Blackhawk Flying Club was founded on August 12, 1953 by ten employees from the Sundstrand Machine Tool Company in Rockford, Illinois. The club’s first plane was an Aeronca Chief, purchased for $400 and rented for $2.50 per hour. Members flew out of Franklyn Field (near Cherry Valley) and Machesney, and then moved to Rockford Airport. The purpose of the club, according to its articles of incorporation, is to foster interest in aviation, provide economic flying, transportation and training, and advance the knowledge of the members in aviation and navigation subjects. Blackhawk Flying Club provided the means to bring pilots together for sharing costs, responsibilities and experiences.