by Stephanie Cain
A life-long love of aviation has kept CollectAir Aviation Art owner Stephen Remington busy for more than 25 years. A former aeronautical engineer, Remington’s personal collection of aviation artifacts led to his De la Vina Street art gallery and online collectors’ business, selling everything from original oil paintings to antique models to boxed airplane sets from 1939. A seven-foot-long wooden jet model from the Cold War rests in the center of the gallery, surrounded by rare vintage display models from airplane manufacturers, hand-painted military training models, Comet wooden airplanes, and just about everything else sky-related.
“I collect the rare items, things that people find in the attic,” Remington said. “These old model airplane kits are 50 to 60 years old and the manufacturer display models were never even sold to the public. These things are true collectibles.”
Enclosing the British pewter war planes and Boeing wind-tunnel testers are a series of oil painting and bronze sculptures, most created by American Society of Aviation Artists members. Both originals and prints show aviation history, from WWI aircraft to crop-dusters, battle scenes to world-record height journeys. The gallery functions as Remington’s warehouse and playhouse for his online collectors’ business, collectair.com, the source of 85 percent of his business. However, he also houses his personal collection devoted to materials used by military trainers. Displayed in a WWII classroom setting, the only one of its kind in the nation, the museum exhibits books, models, apparel, papers, and diagrams from training missions.
CollectAir Aviation Art is at 1324 De la Vina Street. It’s open most afternoons, but you can also call 560-1323 for an appointment.