots’ most beloved aircraft and inspiring stories of aviation pioneers, Freedom to Fly: AOPA and the History of General Aviation in America tells the story of general aviation through the lens of its biggest advocate. Learn about the triumphs and tragedies that defined generations of pilots from the editors who bring you AOPA Pilot and Flight Training each month.

For 80 years, AOPA has fought to keep pilots flying when war, technological advances, economic booms and busts, and politics threatened our access to the skies. Today, as the largest aviation community in the world, AOPA still works to make flying more affordable, safer, and more fun. Travel back in time through 288 glossy pages, full of the amazing photos you’ve come to expect from AOPA photographers and historic images from our rich archives.

This special commemorative edition is issued for AOPA’s eightieth anniversary.