Our 42nd Anniversary

Welcome to Our 42nd Convention Celebration!

Here are some of the details we have gleaned from the Airliners International Archives.  If you would like to add a special memory, please e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  We also welcome corrections/additions to the information shown here.

 1977 - Cincinnati, Ohio, Americana Inn

The inaugural convention, hosted by founders Paul and Pat Collins, featured three days of trading,a slide show, movies from the New York sales offices of various carriers, a trip to the Air Force museum, rides on an ex-Air New England DC-3, model contest, and "tons of postcards and schedules."  The Saturday night banquet featured "Jet" Williams of the Jet Away Travel Club and two free tickets to Mexico on the club's Convair 880.  At the Saturday business meeting, it was voted to hold the convention annually.  Host cities nominated for 1978 included Chicago, Dallas, San Mateo, California, and Toronto, Canada.  Paul also announced that the ex-Air New England DC-3 had been chartered to take 24 people from Cincinnati to Toronto for the 1978 convention, with 7 seats already sold!

1978 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Skyline Hotel

Continuing the momentum of the previous year's show was the focus at Toronto. The exhibit hall was opened at 0900 Friday and closed at 1300 Sunday for an "informal pool party."  Slides and movie presentations, including some that hadn't been shown the previous year, were presented all three days during the display hall hours.  Model and photo contest winners were announced at the Saturday banquet, with guest speaker Dave McAree, OPS manager at Toronto International Airport.

1979 - Dallas, Texas, Quality Inn Cibola

This year's convention featured free tours of the American Airlines Flight Academy and Learning Center plus photo tours of DFW featuring Air France and British Airways Concordes used in the Braniff interchange, Braniff 747s, and others.  Hotel rates were $$28/$35 single/double, display tables cost $7 for the first one and $2 for additional space.  The display hall was open Saturday from 0800 until the banquet (George Hof, AA Director of Flying OPS, speaker) and then from 2200 to midnight, before opening again Sunday at 0800.  We have no booklet from this show -- only a newsletter announcing the events.

1980 - Detroit, Michigan, Airport Ramada

The Fourth Annual Convention, hosted by the Motor City Airline Club, celebrated Detroit Metropolitan Airport's 50th anniversary.  Ron Davies was welcomed as the banquet speaker.  The display hall opened Friday morning and closed for the last time at noon on Sunday.  Friday night included a 2130 pool party and a "t-shirt contest" at the pool!

1981 - Miami, Florida, Diplomat Hotel

The Southern Florida Airline Historical Association hosted the 5th annual convention.  The exhibit hall was open all day Friday and for two hours after the Saturday night banquet (Richard "Dick" Kruse, Retired Captain, Pan American World Airways, speaker).  Sunday featured Chalk's Seaplane rides and a tour of the Pan Am International Flight Academy.  Complimentary gold and tennis were offered as well.  Friday featured a "Get-Together for female delegates."

1982- Newport Beach, California, Sheraton Newport Beach

"Airliners International has grown larger and is now almost reaching the point where professional organization will soon be required," proclaimed the Southern California Airline Enthusiasts, hosts of the convention.  The convention included Friday and Saturday display area.  A special sandwich bar located in the Convention Lobby was heralded.  Tours were available to the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 Super 80 production line.  Republic Airlines was thanked for "its generous contribution of the convention's grand prize."  The convention also featured an unplanned earthquake that sent hotel guests fleeing  into the parking lot in all forms of undress since it was an overnight event.

1983- Alexandria, Virginia, Stouffer's National Center Hotel

 A walk-through tour of the Concorde was a Friday feature of the 1983 convention.  The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in downtown Washington, DC, and its restoration facility in Silver Hill, Maryland were prominent tour locations.  A Henson Airlines Dash 7 flight lasting 30 minutes was offered for just $15.  The Washington Airline Society, host, also noted that streamlining the convention was necessary due to the crowds that were showing up each year.  Banquet speakers included: Capt. William "Bill" Masland, a veteran Pan Am pilot who flew almost every Pan Am airliner from the Commodore to 707s; and Capt. Anthony "Tony" Meadows who captained the inaugural British Airways  New York-London and London-Singapore Concorde flights before becoming manager of BA's Concorde flight training.

 1984 - St. Louis, Missouri, Airport Marriott

The 1984 convention, hosted by the St. Louis Airline Enthusiasts, was dedicated to the memory of Willard Thomas, a St. Louis airline enthusiast who helped launch the convention.  Author Bob Serling, former United Press International aviation news editor, headlined the Saturday night banquet.

1985 - San Jose, California, Red Lion San Jose Airport

Though billed as a San Francisco event, the 1985 convention was held down the peninsula in San Jose.  Display hall hours continued their Friday-Saturday trend.  But gone were the late night hours of some previous years.  Jon Proctor, aviation historian, former TWA flight attendant, and author was the banquet speaker due to a late cancellation by Dan McKinnon, former and final chairman of the CAB before its closing in December 1984.  A tour to NASA Ames Research Center at Moffet Field, California, was offered.

1986 - Hartford, Connecticut, Parkview Hilton Hotel

The 10th Anniversary convention moved east.  Photo, model, and display contests, inaugurated at the first Airliners International Convention had become part of the standard fare.  Tours included Pratt and Whitney's manufacturing facility and the New England Air Museum.  The convention booklet included a special tribute to Paul Collins for founding the World Airline Historical Society, as it was now called.

1987 - Indianapolis, Indiana, Adam's Mark Hotel

Indy Airline Enthusiasts welcomed guests to the beginning of a new decade of conventions.  And with it came some non-airline tours including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the historic Union Station.  For diehard aviation enthusiasts, however, Indianapolis International Airport terminal and ramp tours were offered.  Here's a trivia contest from the banquet: "Air France's last scheduled service using a Caravelle was to Paris from what city? A. Helsinki, B. Geneva, C. Amsterdam, D. Zurich, or E. Copenhagen."

1988 - Denver, Colorado, Clarion Airport Hotel

The Mile High City brought aviation enthusiasts to Stapleton International Airport and tours took registrants to United Airlines' training center and the newly remodeled Concourse B and other station facilities.  Aspen Airways maintenance facility, the Lowry Air Force Base Museum, and Jeppesen Sanderson (the world's largest suppplier of aviation maps and navigational charts) were also on the tour schedule.  A half-hour north of Denver at the tiny Erie Airpark/Tri Count Airport was the Convair Restaurant, a 990 version that flew for American Airlines and Denver's Port of Call Travel Club.  Banquet speaker,Capt. Clay Lacy, guided a United Airlines 747-SP named Friendship One for an around-the-world record setting flight with 100 philanthropic passengers, making the journey in 36 hours, 54 minutes, 15 seconds.

1989 - Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Skyline Airport Hotel

For the first time in convention history, the show returned to the same city and even the same hotel as a previous convention.  The Ontario Aviation Enthusiasts declared their pride that Toronto was "the only city to have hosted Airliners International twice, the first time being the 2nd Airliners International Convention, in 1978."  They also noted another first: "a programme of events to "non-delegates" including a city tour, a fashion show and a children's banquet which will run parallel to the closing banquet on Saturday evening."  Air Ontario offered 40-minute Niagara Fallsflightseeing tours using DHC-8 aircraft, and the Boeing Canada deHavilland factory tour complimented the schedule.  In the program booklet we also see the first reference to a by-invitation-only Perfect Attendance Breakfast on Sunday morning.

1990 - Seattle, Washington, Red Lion Hotel/Sea-Tac

The so-called Pacific Northwest Airliner Enthusiasts brought the Airliners International Convention to Boeing's home town for the 14th annual event.  The event included mail-in registration for the first time and tours beginning on Wednesday.  Boeing/Everett, SEA ramp, Alaska Air Group's corporate offices, Horizon Air F-28 flights to recently-erupted Mt. St. Helens, and Lake Union Air Beavers flight-seeing rounded out the tour opportunities.  Tex Johnston, former Boeing test pilot who barrel rolled the prototype 707 over Lake Washington, was the banquet speaker.

1991 - Orlando, Florida, International Drive Marriott

 

1992 - Orange County, California, Hyatt Regency Irvine

California seems to lead the country in many ways.  That was evident in the 1992 convention with tours starting Tuesday, an aviation art show, and a Convair flight to Mojave Airport (rather than just a flight-seeing trip departing/arriving the same airport).  A trip to LA would not be complete without an LAX ramp tour and a side trip to the Planes of Fame Museum in nearby Chino.  The highlight of the convention was banquet speaker Capt. Al Haynes who crash landed his crippled UA DC-10 in Sioux City, Iowa, saving the lives of many of his passengers.

1993 - Washington, DC, Hyatt Regency Crystal City

Ten years after its first appearance in the Washington, DC, area, Airliners International returned to the nation's capital.  Another first was the return of Ron Davies as banquet speaker.  Pennsylvania's Mid Atlantic Air Museum brought a special guest to the convention and National Airport, it's recently acquired Viscount 745D in Capital Airlines colors.  Also on the tour schedule were visits to Washington Dulles International Airport and a possible Concorde sighting, the Smithsonian Museumj's aircraft restoration and storage center, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, and Andrews Air Force Base where the Presidential jet fleet was maintained.  Another first was a Thursday  "dealers only" night for enjoying the exhibit hall.  The program booklet also noted local places of worship for those seeking a spiritual end to the busy weekend.

1994 - Atlanta, Georgia, Sheraton Gateway Hotel Atlanta Airport & Georgia International Convention Center

Delta Air Lines was a prominent player in the 1994 convention.  Tours included the airline's Technical Operations Center and museum plus ATL airport.  DC-3 flights and a Confederate air force display of vintage aircraft rounded out the excitement.  The host committee tapped retired Delta Captain, Prioleau "Pre" Ball.  Capt. Ball had piloted the Delta Queen, the carrier's first Convair 880 from San Diego to Atlanta, setting a National Aeronautic Association transcontinental speed record.

1995 - Phoenix, Arizona, Marriott's Camelback Inn Resort, Gold Club,& Spa

The 1995 set two new marks in convention history.  For the first time, a beautiful resort rather than an airport hotel hosted Airliners International.  Thursday also saw the early opening of the display hall for all registrants from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.  Like the previous year's convention, multiple DC-3 flights were offered including "scenic," "Grand Canyon," and "Champagne" flights.  And in the manor of past conventions, Sky Harbor Airport was a preferred destination.

1996 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, Radisson Hotel South and Plaza Tower

"Little did we know in 1977 that the small gathering at the Cincinnati Flagship Inn would result in a yearly convention.  Now, here we are in Minneapolis, Minnesota, ready to celebrate our 20th Anniversary," exclaimed Paul and Pat Collins, co-chairs of the historic event.  Ramp tours of the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport, Northwest Airlines, Sun Country, Mesaba, and the Northwest Company Store were primed for guests.  The Kalamazoo Air Museum brought its Ford Tri-Motor for looking for a new aircraft to add to their "have flown" list.  Tours were available beginning on Tuesday, and the exhibit hall stayed open until 8:00 in the evening.  And for the second time, there was a reference in the program booklet to houses of worship near the convention site.

1997 - Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sheraton Hotel

Non-airline area attractions headlined the tour options for 1987.  Flights on C-47 and C-45 aircraft were cancelled due to insufficient bookings.  The traditional Thursday evening Welcome Reception was a free event hosted by the hotel.  The triangular logo was produced as a "pocket badge/crest" but turned out to be in short supply.  Today this item is very rare; unfortunately, none was preserved for the Airliners International archives.

1998 - Seattle, Washington, DoubleTree Hotel at Seattle Airport

When Airliners International returned to the Emerald City, the Red Lion SeaTac had morphed into the DoubleTree Hotel and underwent a major face lift.  Yet convention planners noted that though the 13,600 square-foot display area had remained the same, dealer demand for table space had mushroomed since 1990.  Some folks had to be turned away, calling the situation the "awkward stage where our needs are beginning to exceed the capacity of most hotels, yet we are not able to justify the next step up which is to utilize a convention center."  The event focused on the 40th Anniversary of the Boeing 707's entry into service with Pan Am on the New York - London route.  Alaska Airlines, official airline of the convention, and Sea-Tac airport opened their doors to guests.  There were Boeing 247D, Travel Air 4000, and Waco UPF-7 rides.  Captain Al Haynes returned to the Saturday night banquet to retell the story of United Flight 232 which historically ended in Sioux City, Iowa.  295 people attended his banquet presentation.  But this Seattle show also marked another big turning point for the annual convention.  The display hall opened to the general public for much of Thursday in addition to Friday and Saturday.

1999 ~ St. Louis, Renaissance St. Louis Airport

TWA was the focus of Airliners International 1999 with tours of its Pilot Training Center and TWA Clipped Wings Flight Attendants modeling their vintage uniforms from the 1930s to the 1960s.  The host hotel's Penthouse Ballroom with its spectacular views of the airport provided an ideal location for the annual WAHS business meeting and the casual Welcome Party on Thursday night.  A 1941 Stearman provided biplane rides.  The McDonnell Douglas Prologue Room also welcomed guests as did a Boeing aircraft tour.

2000 - Phoenix, Arizona. Marriott's Camelback Inn

For the third year in a row, the convention returned to a previous convention city.  Like the Seattle shows, the beautiful Camelback Inn got the nod for a return visit.  A Martin 4-0-4 visit had to be cancelled at the last minute due to technical problems between the operator and the FAA.  But there was still plenty to do with Tucson, Phoenix aviation, and Sky Harbor Airport bus tours.  A grand buffet breakfast in the hotel's dining room was included in the registration fee.

2001 - Miami, Florida, Radisson Mart Plaza Hotel

Airliners International celebrated its 25th anniversary in Miami.  It was a return visit to the land of palm trees after a 20-year absence.  Ramp tours of Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, and Opa Locka airports filled the schedule.  The FAA opened its doors to registrants and Chalk's Ocean Airways once again provided scenic flights.  Judge A. Jay Cristol was selected to address the Saturday night banquet.  Cristol had presided over many high profile bankruptcy cases including Arrow Air and Pan American Airways.  In fact, the reorganized Pan Am plan was so well received by the new company that its first new aircraft, a Boeing 727-200, was named the Clipper A. Jay Cristol.

2002- Houston, Texas, Sheraton North Houston Intercontinental Airport

Just months after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on America, Houston welcomed the annual convention.  It was an unusual time.  Co-hosts Duane Young and Dick Wallin noted that "security restrictions and the economic fallout have curtailed or prevented a number of activities that we had planned."  They also noted that "plain clothes security personnel will be circulating around the show room at all times."  But with Intercontinental Airport, Hobby Airport, and Ellington Field nearby there were still plenty of aviation locations and tours for registrants.

2003 - Columbus, Ohio, Hyatt Regency Columbus Hotel

For the first time in Airliners International history, the Saturday night banquet featured a top ranking airline executive.  Edwin I. Colodny had served as chief executive officer of US Air Inc. and US Air Group until his retirement in 1991.  Colodny had come up through the ranks of Allegheny Airlines and oversaw the company's rebranding to US Air in 1979.

2004 - Los Angeles, California, Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Los Angeles International Airport

Conventions in the Los Angeles area have always attracted major crowds to see "all the newest aircraft in the coolest color schemes"  and to step back in time at the Mojave Boneyard.  The2004 venue also provided tours to Long Beach and Chino airports, DC-3 flights, lunch at the Encounters Restaurant and an exclusive tour of the Observation Deck at the LAX landmark.  Veteran airline executive, David A. Banmiller, addressed the banquet.  Banmiller's career spanned TWA, Sun Country, Pan Am, Air Cal, Sun Jet, American Airlines, and Air Jamaica.

2005 - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Four Points by Sheraton - Milwaukee Airport

A number of innovations were offered for the Milwaukee Convention including a Friday night dance to the sounds of a 19-piece big band and a Wisconsin "Supper Club," a blend of drinks, dinner, and live entertainment.  Rene Foss's  Around the World in a Bad Mood play which had made it to Broadway provided the evening's entertainment.  Oshkosh, the Air Force's 128th Air Refueling Wing, Midwest Airlines and Skyway Airlines provided tour opportunities.

2006 - Washington, DC, Sheraton Premiere Hotel - Tysons Corner

 The 30th Anniversary convention returned to the nation's capital and all its aviation resources including the area's airports, Andrews Air Force Base, the FAA Potomac TRACON center, the FAA System Command Center, the National Air and Space Museum facilities.  In addition to the Thursday Welcome Reception, the organizing committee served up a Friday night Chesapeake Crab Feast at the hotel.  Igor Sikorsky, Jr. headlined the banquet and the newly restored Trans Canada Lockheed 10A was scheduled to make an appearance at Washington Dulles International Airport.

2007 - Kansas City, Missouri, KCI Expo Center in cooperation with the Holiday Inn Kansas City Airport

The 2007 Convention honored Paul Collins, whose vision and love of airline memorabilia had launched the Airliners International conventions.  Collins passing came less than a month before the Kansas City show.  Jon Proctor, aka Mr. TWA and a longtime friend of Collins was the banquet speaker.  In two other breaks with tradition, the Kansas City show utilized the KCI Expo Center rather than a hotel ballroom for the display hall.  The Thursday Welcome Party and "Friday Night at the Props BBQ" were hosted in the National Airline History Museum under the wings of a TWA Constellation and Martin 4-0-4.  It would be a historic preview of future convention events in aviation museums, including the 2008 Dallas, 2011 Portland, and 2015 Atlanta shows.  Tours took guests to the American Airlines maintenance base, on MCI ramp tours, and the salvage yard of White Industries.

2008 - Dallas, Texas, Sheraton Grand Hotel DFW

 Just a year later the C.R. Smith Museum hosted Airliners International for a BBQ dinner under the wings of an American DC-3.  With hometown carriers American' Airlines at DFW and Southwest Airlines at Dallas Hobby Airport, there was plenty to see and do.  American opened the doors to it maintenance facilities and tower.  Even a tornado watch during the convention couldn't dampen all the show activity and the great airport views from the hotel tower.  Authors Robert J. Serling and Capt.William Ippolito shared the banquet podium.

2009 - Orlando, Florida, Wyndham Orlando Resort

 The summer heat, humidity, and thunderstorms couldn't keep buyers and sellers from another visit to Orlando.  The Fantasy of Flight Museum, Orlando International Airport, AirTran, JetBlue, and Continental Airlines were prime participants in the tour process.  Carlos Gomez, president of the Historical Flight Foundation and revered for the restoration of the Eastern Air Lined DC-7B, told the fascinating story of growing up in Miami's famous "Corrosion Corner" where his dad worked.  Gomez at the time was operating a DC-7B, DC-6, and a DC-4 under the company name of Florida Air Transport.

2010 - Newark, New Jersey, The Robert Treat Hotel

Though billed as the New York show, downtown Newark, New Jersey, was the venue for the 2010 show.  With a rooftop Welcome Party and fabulous views of arriving and departing air traffic, it was reminiscent of an earlier time in St. Louis.  Just steps from Newark Penn Station and withing sight of the constant flow of commuter trains, the hotel provided something for aviation and rail buffs alike.  Continental Airlines Chelsea Flight Kitchen provided a new taste in convention tours.  The airline's EWR Operations Tower and Maintenance Hangar added additional opportunities outside the trading floor.  With its proximity to national media personnel in New York City, convention organizers tapped Robert Hager, retired NBC News Aviation Correspondent, for the banquet. 

2011 - Portland, Oregon, Red Lion Hotel on the River, Jantzen Beach

With floor-to-ceiling glass walls and views of the adjacent Columbia River, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Hood, the Portland venue provided an alternative to the usual four-walls and artificial lighting of most convention venues.  Tours took guests to sites as far away as the Tillamook Air Museum, the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum in Hood River, and McMinnville's famed Evergreen Air and Space Museum.  The exhibit hall featured beautiful floor-size aircraft models courtesy of Alaska Air and Horizon Air, official airlines of the convention.   Horizon Air headquarters, Boeing's Portland Paint Shop, and PDX opened their doors.  Thursday's Welcome Party combined a picnic on the riverside deck plus a bus tour over to Ft. Vancouver's historic Pearson Field and Museum.  Seaport Airlines offered scenic tours of three Northwest mountains on its Pilatus PC-12 fleet. Addison; Pemberton brought his Boeing 40C for display and flight-seeing trips while Bob Bogash told the banquet story of how Seattle's Museum of Flight acquired the Trans Canada Airlines Super G Constellation.

2012 - Memphis, Tennessee, Hilton Hotel

Though The King was gone, convention guests arrived in Memphis where the Lisa Marie, a Convair 880 formerly flown by Delta Airlines, was still entertaining visitors.  So were FedEx with tours of their maintenance base and nighttime package sort hub.  The FAA's Memphis Center and Airport tower complemented ramp tours.  And if you were looking to ride another unusual airliner, SeaPort Airlines was taking bookings for Cessna Caravan sightseeing flights.  Tapping hometown talent, Paul Cassell, Senior Vice President of Flight Operations told insider stories about life at FedEx.

2013 - Cleveland, Ohio, Sheraton Cleveland Airport Hotel

Cleveland, a United hub after the merger with Continental Airlines, welcomed Airliners International in 2013.  United rolled out the red carpet with nigh tours of the overnight 737 maintenance hangars, their operations tower, and a visit to the maintenance hanger of CommutAir, a United Express partner.  Farther north Griffing Flying Service, Liberty Aviation Museum, and the Tri-motor Heritage Foundation and Museum attracted registrants to their piece of aviation history.  The banquet took on an international flavor with Gianfranco "Panda" Beting, director of communications and branding at Azul Brasilian Airlines, and his extensive photography collection.

2014 - Los Angeles, California, Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel0

When is a convention in Los Angeles not a good thing!  They always tend to be some of the largest on the still-evolving list of host cities.  But this time there was a specific large object as the focus -- the A380 and its very visible presence at LAX.  In addition to the usual nearby aviation attractions, the Victorville Bone Yard, a tour of the Robinson Helicopter Company Factory, and flight-seeing LAX-style on Star Helicopters provided new diversions.  Mike Machat, aviation historian, illustrator, pilot, and long-time friend of Airliners International Conventions and the World Airline Historical Society, was on hand to cap the convention at the Saturday banquet.

2015 - Atlanta, Georgia, Delta Museum of Flight in cooperation with the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel

 It had been 39 years since Paul Collins and a small group gathered for the first Airliners International Convention in Cincinnati.  And now a big change was possible with the complete renovation of the Delta Flight Museum.  Challenging the status and size of Los Angeles events, the 2015 show took place under the wings of the museum's 767 "Spirit of Delta."  The venue also included the museum's 737-200 simulator and a host of other historic aircraft.  Mother Delta opened her doors to the Technical Operations and Flight Training Center, while affiliate ExpressJet, rolled back the hangar doors to its maintenance base.  Ramp tours of ATL including a stop at "Radar Hill" for photography sold out early.  The Renaissance Concourse Hotel was swamped with people wanting an airside room; some had to settle for the airport views from the Welcome Party.  On Saturday night the meal function shifted back to the museum where author and former flight attendant Anne Billingsley Kerr shared her impressions of passenger flight in the 1950s, the golden age of passenger flight

2016 - New Orleans, Louisiana. The world's largest gathering of airline enthusiasts descended upon the Big Easy for tours of MSY and the surrounding areas. 

2017 - Denver, Colorado. AI returned to the Mile High City after an absence of 29 years. Airline enthusiasts took advantage of tours of the DIA ramp, Frontier's operations and training center, and SkyWest's maintenance base in Colorado Springs. Of course everyone enjoy the selling, buying and trading in our exhibit hall. Our special guest speaker at the annual AI banquet gala was Brian Baum who told us about his flight around the world on Pan Am Flight 50 and the Boeing 747SP.