The Aéro-Club de France was founded as the Aéro-Club on 20 October 1898, as a society 'to encourage aerial locomotion' by Ernest Archdeacon, Léon Serpollet, Henri de la Valette, Jules Verne and his wife, André Michelin, Albert de Dion, Alberto Santos-Dumont, Henry Deutsch de la Meurthe, and Henry de La Vaulx. On 20 April 1909 its name was changed to Aéro-Club de France. It was a founder member of the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI) in 1905.
The Aéro-Club de France originally set many of the regulations that controlled aviation in France. From its formation it also set the rules that have marked some of the 'firsts' in aviation: the first 1 km, the first helicopter flight, and has organised competitions, including:
the Prix Deutsch de la Meurthe, a challenge for Derigibles from 1901,
the Gordon Bennett Cup for fixed-wing aircraft in 1906.
The club published the journal L'Aérophile from 1898 to 1947, and since 1997 publishes the magazine Aérofrance. After 1945 some of its early regulatory roles were taken by other bodies. It now focusses on the promotion of aviation and certification. Attended by delegates from all over the world, the two-day FAI Annual General Conference closed with the official celebration of the FAI Centenary on Friday 14 October, exactly 100 years after the foundation of FAI. Some of greatest living aviators attended this "High Flyers’ Night" at the Senate (Palais de Luxembourg), personalities like Buzz Aldrin, Steve Fossett, Bertrand Piccard, Catherine Maunoury, Svetlana Kapanina and Valery Poliakoff. On the occasion of the FAI Centenary, the President of the Aero-Club de France, Jean-François Georges, wished to "pay tribute to the great achievers" in each air sport discipline. FAI President Pierre Portmann, elected in 2004 and a long standing French resident, is very pleased to be celebrating the FAI Centenary in Paris: "The history of FAI consists mainly of colourful and independent characters who pushed forward the limits of what can be done in the air. It’s a great privilege for us to be the heirs of these exceptional men and women who marked the history of FAI. The "dream of Icarus" is still alive, and our job is to perpetuate this dream into the future".
The six cards displayed show the evolution of aircraft from the humble “Demoiselle de Santos Dumont” 1908 to the menacing fighter aircraft “Rafale” 1998. These cards were given to me by Maria.