Connie Kalitta joins the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame

Yankee Air Museum

Ray Hunter, Chairman of the Board of Directors

Kevin Walsh, Executive Director

Contact: Dave Callanan Public Relations Committee

Phone: 734-483-4030 ext. 233

Conrad “Connie” Kalitta Enshrined in Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame Joins Prestigious Group of Aviation Luminaries

April 15, 2019—Legendary drag racer and air freight magnate Conrad “Connie” Kalitta was enshrined in the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame on Saturday, April 13, 2019. Kalitta, of Belleville, received the high honors for his accomplishments and contributions to aviation in ceremonies at the Air Zoo, in Portage, Michigan. He is the sole owner of Kalitta Air based at historic Willow Run Airport.

The award was accepted by Corey Kalitta on behalf of his grandfather.

Yankee Air Museum wrote the application and it was submitted by six of its highly esteemed members who are also Hall-of-Famers, including Yankee Air Museum Board Chairman Ray Hunter. “Connie’s background and credentials as a pilot, innovator and businessman presented a very strong nomination,” said Hunter. “One need only to look around the Kalitta Air facilities at Willow Run and OscodaWurtsmith airports to know he is a titan of aviation.”

Connie Kalitta first learned to fly in the mid-1960s with Bud Dodge who ran a charter operation. By 1967, when he was 28 years of age, Connie had earned his multi-engine commercial rating and began his own highly specialized, on demand, cargo flights on board his Cessna 310. His client, Ford Motor Company, needed to keep production lines flowing and traditional air cargo haulers were not fast enough. Kalitta’s operations could deliver needed material in a matter of hours.

Kalitta grew his aviation business from American International Airways, Inc. to Kitty Hawk and ultimately into Kalitta Air, LLC in 2000. He is a self-made man and one of the truly rare people in the annals of aviation who has been able to take the art and science of flying and have it transcend personal pleasure to stratospheric entrepreneurial eminence. He is the consummate team builder and for all of his achievements, he is incredibly modest.

Kalitta’s biography is a body of work celebrated in “first ever” accomplishments, championships, records and corporate achievement. A man of few words, his story is best told by the countless loyal employees in the Kalitta family of businesses who have grown with him through decades of experience and hard work. His genius is his attention to detail, likening everything to a chain and always strengthening the weakest link. His leadership inspires this same focus and innovation in everyone on team Kalitta. In all things, he is a competitor and a winner.

Kalitta is a champion National Hot Rod Association top fuel racer and Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. He is also in the Michigan and national Motorsports Halls of Fame.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have an aviator of Connie’s prominence and competence in Michigan. We are proud to have him as our neighbor, indeed as a good friend, at historic Willow Run Airport,” concluded Hunter.


About the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame: Established in 1987, the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame is located inside the Air Zoo and is dedicated to preserving the history of outstanding air and space pioneers. The Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame recognizes and honors these men and women for their outstanding contributions and achievements to aviation and/or space. They had a vision and followed their dreams with determination and triumph. The MAHOF is committed to recognizing these enshrinees as role models, as they inspire today's youth to follow their own vision and achieve excellence, no matter what their field of choice.

For more info on MAHOF visit the website.

About the Yankee Air Museum: Established in 1981 the Yankee Air Museum is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization. The Yankee Air Museum dedicates itself to educating people through the history of U.S. Military aviation, technology and home front efforts while inspiring generations through personal experiences to instill pride in our national accomplishments. Yankee Air Museum, located at 47884 D Street, Belleville, Michigan on the grounds of historic Willow Run Airport, is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Visit to discover more about us and how we are working to preserve local history with the campaign. For more information, call 734-483-4030.



Yankee Air Museum's First Airplane Gets New Paint Job


VAN BUREN TWP. -- The repainting of the very first airplane ever acquired by the Yankee Air Museum -- a World War II Douglas C-47 -- was announced Tuesday.

Kalitta Air, a worldwide company specializing in air freight services, will undertake the renovation work. The announcement was made jointly by Kalitta and the museum. Both organizations are based at Willow Run Airport.

"Our trusty transport 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' has flown 33 years bearing the markings of a 1960s U.S. Air Force trainer," Kevin Walsh, Yankee Air Museum executive director, said in a news release. "It needs a paint job badly, and as a museum, we need it to reflect the historic era for which it was built."

Walsh explained the that 72-year-old cargo plane was first delivered to the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1945. It flew in numerous governmental and quasi-governmental roles until being acquired by Yankee Air Museum in 1982.

After a 20-month restoration, the museum started flying the plane again in May 1984 and has been flying it ever since. It has been the perennial workhorse of the institution that separates itself from other area museums by the fact it flies and sells rides on historic airplanes.

Walsh said that Kalitta CEO Conrad "Connie" Kalitta and vice president Pete Sanderlin are accomplished aviators who understand the need to refinish the C-47. He said Yankee Air Museum's flyable aircraft hangar and Kalitta Air are on the west side of Willow Run Airport outside Ypsilanti, and are like old family friends, all growing up in the same neighborhood.

"They didn't hesitate to commit to this project. No one can imagine how much we appreciate their enthusiastic help," Walsh said.

"The C-47 Skytrain is legendary in air cargo transport, especially in World War II," said Connie Kalitta. "We are very happy to help."

Kalitta said the plane will be flown to the Kalitta Air maintenance facilities in Oscoda, where the work will be done. A timetable for the project has not been set, and the paint design is not being revealed at this time.

___ (c)2017 The Daily Telegram, Adrian, Mich. Visit The Daily Telegram, Adrian, Mich. at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



Kalitta Air Takes Delivery of Leased 747-400F Factory Freighter from GECAS

Shannon, Ireland – May 18, 2017 – A leading provider of air cargo transportation, Kalitta Air took delivery of the first of two leased 747-400F factory freighters from GECAS today, marking a new milestone in the decade-long relationship of the two companies. While GECAS has previously provided debt financing to Kalitta on several 747-400’s (both factory and converted freighters), this delivery is the first aircraft on lease to Kalitta from GECAS, adding capacity to Kalitta Air’s existing fleet of more than 15 widebody freighters.

Serving a wide range of clients — from DHL to the U.S. military – Kalitta combines global air cargo service with comprehensive airframe and engine maintenance solutions.   GECAS, a consistent lender to Kalitta Air over the past several years, welcomes the chance to now provide leasing solutions to this air cargo industry stalwart.

“Based on our relationship and its continued growth,” noted Chris Damianos, GECAS’ EVP & Manager Specialty Markets, “GECAS is pleased to transition these 747-400Fs to Kalitta.”

“GECAS has been very supportive of Kalitta Air as we have renewed our fleet,” stated founder and CEO, Conrad Kalitta, “As a trusted partner, I value GECAS’ focus on the air cargo sector.”

Boeing’s 747F, the most broadly used large widebody freighter, offers fuel and operational efficiencies along with the industry’s only nose-loading configuration, which is a true differentiator to cargo operators and their customers.

About GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS)

GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) is a world leader in aviation leasing and financing.  With 50 years of aviation finance experience, GECAS offers a wide range of aircraft types including narrow-bodies, wide-bodies, regional jets, turboprops, freighters and helicopters, plus multiple financing products and services including operating leases, purchase/leasebacks, secured debt financing, capital markets, engine leasing, airframe parts management and airport/airline consulting.  GECAS owns or services a fleet of over 1,950 aircraft (1,660 fixed wing/ 306 rotary wing) in operation or on order, plus provides loans collateralized on an additional ~400 aircraft. GECAS serves over 270 customers in over 75 countries from a network of 25 offices.

GECAS Media contact: James Luton +1 203 842 5887

About Kalitta Air

Kalitta Air is a Michigan Limited Liability Company owned solely by Conrad Kalitta. Kalitta Air began service in November 2000 with three Boeing 747 aircraft and the fleet has grown to more than 15 Boeing widebody freighters. Capable of air express delivery of virtually any type of freight, the company provides scheduled or on-demand charter service for customers in the United States and around the world.

Kalitta Air has maintained a strong presence in the airfreight industry, expanding our fleet to meet growing customers’ demands. Kalitta Air is committed to providing our customers with the most cost effective and complete on-demand air cargo services available in the industry. Whether your demands are for short haul, long haul, or the need to move the odd shaped cargo that requires a nose loader, we have the right aircraft for your demands.



Kalitta Air Takes Off with AMOS

At a glance:

  • 660 new AMOS users
  • AMOS Miami office to perform the AMOS implementation

Implementation already started in Q1 2017

Swiss-AS and its Miami based AMOS Business Unit within Lufthansa Systems are delighted to announce the signing of AMOS contracts with Kalitta Air after a long MRO software evaluation process. “It is an honour for us to implement AMOS at Kalitta Air, an established cargo airline and a significant MRO provider in the USA,” states Ronald Schaeuffele, CEO of Swiss-AS. With Kalitta Air performing in-house base maintenance activities at a large scale, this newly acquired customer will profit from complex functions being currently added to AMOS, such as graphical hangar planning, graphical monitoring of maintenance groundtimes, production and finance control dashboards.

No major software customisations foreseen

Kalitta Air and Swiss-AS will team up to streamline the US carrier’s processes in accordance with industry’s best practice to bring a high level of efficiency to their business and strengthen their competitive edge. The project team foresees an implementation without major software customisations – which is an excellent philosophy to ensure a swift implementation timeline. By replacing a scattered landscape of different maintenance applications by the single application AMOS, Kalitta Air can expect significant improvements in the cross-departmental communication, data quality and planning reliability.

About Kalitta Air

Kalitta Air is based in Ypsilanti, Michigan and privately held by Conrad Kalitta. The US airline started its operation in November 2000 and has grown to a present total of 22 B747 aircraft with the plan to add B747-400 to its all-freighter fleet. As FAA certified 145 Repair Station, Kalitta Air offers a wide scope of MRO services to 3rd parties. Beyond the freighter business, Kalitta is also known as a professional drag racer in the Top Fuel class of the NHRA.

About Swiss AviationSoftware and AMOS

AMOS is a comprehensive, fully-integrated MRO software solution being developed and distributed by Swiss AviationSoftware. Swiss-AS, a 100% subsidiary of Swiss International Air Lines has more than 150 customers worldwide and belongs to the industry-leading MRO software providers. Our loyal customer base includes pure operators of all sizes, major low-cost, regional and flag carriers, large airline groups and MRO providers. In the Americas and in Asia, AMOS is distributed through a partnership with Lufthansa Systems. For more information, please contact usvia or visit us at SWISS-AS.COM

My team has spent many years researching and vetting out various MRO software programs and we are looking forward to integrating the AMOS system into our maintenance program and processes. This software will be key to improving our efficiency and a great benefit to Kalitta Air, Kalitta Maintenance and Kalitta Tire & Brake as we continue to advance and grow to meet the everchanging demands of aviation,
— Connie Kalitta, CEO and Owner of Kalitta Air.