Great News From the Collings Foundation


Former Evergreen Aviation Museum’s B-17G 44-83785 “Shady Lady” in flight.   It has joined the Collings Foundation and will return to the sky again in 2017. Photo Credit: Evergreen Aviation Museum

The Collings Foundation has just released exciting news.  They have acquired a number of aircraft from the Evergreen Aviation Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.  The aircraft include a second B-17G for their collection “Shady Lady”, a P-38L Lightning, a Bf-109 G-10, and  a second P-40 Warhawk.

The Collings Foundation plans to have the Evergreen B-17 flyable by 2017. There will not be two B-17’s on the Wings of Freedom Tour, but rather will give the foundation ample time to do necessary work on their B-17G “Nine-O-Nine”, that they are not able to preform due to time constraints on tour. This is the same idea that the Collings Foundation had in mind when they purchased a TF-51D Mustang restoration project not too long ago.  The TF-51D when completed will take the place of the foundation’s TP-51C “Betty Jane” while necessary work is done on it.


The Collings Foundation’s newly acquired P-38 Lightning. Photo Credit: Evergreen Aviation Museum

The Collings Foundation also acquired a beautifully restored Lockheed P-38L Lightning with very flight time logged since its restoration.  Although the Collings Foundation, currently has its hands full with restoration projects, the plan is to have this P-38 flying sometime in 2016.  In order to get it airworthy again, Rob Collings President of the Collings Foundation says that, “the P-38 will undergo some mechanical rehabilitation, just from sitting so long, and also some cosmetic…”, work to bring it to modern Warbird standards.  Also to add some of the finishing touches, that were not previously applied. Mr. Collings also annouced, that the P-38 when completed will wear a natural metal finish.  Mr. Collings finally announced that there are no plans to install a second seat, that this P-38 will remain a single seat aircraft.


Collings Foundaton’s new Bf-109 -10, it formerly belonged to the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Photo Credit: Warbird Registry

Also from the Evergreen Aviation Museum the Collings Foundation also acquired a Messerschmitt Bf-109 G-10.  The foundation has “…not decided whether or not it will be a flyable aircraft”, says Mr. Collings, due to some issues it has.  Reagrdless its restoration will be completed.


A Curtiss P-40K Warhawk , formerly owned by the Evergreen Aviation Museum, now owned by the Collings Foundation. Photo Credit: Evergreen Aviation Museum

The Collings Foundation’s final aircraft that it acquired from the Evergreen Aviation Museum was a P-40K Warhawk, which is likely to fly again in the future.

Stay tuned for a complete report on Collings Foundation’s aircraft restorations, coming soon.

Check out the original interview with Rob Collings by our friends over at here

The Collings Foundation Needs Your Help!


From Bottom to Top: The Collings Foundation’s B-24J Liberator, B-17G Flying Fortress and ultra rare TP-51C Mustang flying in tight formation. Photo Credit: Collings Foundation

“Based in Stow, Massachusetts, the Collings Foundation (501c3) is recognized internationally for the preservation, exhibition and operation of unique and rare historic aircraft and organizing educational living history events. The Stow museum features an incredible collection of over 75 classic automobiles, historic aircraft, tanks, military artifacts and machines.

We are in the process of expanding the facility to build the American Heritage Museum. This will be a state-of-the-art museum that will feature America’s history in the periods of WWI, WWII, Korean War, Cold War, Vietnam War and Gulf War. Military artifacts will be presented in a museum environment that is both educational and captivating.


The Race of the Century hosted at the Collings Foundation’s HQ in Stow, Massachusetts. Photo Credit: Collings Foundation

Over the last two years we have been dealing with the mind numbing process of getting the approvals needed through the Stow boards. Apparently, the Planning Board of Stow are the only ones who can dictate what is considered educational. After two years of Planning Board meetings, the board has determined that museums are not educational. The Collings Foundation had another meeting with the Stow Planning Board Wednesday, July 29th. In a three to two vote the Planning Board made the determination that the Collings Foundation’s living history events, staff and docent tours, preservation and exhibition of historical artifacts and aircraft, school tours, STEM programs, Veteran round-table discussions, and so on – are not educational. Sorry to say, we are not making this up. More so, two out of the three on the Planning Board of Stow, Massachusetts who say our programs are not educational and mere “entertainment” – have never attended a living history event or public tour at the Collings Foundation’s museum! Wow….

Most recently, the building inspector usurped the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Aeronautics Commission in regulating aviation. After 37 years of continuous flying from our Stow property, the Stow Building issued a cease and desist order against the Foundation on March 26, 2015 prohibiting take-offs and landings.

Roughly 95% of the Collings Foundation’s flight operations happen during our Open House / Living History events that total six days of the year. People from Stow and all over New England have enjoyed the fantastic experience of flying in these aircraft for years.

We operate in compliance with all FAA regulations and the Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission has long approved our airfield. The Aeronautics Commission, in fact, notified the authorities in Stow on May 5, 2015 that the bylaw the Building Commissioner relied upon for his actions was “invalid and unenforceable.” (I have the letter if you want to see it)

Litigation that concluded in 2004 in Middlesex Superior Court confirmed that our operations were in compliance with the bylaws. The Town of Stow’s Zoning Board of Appeals was a party to that action, and it defended, at considerable taxpayer expense, the Collings Foundation’s activities as being in compliance with the bylaws.

Ironically, the very same Town Council who then defended our airfield use is now taking, in the absence of any changed circumstances, but in the face of the same considerable expense, the contrary position that our activities violate the bylaw. No, you can’t make this stuff up!!

Our second living history event called Race of the Century happened on July 25th and 26th. A major part of this event is the exhibition of one of the oldest flying aircraft in the United States – a 1909 Bleriot. National Geographic TV had planned to document this incredible feat of early aviation. After all these years, it is a terrible shame that we could not fly this amazing machine for all to see.

This is just a sampling of the nefarious actions the Stow boards have created in their “selective” governance. We can’t begin to express our most deep disappointment in the town’s elected and appointed officials. What the heck is happening with this town? Is this the sign of things to come once our WWII Veterans are gone? According to the Stow Planning Board, anything that should be considered educational must have Planning Board approved curriculum and testing at the end.

Such a sad state of affairs. Are you as upset as we are with this? Contact the officials in the town of Stow and let them know what you think. As always, it is the people who support educational foundations like the Collings Foundation that make a difference.


The Collings Foundation’s North American TP-51C Mustang, a fully dual controlled version of the rare “razorback” P-51. Photo Credit: Fence Check

Board of Selectman: 978.897.4515

Town Administrator: 978.897.2927

Building commissioner: 978-897-2193

Zoning Board of Appeals: 978.897.8780

Any questions? Call me directly.

Hunter Chaney
Director of Marketing
Collings Foundation

Photo Credit:

Collings Foundation

Fence Check

Bill Fili- B-24 Engineer/ Top Turret Gunner, Ploesti Raid, POW


Crew of the B-24 Liberator “Destiny Deb”, Mr. Fili is second from the right, ront row.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Bill Fili at the Reading Airshow in Reading, Pennsylvania. Mr. Fili was a Sergeant in the Army Air Corp in the Second World War. Like many other young men of his time before political correctness, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in late 1941, he wanted to go and “Slap a yellow Jap!” Mr. Fili was trained by the Army Air Corp to be a top turret gunner and an engineer of the new and mighty B-24 Liberator. His training took him to from places such as Florida and Brazil. After his training was completed he shipped out for Tunisia. In southern Italy an airfield was captured by Allied powers for B-24’s to fly out of. Mr. Fili and his fellow crew members flew in a B-24D Liberator which they affectionately named “Destiny Deb”. Mr. Fili was a member of the 15 AF, 450th Bomb Group. In all he flew 34 missions over Germany and other parts of Europe, which as he said “were all close calls”. As Mr. Fili stated, “1/3 of all casualties in Europe were in the Army Air Corps.” Mr. Fili’s B-24 “Destiny Deb” went out on its last mission on April 24, 1944 on a mission over the Ploesti oil fields in Romania. Forced to bail out over Romania he was captured by the Germans who were waiting for him on the ground and was put in to a POW camp.
wbwbillfiliwwiiMr. Fili during WWII.

At the POW camp in Romania where Mr. Fili was being held there were many unsuccessful escape attempts. Prisoners tried to move from building to building. Some of Mr. Fili’s friends escaped, but said that the attempts were unsuccessful because those that did escape were recaptured because “they did everything we told them not to do”. Also, the Romanian people could tell Americans apart from the crowd by “the walk” that they had. A tunnel which had been dug by the prisoners was discovered by the Germans and was sealed off. Not long after all German soldiers were ordered to pull out of Romania. Mr. Fili felt “euphoria” at this news. The Germans refused to leave, because they were not properly prepared. They attempted to kill all of the POW’s, this lasted for 3 days. At the end of the 3 days none of the POW’s were killed. When it ended, all of the captured American POW’s were to be rescued.
Mr. Fili and his fellow POW’s received word from the 15 AF HQ that they were free and were to be rescued. Mr. Fili and the other former POW’s were located 400 miles behind the German lines. In order to rescue them, the bomb bays of B-17 Flying Fortresses were boarded up and used as transport planes. The B-17’s landed in a grass field near the airmen’s location. The B-17’s never shut their engines down. They carried 20 men per bomber. They evacuated 1120 British and American POWs over a two day period with zero causalities.
Once Mr. Fili was evacuated he and the other men he was with were sent back to bases in Italy then shipped back to the United States as fast as possible. Once back in the United States, because of his combat experience Mr. Fili became an instructor, until the end of the war. Like many who serve in the military Mr. Fili struggled while he was trying to rejoin civilian life, but eventually learned to cope.
Mr. Fili is a great guy, with amazing stories to tell. He is set on the education of the younger generations about what he and men like him did when the when duty and their country called to them. If you ever have the opportunity to meet and talk to Mr. Fili do not pass it up, it is a once in a life time experience to hear from one of America’s heroes.

wbwbillfili(current)Mr. Fili in present day, wearing his flight jacket and telling his story.


Image Credits: Mid Atlantic Air Musuem