Non-sked history at Airliners International 2018

An arrow shows the "flight path" of Veterans Air DC-3 between a skyscraper in New York to the palm trees and beaches of Florida.

Share Veterans Air history at Airliners International 2018 Convention

By now, Airliners International is well into planning their 2019 Collectibles Show and Convention in Atlanta. But this post is about the opportunity they gave me to share Veterans Air history at Airliners International 2018 Convention. The date is July 13, in Crystal City, MD – better known as Washington D.C. The World Airline Historical Society (WAHS) sponsors the event annually.  2018 is its 42nd year.

I am (once again) extremely grateful to Shea Oakley, my friend and recently-retired Executive Director of the Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of New Jersey.  Shea also sits on the WAHS Board of Directors and submitted my name to the A.I. Convention organizers. During the A. I. event, Shea makes time to “walk the floor” with my husband Harry and me, pointing out things of interest and drumming up attendance for my talk by mentioning Veterans Air to lots of folks along our way.

You may recall, my first public presentation of our Veterans Air story was to Shea’s organization in November 2017. 

An honor for this unknown aviation researcher to address A. I.

An invitation to address The World’s Largest Airline Collectibles Show is a true honor. Both their attendees and vendors are a mix of airline history buffs, long-time aviation and airline researchers, and airline memorabilia collectors. My sincere thanks to Airliners International and especially to their hard working event planners who coordinate my participation —  Chris Slimmer, Steve McIninch and Bill Demarest.


Harry shot video during my talk. (Thanks so much, my Love. Great to have you there!) As I edit clips, I’ll add them to this post. (I’m more than slightly behind the power curve on this story!)

Meeting a number of non-sked aficionados among the vendors, I hear many fascinating stories on the subject.  I wish they had been able to hear more about the Veterans Air story, but their exhibits need staffing and they are not able to attend my presentation.

Being included among the A. I. speakers is heady stuff. Best yet, I am fortunate enough to be in touch with each of them later:

  • David Stringer presents “Local Service Carriers” history and transformation 1940’s thru 1960’s. He encourages my research, highly favors my writing a book, and offers an introduction to research sources for Matson Air Transport (the Air Transport Division of Matson Navigation Company). Matson ultimately took possession of the Veterans Air two DC-4s after a long receivership court battle.
  • Craig Morris is a Memorabilia exhibitor.  We are introduced by Shea Oakley during our exhibit floor walk-about. The week following, Craig locates Veterans Air memorabilia within his full inventory.  We’ll take a closer look below.
  • MEANWHILE, AN ASIDE…Indulge me if you will, because this is a fun, prime example of how my research world and my ever-growing Veterans Air Network turns!  Long after the July convention, I “discover” a totally-forgotten email exchange between Craig and me dated June 2015.  Back then, I discover his website via the The World Airline Historical Society website. And, back then, Craig suggests that I contact Shea Oakley who he feels would be a grand source of help to me. I am proud to tell him that I have already “found” Shea, but Craig’s 2015 recommendation boosts my research confidence — my from-scratch methods are working! And now we come full circle as Shea introduces me to Craig at A. I. 2018.  🙂
  • Charles Kennedy presents on “The Flying Tiger Line” and Air Koryo.  He shows great interest in Veterans Air and we have a lively but too short exchange at his exhibit space about the non-skeds. I do hope we cross our paths again someday soon.
Shea & Kat Oakley stand behind Gaye Lyn, wearing A.I. Convention badges and smiling for the camera.
Kat and Shea Oakley, a bonus for me at Airliners Int’l 2018.

Extra special at the event…meeting Kat Oakley

Shea claims, grinning broadly, that his wife Kat is now better-known and more frequently consulted among the Airliners International regulars than he is!

(Go, Kat! Absolutely delighted to meet you!)

A look at Veterans Air memorabilia in Craig Morris’ collection

Craig produces these items from his inventory. (1) Our bold, art-deco-ish logo used here as a (now “old fashion”) baggage label.  Astoundingly, in August 2016, Charles Quarles had gifted me an original label saying, “Let me know if you don’t have one of these…” (2) Passenger ticket envelope that I have never seen before.  It lists two ticketing offices — Newark, NJ, and Miami Beach, FL.   (3) The original brochure, I am honored to say, was gifted to me over a year ago in mint condition by John Corpening, aviation researcher/author. Craig also has the brochure – from which he took this photo.  It invites you to FLY with Veterans Air Express between New York and  the beaches of Florida. (4) And, finally, the ink blotter!  We could use some help with this item.  If you’ve ever seen it – or have any idea as to its origin – please let me know.  We are just not sure that it’s our Veterans Air it is promoting!

Red stylized (art-deco looking) wings and red star encircled by blue background showoff the logo of Veterans Air Line.
Crisp, patriotic red, white and blue logo of Veterans Air Line, used here as a baggage label. From Collection of and Photo Credit: Craig Morris
A simple envelope, printed on back flap with space to write a Veterans Air Express Passenger's name, flight information and fare. Ticket Offices listed as MAIN in Newark, NJ, and Miami Beach, FL
Veterans Air Express passenger ticket envelope. From Collection of and Photo Credit: Craig Morris
An arrow shows the "flight path" of Veterans Air DC-3 between a skyscraper in New York to the palm trees and beaches of Florida.
A silver-ink DC-3 graces a brochure cover. From Collection of and Photo Credit: Craig Morris
Solid, deep blue background dramatizes an already dramatic, but unfamiliar, logo and borders on an Veterans' Airline promotional ink blotter.
An ink blotter (remember them?) with the name Veterans’ Airline. We just do not know if it’s OUR Veterans Airline. Logo appears no where else within the Company.

And then…then…there was this…

The writing on a small white paper sack says "Air Sickness Bag. After use fold toward you."
The Air Sickness Bag.

This summer, Professor Alan Bender briefs me about many past Airliners International conventions he attended. Chuckling, he tells me to keep a look-out for a certain rare memorabilia item. I think Alan is kidding me. He isn’t.  It stops me in my tracks. Have a look.  A common sight for passengers on board a commercial airline flight worldwide. But slightly startling when presented as airline memorabilia. The writing on a small white paper sack says “Air Sickness Bag. After use fold toward you.” (??? Anyone want to hazard a guess why “toward you”? And not “away from you”?

Vastness of memorabilia

Which reminds me, I’ve failed to mention the vastness of other historic items bought, sold and traded at the show. Unfortunately, this Cub Reporter, one more time, fails to take any photos! My surroundings and the people totally engage me. But here are the categories:

Some of the 24 listed memorabilia categories include Kiddie Wings, die-cast models, airmail stamps, menus, timetables, safety cards and more.
These categories of airliner memorabilia took two exhibit halls to fully display.

Audience presentations provide valuable interaction and feedback

All in all, Airliners International 2018 Washington D.C. is a really worthwhile endeavor. I’d like to do more presentations. I like the interaction, comments and questions. All go toward my understanding of interest level in the Veterans Air non-sked story, topics needing deeper delving, sources to contact, etc. So, if you have any ideas, please let me know.

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