Welcome to the OX5 Aviation Pioneers
The OX5 Aviation Pioneers club was organized in June, 1955 in Latrobe, Pa for the purposes of honoring aviation pioneers associated with the OX5 Engine and ‘educating the public on matters of aeronautics’. We remain dedicated to the preservation of early aviation history and memorabilia with membership open to persons of like interests.
Our goal remains intact as we award scholarships, organize seminars, presentations and field-trips and youth summer camp education. Youth education is an important part of our mission. On the National level, we sponsor an annual Reunion/Board Meeting where we pay tribute and present awards to notable members and persons in the aviation field.
The reunions attract much attention as members travel from all parts of the country to gather and renew old acquaintances and relive the golden days of yore.
You do not have to be a pilot or mechanic to join our organization.
A HISTORY OF THE EARLY OX5 AVIATION PIONEERS
In June of 1955, Charlie Carroll, then operator of the Latrobe, Pennsylvania Airport appeared before the Aero Club of Pittsburgh. He approached Gaylord Ball, then Manager of Greater Pittsburgh Airport and President of the Aero Club of Pittsburgh and suggested they arrange a rally for OX5 pilots.
The purpose of the meeting was to round up aviation people, and to honor them for the part they played in laying the foundation of the aviation industry as we know it.
Cliff Ball agreed to spearhead the project, which was, at that time, not expected to be little more than local interest.
Charlie Carroll welcomed the opportunity to host the aviation pioneers and a meeting was arranged at Latrobe airport, with a luncheon, banquet and lodging made available at the Mission Inn.
Word of the rally began to spread. Realizing that there might be a need for a record of those who attended in case another get-together might be desired, Cliff Ball had some temporary forms run off in the office before he left for Latrobe.
Temporary officers were selected at Latrobe until a formal election could be held. Russ Brinkley was appointed President, Clifford Ball was appointed Secretly and Charlie Carroll was appointed Treasurer.
When the affair was over, 87 persons had signed the application form, and 20 more had signed the form and mailed them in, with a total of 107 to form the nucleus of the OX5 Club. At that time the OX5CIub of America came into existence and the parent club became the OX5 Club of Pennsylvania.
Word of the OX5 Club began to spread like wildfire. By the end of 1956, the total membership was 990. At the end of 1957 the membership was up to 4,249 (The largest growth year). Membership also spread to several foreign countries. To date we have enrolled over 12,000 members.
Wing charters were issued with the District of Columbia receiving Charter #1, Virginia, Charter #2, California, Charter #3 and Florida, Charter#4. By the end of 1957, twenty-two wings had been chartered.
On May 15, 1971, the OX5 Aviation Pioneers Hall of Fame was inaugurated. A long time dream of Johnny Evans of Pennsylvania, a founding member, the Hall of Fame was made an important part of the OX5 Aviation Pioneers by then president, Karl E. Voeilter of Florida. Since then, 335 distinguished aviation people who have contributed significantly to the progress, growth, or safety of aviation on a national scale, have been honored for their exploits. The Hall of Fame has attracted attention throughout the world and has contributed immeasurably to the prestige and prominence of the OX5 Aviation Pioneers.
In addition, the OX5 Aviation Pioneers conduct an Awards Program which also pays tribute to the outstanding contributions of its members.
In 2015 the organization instituted an educational scholarship award program for young persons entering the aviation field. Many thousands of dollars are awarded each year.
Each year a national reunion of OX5 Aviation Pioneers is hosted by one of the Wings in the organization. Members travel from all parts of the country to gather and renew old acquaintances.