Our organization was originally incorporated in Ohio on February 19, 1942, as Wingfoot Fliers, Inc. by Russell DeYoung, Hugh L.Robinson, and A. L. McGlumphy. The group was a subsidiary of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. It was established to provide employees of Goodyear with an opportunity to fly. Goodyear management staff used the aircraft for business travel until the late 1980’s.
At the time that Wingfoot Fliers was established, Goodyear was producing FG Corsair fighter aircraft for use by the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marines, and the Royal British Navy in World War II. It was believed that it would be beneficial for Goodyear employees to have an opportunity to fly airplanes in addition to manufacturing them.
Corsairs of the Royal British Navy during WW II
After the end of World War II Goodyear continued to be actively involved in manufacturing aviation products through its subsidiary Goodyear Aerospace Corporation. Goodyear Aerospace developed and manufactured advanced synthetic aperture radar, aircraft and missile guidance systems, aircraft braking systems, and other aviation products. Goodyear also continued to produce "Goodyear blimps" which are well recognized throughout the world. In the 1947 to 1959 time period, members of Goodyear's Wingfoot Fliers Club logged cumulative totals of between 662 and 1766 hours per year. During this period Wingfoot Fliers first integrated a Beech Bonanza into club operations to supplement its Stinson, Aeronca, and Cessna 140. In 1959 the Club had 68 active members.
During the 1970 until about 1983 the Club kept its aircraft at Goodyear's hanger at the Akron Canton Airport. In 1976 the Club owned the Beechcraft Bonanza, the Beechcraft Debonair, and the two Cessna 172 Skyhawks.
Goodyear GA-2B Duck Amphibious Flying-Boat (circa 1955)
The Goodyear Hangar at the Akron Canton Airport (circa 1976)
In an article regarding the Club which was published by the Wingfoot Clan the hourly flying cost for employees to fly a Cessna Skyhawk was reported to be $25.50 per hour (wet).
In 1983, Wingfoot fliers moved its aircraft into Plant E of Goodyear Aerospace Corporation where Corsairs were manufactured during World War II. This move put the Clubs airplanes in close proximity to where most members worked at Goodyear Aerospace or Goodyear's corporate headquarters. At the time of the move the cost for employees to fly a Cessna 172 was $29.00 per hour (wet) and the charge to fly the Beech Bonanza was $49.00 per hour (wet).
In 1987, Goodyear sold its Aerospace subsidiary to Loral Corporation as a result of the massive restructuring which was necessary after a hostile take-over attempt by the Hanson Trust lead by Sir. James Goldsmith. At the time a significant number of the members of the Wingfoot Fliers Club were employees of Goodyear Aerospace Corporation while many others had been employees of the parent company. Another complicating factor was that the hanger where Corsairs were built during World War II and where Wingfoot Fliers kept its airplanes had been sold to Loral Corporation as a part of the Aerospace subsidiary. On May 6, 1987, Wingfoot Fliers was made independent of Goodyear and its name was changed to Aero Fliers, Inc. At that time all of its members were employees of Goodyear, Loral, and Motor Wheel Corporation (another subsidiary which was divested by Goodyear as a result of the hostile take-over attempt). After leaving the Loral hangar, Aero Fliers built a new T-hangar on the other side of the airport where its airplanes are still kept today. Aero Fliers rents six T-hangar units to third parties and occupies three T-hangar units with its own airplanes.