Airliners International 2013
Reported from Cleveland by: Jack Harty, Correspondent Airchive.com
Last week, a few hundred AvGeeks invaded Cleveland, Ohio for the 37th Airliners International Collectibles Show and Convention. It was four days filled of buying, selling, and trading airline memorabilia as well as guided tours of the ramp, hangars, an airline operation tower, and the FAA tower .
According to the Airliners International 2013 website, the Airliners International Show and Convention dates back to 1977 when the late Paul Collins, founder and self-appointed President of the World Airline Hobby Club, held a little get-together with airline and airliner enthusiasts. Two years later, the club was held together by the quarterly journal, THE CAPTAIN’S LOG. Collins proposed an airliner show to be held that July at a hotel adjacent to Cincinnati Airport. In a interview with Jon Proctor, TWA Historian, Collins recalled that approximately 60 people showed up, and they had no idea what they were starting.
Now, Airliners International, in its 37th year, is an annual convention held during the summer in different cities across the United States sponsored by a hotel, an airline, an airport, and the World Airline Historical Society. The airport sponsor usually offers ramp tours, while the airline sponsor offers hangars and/or operations tours. Also, the FAA offers control tower tours. Tours of local aviation sites are also offered.
This year, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and United Airlines sponsored the 2013 show. Tours of the United Airlines hangar and CommutAir hangar were offered. Also, a ramp tour of Cleveland Hopkins, a United Airlines operations tour, and a tour of the FAA control tower were offered. This year, AvGeeks were able to watch United change a 737 engine, a CommutAir Q-300 go through a heavy ‘C’ check, see the view from the United operations and FAA towers, and travel around the Cleveland Hopkins ramp to tour the Cleveland Airport Fire Department.
While the tours are the highlight for some, buying and selling airline memorabilia is the highlight for others. Five meeting rooms at the Sheraton Cleveland Airport hotel were filled with all types of aviation memorabilia. You name it, somebody was selling it. Safety cards, airline promotional materials, timetables, airplane models, shirts, old uniforms, airline wings, pins, magazines, menus, playing cards, and much more were for sale. Even if you don’t collect airline memorabilia, it is fun to browse around and talk with the other AvGeeks.
Many who attended the show have been collecting airline memorabilia for years, and it is evident that they are passionate about aviation. Meeting and getting to know fellow aviation enthusiasts was by far my favorite part of the show. I found it very easy to strike up a conversation with other attendees, and many had great aviation stories to tell.
While the annual event is not as popular as other aviation events, I recommend attending one of the regional or the annual Airliners International show sometime. But, make sure you always set a spending limit! Even if you are not into collecting airline memorabilia, it is a great way to meet fellow aviation enthusiasts. Next year, Airliners International 2014 will take place at the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel in Los Angeles, California from July 8-12. Visit www.ai2013cle.com for more details about AI 2014!