The Association was formed by a group of Early Naval Aviators who were guests of the United States Navy on a cruise aboard USS Forrestal, (CVA-59), September 16-18, 1956.
The membership includes pioneers in Naval Aviation. Their designations as Naval Aviators, for the most part, were within the first 1900 who qualified for their wings. The membership was later expanded to include Pioneer Helicopter Pilots, Pioneer Jet Pilots, and aviators who qualified for carrier landings during the period when the Langley was the only airplane carrier. The membership also includes a limited number of Naval Aviators who, during their tour of duty were pioneers in the development of new concepts, received special citation for unusual, outstanding performance, and who otherwise warrant special consideration.
Realizing in 1977 that new classes or groups of pioneers should not be identified, as such, the membership decided that the future of the organization depended on the solicitation of individual, exceptionally qualified aviators to fill the ranks.