Pottstown Aircraft Owners & Pilots was established in 1948 not long after the national organization known as AOPA, Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association. PAOP was incorporated in 1960 and in 2021 became a recognized 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
The purposes of the PAOP are:
There were a number of local aviation enthusiasts who hung around the Limerick airport on weekends, consulting each other on places to which they could fly. During the winter of 1947-48 Vernon D. Shaffer called them together for several meetings in the old YMCA building on King Street, Pottstown.
This resulted in the organization of the Pottstown Aircraft Owners & Pilots on February 26, 1948, with Vernon Shaffer as the first president. Other charter members were Dr. Elmer S. Friedberg, William J, McFarland, Paul Mitchell, Wayne W. Reifsnyder, Alvin E. Renninger, and Joseph Toth. The club has held dinner meetings every month since then, with aviation as the program topic.
Breakfast flights sponsored by the club were inaugurated on April 11, 1949, when 16 airplanes and 33 persons flew to Allentown and had lunch in the old pilot club building on the airport grounds. The club has continued these flights every month when the weather allows, taking off from the Limerick airport and flying in a 300-mile radius of Limerick to visit places of interest. Members have flown more than 13,153 hours to date with no mishaps.
First steps toward incorporating the club were taken at a meeting on September 24, 1959 at the Flyer's Roost with J. B. Hartranft, president of national Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association from Washington, D.C. present. Hartranft stressed the advisability of incorporation and agreed that the national association would pay the necessary sum of $402.27 for this procedure. C. Edmund "Bud" Wells of Pottstown handled the legal work and the club voted to incorporate as the Pottstown Aircraft Owners & Pilots Inc. in the Flyer's Roost on October 29, 1959. Officers present were Dr. Grant Rohrbach, Arthur Turner, Bert Wells, and Gabby Renninger. That evening Hartranft was guest speaker at a dinner in Lakeside Inn. It became official on January 15, 1960 at Montgomery County Court House.
Presidents after Vernon Shaffer were: Bert Wells, 1949; James J. Moore, 1950; William J. Weiss, 1951; Barton Whitman, 1952; Alvin E. "Gabby" Renninger, 1953; Frederick K. Riegner, 1954; Vernon D. Shaffer, 1955; Paul Mitchell, 1956; Dr. Grant J. Rohrbach, 1957; James L. Maxfield, and taking the honors for longevity, Alvin E. "Gabby" Renninger, serving again from 1959 to his " retirement" in 1991.
The club is proud of awards it has received including:
1. First place the Flying Clubs International National Flying Club Award Competition, Category E, for excellence in management, flight operations and safety, and for service to its members, June 30, 1965.
2. Achievement Award from Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration, New York Area Flying Safety Certificate of Merit, awarded October 26, 1967 to PAOP in recognition of years of flying without an aircraft ac