J. B. Hartranft
March 28, 1966
J. B. Hartranft, Jr.
President, 100,000 member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Member, NICAP Board of Governors
Hartranft statement at conference
As President of the influential AOPA, with a nationwide membership of 100,000 in 1966, J. B. Hartranft was recognized as a leading expert on private aviation. He was also familiar with military aviation problems, having served as a lieutenant-colonel in the Army Air Corps (later Air Force) during World War II. Hartranft was a pilot for more than twenty years (at the time he joined NICAP, July 1957), starting his flying career while still in high school, in New York. His first lessons were taken at Roosevelt Field, L. I., where his instructor was a former member of Baron von Richthofen's "Flying Circus, " famed German squadron of World War I. Mr. Hartranft graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. While at college, he organized and was president of both the University Flying Club and the National Intercollegiate Flying Club.
In 1939 he organized the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, at a time when private flyers were the stepchild of the aviation industry. Fighting against heavy resistance, he and then small AOPA staff gradually forced recognition of private pilots' rights at airports, along the airways and the CAA, where for a time private flyers had almost been regulated out of existence. While acting as General manager of AOPA, Hartranft founded the U.S. Air Guard, forerunner of the Civil Air Patrol. During the war, one of his assignments was as a member of the Interdepartmental Traffic Control Board. At the war's end he returned to AOPA, and in the past ten years he and his associates have built the Association into the largest and most powerful private flying organization in the world.
In 1957. Hartranft was a member of the Aviation Development Advisory Committee, the Airport Use Panel advisory Committee, the Executive and Steering Committee of the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics, the National Aviaiton Noise Reduction Committee, the Cornell-Guggenheim Private Flying Committee and the General Aviation Facilities Planning Group. During the last ten years prior, as Hartranft has told NICAP, a number of AOPA pilots have reported sightings of UFO's, and the Association has built up a comprehensive file of saucer reports. With the permission of the AOPA members involved, AOPA were to send these and future reports to NICAP for evaluation, with the understanding that no AOPA member will be quoted or named without specific authorization.
Statement By J. B. Hartranft
The great and intriguing mystery of our time is UFO's. I am happy to add my name to this able effort to separate truth from fable and fact from fiction, without bias, without fear-- and without censorship.
Due to the uproar over the claim of marsh gas by Dr. J. Allen Hynek, consultant to the USAF Project Blue Book, the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) held a press conference at the Commodore Hotel in Washington, D.C.. Presenters were Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe, Director; Richard Hall, Assistant Director; and Joseph B. Hartranft, Jr., Director of the 100,000-member Aircraft & Pilot Owners Association and Board of Governors.CAP), hold a press conference at the Commodore Hotel in Washington, DC to bring public awareness of the incompetence shown by the USAF regarding UFOs and their investigation. (46 mins)