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, Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe, and Henry de La Vaulx. On 20 April 1909, its name was changed to Aéro-Club de France.
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, such as the first closed-circuit flight of over 1 km and the first helicopter flight, and has organised competitions including:
- the Prix Deutsch de la Meurthe, a challenge for dirigibles from 1901
- the Gordon Bennett Cup for fixed-wing aircraft in 1909
The club published the journal L’Aérophile from 1898 to 1947, and since 1997 publishes the magazine Aérofrance.
The Aéro-Club de France was a founding member of the International Aeronautical Federation (FAI) in 1905, a joint effort with other national associations.