Second Generation FBO Hosts Illinois Aviation Conference

MOLINE, ILLINOIS – Elliott Aviation, located at Quad Cities International Airport, is the host fixed base operation for the 2013 Illinois Aviation Conference to be held May 15-16 at the Radisson Hotel and iWireless Convention Center in Moline, Illinois.

A second-generation, family-owned aviation business, the company offers aircraft sales, avionics service and installations, aircraft maintenance, accessory repair and overhaul, paint and interior, charter and aircraft management. In addition to is headquarters in Moline, Elliott Aviation has facilities in Des Moines, Iowa; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Elliott Aviation was founded as “Elliott Flying Service” on a grass airstrip in DeWitt, Iowa in 1936 by Herb and Arlene Elliott, and is today operated by their son, Wynn Elliott, president and chief operating officer.

Although the airport at DeWitt had a hangar, it did not have water or electricity. An old farm truck with a 300-gallon gas tank served as a holding tank for avgas. Herb Elliott used to trade flying lessons for what he needed, including a well and a pump. He invited his high school sweetheart, Arlene Soltenberg, to be his bookkeeper.

Their intuition and knack for pleasing customers resulted in Elliott Flying Service selling a staggering 13 aircraft in its first year. With initial success underway, Herb and Arlene got married in 1939.

When World War II interrupted the pursuit of their dream, the couple relocated to Bonham, Texas, where Herb served as a civilian flight instructor, a flight commander at the Army Primary Flight School, and later as a pilot ferrying combat aircraft around the world. After the war, Herb and Arlene returned to Davenport and resumed business at Cram Field. After adding an office, reception area and pilot’s lounge, they expanded their operation to include dealerships in Piper and Beech aircraft. The Elliotts were the first independent contractors to offer twin-engine charters from the Quad Cities. In 1947, they became an exclusive dealer of Beechcraft products.

Two years later, the Elliotts relocated their business to the new Davenport Municipal Airport in Mount Joy and began providing maintenance services. Success brought the opening of a Des Moines, Iowa operation in 1958, a Minneapolis, Minnesota branch in 1972, and another facility in Omaha, Nebraska in 1982. The company’s headquarters and Quad Cities service location was moved to Moline in 1961, and construction of Elliott Aviation’s current facility was completed in 1982.

Wynn Elliott assumed responsibility for operating the business in 1993, overseeing Elliott Aviation’s extensive expansions. In 1995, the company changed its name to Elliott Aviation to better reflect the full scope of services provided.

In 2003, Elliott Aviation opened its “completions center” in Moline offering turnkey custom interior design services, custom woodworking and cabinetry, avionics installations and modifications, noise reduction installations, and paint. In 2007, a new paint and interior design center was also added in Moline. In 2008, Elliott Aviation completed a new $8 million facility in Des Moines, Iowa, marking the company’s 50th anniversary.

Today, Elliott Aviation employs 350 people at all operations combined.

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