J. B. Hartranft, Jr.
President, 65,000 member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and 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, one of the original NICAP Board of Governors), starting his flying career while still in high school, in New York. 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 later he and his associates built the Association into the largest and most powerful private flying organization in the world.