Display Status This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Pilot's licenses became a requirement in the United States after the 1926 Air Commerce Act, however, private organizations issued their own licenses prior to this date. Prominent international organizations, such as the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI), issued licenses to aviators around the world. The FAI was founded in 1905 through the collaboration of aviation clubs from eight countries, those being France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Great Britain, Spain, Switzerland, and the United States. These licenses often served to allow individuals to participate in aeronautic events endorsed by these organizations. Licenses were available for different vehicles with licenses available across various disciplines, with examples being separate documents for balloonists and heavier-than-air pilots. Military organizations often had their own licenses with their own standards. Including examples of licenses issued by various international organizations, the collection provides insight into the types of license that were issued to military and civilian pilots during the first half of the twentieth century.



Processing Information

Arranged, described, and encoded by Isaac Middleton (Intern 2019), 2019.




Gifts and transfers from various sources and unknown, NASM.XXXX.0650.


0.33 Cubic feet (1 box)


This collection contains examples of pilot's licenses that were issued in the early 20th century. It includes licenses from various nations such as France, Italy, Canada and the United States.


No restrictions on access.


Collection descriptions

Archival materials


Identity cards

Arrangement note

This collection is arranged by alphabetical order by last name of the licensee.

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of a variety of pilot's licenses issued by civilian, government and military organizations dating from 1911 to 1944. The collection contains 52 items, and includes a variety of license types and personal effects relating to each pilot. Licenses issued by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) form a large portion of the non-military parts of the collection, with four of the FAI's founding organizations being featured in the collection. These are Aero Club D'Italia, the Aero Club of America, the Aéro-Club de France and the Royal Aero Club. The US Navy and Air Corps form the majority of military licenses in the collection, with licenses issued by the US Department of Commerce representing civil licenses issued by the Government. Included with many licenses in the collection are other forms of personnel identification attributed to the individual. Examples of these personal effects include a firearms license, an Aviation country club membership card, a business cards and a London-issued driver's license. Included in this collection are licenses belonging to Raymond Emmanuel Bollack, Laura Bromwell, John Milton Bryant, Frank T. Coffyn, Curtis La Q. Day, Richard Duncan, Lester D. Gardner, G. S. Gillespie, Paul R. Gruhler, Beckwith Havens, Frederick A. Hoover, George M. Keightley, Benjamin Scovill Kelsey, Alfred S. Koch, Lawrence Leon, Grover Loening, Zenos Ramsey Miller, Thomas DeWitt Milling, Charles L. Morris, Thea Rasche, Roland Rohlfs, D. deR. M. Scarrit, Walter J. Shaffer, Thomas E. Springer, Norman Sweetser, Alexander Blair Thaw II, Ralph H. Upson, Clifford L. Webster and E. A. Yeager. A blank license attributed to the Service de la Navigation Aérienne is also included.


Identity cards


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Aero Club of America

National Aeronautic Association (U.S.)

Coffyn, Frank, 1878-1960

Havens, Beckwith.

Keightley, George M., 1889-1967

Upson, Ralph Hazlett, 1888-1968

Topics Air pilots
Women air pilots


Pilots' Licenses Collection, NASM.XXXX.0650, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution.

Archival Repository

National Air and Space Museum Archives

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