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The Aerospace Industries Association represents the nation's leading manufacturers and suppliers of civil, military, and business aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial systems, space systems, aircraft engines, missiles, materiel, and related components, equipment, services, and information technology.
The Association, originally known as the Aeronautical Chamber of Commerce (ACCA), was founded in 1919 with a charter membership of 100 "to foster, advance, promulgate and promote: aeronautics, and "generally, to do every act and thing which may be necessary and proper for the advancement" of American aviation. Early members included such aviation pioneers as Orville Wright and Glen H. Curtiss, as well as representatives of major aircraft manufacturing units in the United States.
The ACCA's predecessor, the Aircraft Manufacturers' Association formed in 1917, was originally devoted to technical issues, public education, and business problems facing the industry. After entering World War I, the U.S. immediately realized the important role of aircraft in warfare. The Aircraft Manufacturers' Association was enlisted to address specific problems associated with war-time production. The association drew up a cross-licensing agreement to allow manufacturers to have unrestrained use of airplane patents in order to produce airplanes for the government's war effort. The organization, later named the Manufacturers' Aircraft Association (MAA), continued to unify the air industry and engage in public education endeavors. The MAA was later dissolved, and in 1919, the newly formed ACCA stepped in to promote civil aviation.
During World War II, the ACCA carried on limited functions for the industry while manufacturers focused on the war effort through East and West Coast Aircraft War Production Councils. These councils coordinated industry support with the War Planning Board and the military services. Following the war, ACCA was reorganized to concentrate on the industry's trade and commercial interests, and it became, for the first time, a trade association. Its name was appropriately changed to, "Aircraft Industries Association of America, Inc." (AIA).
In 1959, the Aircraft Industries Association officially changed its name to "Aerospace Industries Association, Inc." to recognize an evolving industry that was now embracing the new frontier of space.
In November 2007, Marion C. Blakey became the eighth full-time executive of AIA when she was named as President and Chief Executive Officer. Ms. Blakey succeeds John W. Douglass, who served the association from 1998-2007. Formerly the administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration, Ms. Blakey represents the interests of AIA and its member companies through speaking engagements worldwide, congressional testimony and regular interface with the media.