Aviation Exploring logo, 80sAviation Exploring (1965-1998)
Aviation Exploring logo, 90s
Aviation Exploring, 70s logo

After 1965, the classic Air Exploring ended.  Overtime it would became Aviation Exploring, one of several career specialty areas of Exploring.  There has been a few interesting areas of the program that we will note here.

After 1965, Air Exploring moved away from being the classic pre-flight education program inspired by the Air Force.  Over the years, the focus was more on civilian air flight, with emphasis on careers in that area. In the 70s, Aviation Exploring became one of several National Explorer program areas.

National Events
There were at least four National Aviation Explorer Fly-ins held in 1979 (Air Force Academy), 1981 (Oshkosh, WI), 1983 (San Antonio, TX), and 1984 (Columbus, OH).   This event was designed to bring Aviation Explorers from around the country together.

After 1965, Aviation Exploring lost their distinct advancement program.  To replace it was a more general "Basic" and "Advanced Aeronautics" badges, similar in style and use to the Sea Exploring's Small Boat Handler and Qualified Seaman.  Basic required completing 4 hours of training, Advanced 8 hours.  It is not clear when these program ended.  There was literature produced giving course outlines, published by the US Governement Printing Office, but I have no other data on it.  I assume it ended by the late 60s, early 70s.

After the demise of Air Explorers, Aviation Explorers would follow Explorers with their uniform standards.  In 1986, a more distinct Aviation Explorer uniform was authorized.  Or more precisely, distinct insignia was created so that such a uniform could be created by Posts. This was detailed in a booklet called Aviation Exploring Uniform and Recognition Guidelines (#23-675), which I have yet to see. The two pilot patches were short lived, in part due to the fact that Explorers flying planes was not encouraged.  Can anyone confirm or deny that these insignia were made in the 90s with the "Big E on line" logo?

Aviation Explorer Wings, 1986-89, AE-47A
Aviation Exploring Insignia, 1986-91?
Flight Attendant, AE-48B Mechanic, AE-47C Ground Support, AE-47D
Airport Management, AE-47E Private Pilot, 1986-87, AE-47F Student Pilot, 1986-87, AE-47G

Aviation Exploring Insignia, 1992-98
Flight Attendant Mechanic
Ground Support Airport Management

Aviation Exploring Insignia, white error set, 1986
Flight Attendant, AE-46A Mechanic, AE-46B
Ground Support, AE-46C Airport Management, AE-46D

Very little literature was produced during this period.  There is the USGPO produced training outlines for the mid-1960s awards.  When the newer insignia was produced in the 1980s, there was the pamphlet Aviation Exploring Uniform & Recognition Guidelines (#23-675).  And in 1991, an Aviation Career Exploring Post Helps (#34626) was published.

Updated: 05/22/2001mrb