The Poletto Collection is the largest model aircraft and airliner collection in the world.
“There are 885 aircraft in the collection total,” said Benjamin Donnelly, the stepson of the creator and a Professor of History at University of Providence.
Bary Polletto began the collection in the late 1970’s, first put on display at the Great Falls International Airport.
It was then the collection grew, and a hobby became an overwhelming and unfathomable number of aircraft for one many.
With 885 total planes, there are 97 types of aircraft from 190 nations around the globe. Some of which are not countries anymore.
Poletto worked for Pan American Airlines as a load master in the 60’s creating a spark for a cabin in the sky.
For Donnelly, his love began with his biological father.
“My dad was in the Air Force, so I grew up around airplanes. So, my earliest memories are my dad taking me out to the to the tarmac out at Malmstrom. And there’s he’s got a picture of me as a three-year-old hugging the landing gear, an F-4 Phantom fighter. And so, I’ve been around airplanes all my life today.”
As much as his love for planes began at a young age, Ben doesn’t call himself a model builder. He is a historian by trade and his vast knowledge of each aircraft in the collection is documented.
The collection grew and others donated to it, time began to fade for his stepfather.
Poletto built his final aircraft model in 2008 and five years later he passed away, leaving the collection to his stepson, Benjamin.
“It means a lot to me to be able to continue on their legacy of that. I mean, I may not be a model builder myself, but I can at