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HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN NAVION SOCIETY

The American Navion Society was founded in the fall of 1960 by the late S. Dan Brodie.  He enjoyed the Navion so much that he wished to bring the owners together in an organization where the members could participate in social events and share  maintenance and technical information.  The headquarters were first based in San Leandro, California, and in 1961 moved to Oakland, California.  Later regional Navion clubs were formed with support from the American Navion Society.  Prior to the foundation of the ANS, one regional club, Imperial Valley Navion Club had been up and running since 1955, so it was actually the first owner organized Navion group.  Through the years, the organization would move around several times for logistical and management purposes.

Dan was the first ANS President, published the first Navioneer newsletter, and wrote the technical articles.  Dan was affectionately referred to as "Big Daddy."  The first issue of the Navioneer is dated December 1960 and was a very informative two-page publication.  You may view it on another page of the HISTORY tab.  The lone classified ad in this issue was from two members looking for a Navion to buy in the $4500 range.  Multiply that by 10 times and you have today's market for an original small engine Navion.  The feature article in this first newsletter was the NAVION OF THE MONTH, owned by "Big Daddy" Dan Brody, which for its day was highly modified and heavily equipped.

In 1966, while visiting the Navion Rangemaster factory in Texas, Dan learned that it was for sale.  A group of ANS members pooled their resources and purchased the factory and moved it to Seguin, Texas.  It was during the ownership by the ANS that the Model "H" Rangemaster was introduced; with N2500T being the first IO-520-B powered Navion.  The Rangemasters produced at Seguin by the ANS were considered to have the highest quality workmanship of any of the Rangemasters.  "Built in Sequin" still means quality to a lot of long time Rangemaster owners. 

It was the involvement of the ANS with the Navion factory that led to approval of the IO-470-H and IO-520-B engines in the canopy Navion and such data being placed in the Type Certificate Data Sheet.  Present day owners can be eternally grateful to these pioneers for having the foresight to obtain these approvals, or we would have very difficult times with the FAA today on every engine conversion.

In 1972, the Navion factory was in financial difficulty again and was sold to Lou Bishop, who in turn sold it to Ced Kotowicz.  Ced moved the factory to Wharton, Texas, and produced about 7 or 8 model "H" Rangemasters in the mid-1970s before it was closed permanently.  Ced's widow is living in Arizona and still active in attending Navion fly-ins.

In 1965 Dan wrote, published, and distributed a booklet titled, "WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING A NAVION."  This was an effort to educate potential owners about the Navion maintenance requirements, modifications, performance, and weaknesses.  This booklet has been revised many times and lived through many printing runs.  It is still a valuable source of information. It was just recently revised in 2001.  In 1966, Dan proclaimed the second Saturday in June, "Navion Day" to be celebrated by running a National Proficiency Race at the Bakersfield, CA, fly-in and other chapter fly-ins across the country.  Dan wanted 1000 Navions in the air on that day.  The heritage of this event was upheld by the chapters up through the years until just in the last decade.

The Navioneer progressed in quality from the early issues and by the late 1960's was printed on slick paper with a two-color masthead.  It was very attractive indeed.  In 1968 Dan announced that he had run out of anything to write about and wished for someone else to assume command.  The torch was passed to Andy Cardona that year and the headquarters were moved to Torrance, California and later to Banning, California where it would remain for the longest period of its 40 year existence.  During the stay in Banning, the present corporation was formed in 1970 for the purpose of entering into the Navion parts business.  A full time parts manager and full time secretary have been employed almost continuously from that period forward.

The organization was kept on course by a board of directors, who for the most part lived within easy commuting distance of Banning to facilitate attendance at board meetings.  Andy remained as President of the ANS until 1987 when Raleigh Morrow assumed the helm.  Raleigh pursued a course that brought the election of directors from other areas of the United States, giving the organization more of a national flavor rather than that of a regional club.  In 1990 Raleigh turned the Presidency over to Frank Jenkins who was President until late 1990 when Raleigh again assumed command.

In late 1990 the administration and parts warehouse were moved from Banning to Lodi, California.  In 1993 Hugh Smith was elected President and served until 1996 when Jerry Feather was elected President.  In 1999 the administration and parts warehouse were moved from Lodi to Grand Junction, CO.  In January 2001 Jerry Feather resigned the Presidency and the Vice President, Gary Rankin, assumed the Presidency.  At that time the administration office was moved to Vancouver, Washington, with the parts warehouse and Parts Manager, Chuck Brown, remaining in Colorado. Under Gary's leadership, the American Navion Society has become a non-profit corporation with IRS 501C3 status.

The American Navion Society publishes a newsletter bi-monthly and is a major source of Navion parts, publications, and technical information.  It maintains a current membership of over 800 and from the inception in 1960, over 8500 Navion enthusiasts have passed through the ranks.  The membership numbers started with #150, except for #1 that was issued to Leo Childs, the manager of the Rangemaster factory.  Membership number 8576 has just been issued. 

An Annual Convention and Fly-in is held each summer in a different part of the United States.  A list of former Convention sites is listed below which shows the scope of area the ANS covers.  The Society has a table set up at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh every year in the Vintage Aircraft Type Club Tent.  This is a major source of information for new members or those interested in learning more about the Navion.

PRESENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS OF THE ANS

Gary Rankin, President
Camas, Washington

Jim Waldron, Vice-President
Fallston, Maryland

Ken Whittall-Scherfee, Secretary-Treasurer
Carmichael, California

Ron Judy
Gate, Oklahoma

Dick McSpadden
Royston, GA

Terri Polley
Upland, CA

Ron Natalie
Herndon, VA

Rusty Herrington
Portal, GA

John Yohey
Bloomsburg, PA

 

CONVENTION LOCATIONS FROM 1960 THROUGH 2014

 

1961 - Las Vegas, Nevada

1962 - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

1963 - Pueblo, Colorado

1964 - Land O'Lakes, Wisconsin

1965 - Coos Bay, Oregon

1966 - Boyne Mountain, Michigan

1967 - Pueblo, Colorado

1968 - Kentucky Dam, Kentucky

1969 - Boise, Idaho

1970 - Jekyll Island, Georgia

1971 - Carson City, Nevada

1972 - El Paso, Texas

1973 - Grand Rapids, Michigan

1974 - Sun River, Oregon

1975 - Grand Prairie, Texas

1976 - Concord, California

1977 - Warwick, Rhode Island

1978 - El Paso, Texas

1979 - West Yellowstone, Montana

1980 - Land O'Lakes, Wisconsin

1981 - Kalispell, Montana

1982 - Horseshoe Bend, Arkansas

1983 - Kansas City, Missouri

1984 - Apple Valley, California

1985 - River Ranch, Florida

1986 - Calgary, Alberta

1987 - El Paso, Texas

1988 - Santa Maria, California

1989 - Murfreesboro, Tennessee

1990 - Grand Junction, Colorado

1991 - Appleton, Wisconsin

1992 - Spokane, Washington

1993 - Visalia, California

1994 - Luddington, Michigan

1995 - Muskogee, Oklahoma

1996 - Concord, California

1997 - Grand Junction, Colorado

1998 - St. Joseph, Missouri

1999 - Cody, Wyoming

2000 - Santa Maria, California

2001 - St. Simon, Georgia

2002 - Spearfish, South Dakota

2003 - Caldwell, Idaho

2004 - Glens Falls (Lake George), New York

2005 - N. Platte, Nebraska

2006 - Sedona, Arizona

2007 - Southport, North Carolina

2008 - Dayton, Ohio

2009 - Cedar City, Utah

2010 - Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

2011 - Cody, Wyoming

2012 - Bardstown, Kentucky

2013 - Paso Robles, California

2014 - Natchez, Mississippi

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