Honor The Blues- Happy 70th Anniversary

What’s New at the Collings Foundation?

North American TF-51D Mustang “Toulouse Nuts”

The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D Mustang has been undergoing an extensive rebuild back to original condition.  This TF-51D is about a month away from its first flight. It is slated to join the Collings Foundation’s Wings of Freedom Tour for 2016 and will be available for flight training.

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Curtiss P-40B Warhawk

This P-40 was formerly owned by Stephen Grey’s Fighter Collection based in Duxford, UK, before arriving to the Collings Foundation.  This P-40B is one of the few surviving aircraft of the Pearl Harbor Attack.   This P-40B underwent repairs and was repainted following a landing gear failure in November 2014. The Foundation’s P-40’s repairs were completed and it was successfully test flown by Steve Hinton and is ready to go for the 2016 airshow season.

 

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Grumman F6F Hellcat

The Collings Foundation’s Hellcat is an F6F-3 model, Bu. 41476.  This Hellcat served with the U.S. Navy in WWII.  Formerly owned by the USMC Museum in Quantico, VA and displayed at the Evergreen Aviation Museum.  Since being acquired by the Collings Foundation, this F6F has been undergoing a full restoration back to airworthy condition at American Aero Services in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.  Seen here this Hellcat is being prepped for paint.  Full History

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Photo Credit: Jim Harley

Cavanaugh Flight Museum Adds Another Skyraider

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The Cavanaugh Flight Museum’s newly acquired Douglas AD-6 Skyraider

The Cavanaugh Flight Museum located in Addison, Texas recently announced that they have added a second Douglas Skyraider to their collection.  The museum already owns an AD-5W Skyraider Bureau No. 135152, which they give rides in.  The recent addition is an AD-6 (A-1H) Skyraider s/n 139606.

 

This AD-6 is one of only two -6 Skyraiders currently airworthy in the world, an unlike the museum’s AD-5 this Skyraider is a single seat model.  This AD-6 Skyraider served with the South Vietnamese Air Force and was recovered from Thailand by Yesterday’s Airforce in 1980.  After passing through a

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Photo Credit: Courtesy Aircraft  

few owners it was rebuild to fly by Steve Hinton’s Fighter Rebuilders in Chino, CA in 1989.  This AD-6 was recently sold through Courtesy Aircraft Sales to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum in early 2016.  The Cavanaugh Flight Museum said, it is “…look(ing) forward to having two Skyraider’s in the air at Warbirds Over Addison, May 21-22.” If you are in the area, check it out!

 

New SBD For USMC Museum

12715752_10153572055422880_2483914366204617610_nThe National Museum of the United States Marine Corps recently added a Douglas SBD-3 Dauntless to their collection of aircraft.  This Dauntless was recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan, where it sank after a carrier qualification incident aboard the USS Wolverine in 1943.  The restoration was carried out by the National Marine Corps Museum’s restoration team, along with Century Aviation.  This is a great addition to an already world class museum.  The museum is currently closed for renovations and is scheduled to reopen in April 2016.  Further additions to the museum are set to be completed by 2017.

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For more information visit National USMC Museum’s website and check them out on Facebook

Photo Credit: National Museum of the United States Marine Corps

 

CAF PBJ-1 Closer To Flight

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CAF SoCal Wing’s USMC PBJ-1 Mitchell

The Commemorative Air Force’s Southern California Wing has been working to restore the last USMC PBJ-1 Mitchell to flyable condition for the past 22 years.  On December 19, 2015 the PBJ-1 fired up her engines, completing a big step toward first flight.  However the CAF SoCal Wing still needs to raise $50,000 in order to install the instruments and communication systems, necessary to fly. (Click to donate to the project)  The taxi tests will begin after the holidays and first flight should follow soon after.  Check back soon for more updates. For more information about the PBJ-1 Mitchell and its restoration visit CAF SoCal

 

 

Photo Credit: CAF SoCal Wing

Article Written By: Thomas Reilly

The Last Liberator Film Project

b-24cf“This is not simply the story of the B-24 Liberator, but the story of the men and women who designed, built, maintained and flew it. If is the story of a Nation united, allies focused and determined. It is the story of thousands of individuals who played their parts in defeating an enemy.  Its story is but one powerful symbol that illustrates the story of victory”

“The Collings Foundation, a non-profit, Educational Foundation (501c-3) has recovered and restored many of the true landmark aircraft that built the world aviation history, in order to meet its mission of organizing and supporting living history events that enable Americans to learn more about their heritage through direct participation.

Included in their collection is the world’s only flying B-24J , which continues soaring through its native skies as part of the annual Wings of Freedom Tour with its sister ship, the B-17 Flying Fortress.

Now, with a mission of capturing the recollections of the real people behind the machines, the Collings Foundation, in conjunction with Inversion Films and Inland Sea Productions is proud to present The Last Liberator a one-of-a-kind story of World War II as told through the eyes of veterans who were responsible for building and flying the Liberator. The foundation and the producers are determined to capture their story in their own words and marry those memories to the most powerful medium on the planet, the giant screen theater, creating a legacy that will engage all Americans in remembering, learning and honoring.  It will indelibly sear their lessons in the archives of American heroism.

When executed properly, with accuracy and authenticity as the overriding mission, the marriage of the highest caliber information with the state-of the art tools of entertainment deliver a powerful and relevant tool in education. The Last Liberator is an edutainment program, designed to reach today’s audiences on multiple levels, many times, in an accurate and lasting manner. It will be a catalyst for ongoing learning and leave an indelible mark on the viewer.”

To help the make this project successful, make a tax deductible donation to the Collings Foundation  and for more information visit The Last Liberator.

Photo Credit: Collings Foundation

Information Credit: Collings Foundation/ The Last Liberator

AirCorps Aviation: AirCorps Library

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AirCorps Aviation recently launched a paid website subscription service that gives the Warbird restorer and the enthusiast access to over 500,000 searchable micro-film drawings.  It is called AirCorps Library.

“AirCorps Library is a collection of WWII and legacy aircraft resource easily viewable in one place. The searchable drawings and blueprints, as well as design, flight, maintenance and restoration manuals, are quickly accessible at high-resolution. AirCorps Aviation’s research and effort to organize these resources for our restoration projects has led us to establish this library that you can now take advantage of as well.

The goal of the program is to provide a cost effective system for users to share resources that will help promote, preserve, and keep WWII and legacy aircraft safely flying through the 21st century.”

 

AirCorps Library has complete drawings for:

Fighters: P-51 Mustang, P-40 Warhawk, P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt, Corsair, F6F Hellcat, F8F Bearcat

Bombers: B-17 Flying Fortress, B-25 Mitchell, TBM Avenger

Classics: T-6 Texan, Stearman, Grumman Duck, Howard DGA, Staggerwing, BT-13 Vultee

 

Visit: AirCorps Library and follow them on Facebook

 

Photo Credit: AirCorp Aviation/ AirCorp Library

Information Excerpted From: AirCorps Library

Collings Foundation Continues To Grow

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The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” while in service with the West Virginia Air Guard, 167th Fighter Squadron.

The Collings Foundation is continuing to expand it’s collection of WWII aircraft since it recently acquired second B-17G for their collection “Shady Lady”, a P-38L Lightning, a Bf-109 G-10, and  a second P-40 Warhawk in August 2015. (See article here) The Foundation’s North American TF-51D is nearing completion and also they recently acquired a very rare Pt-17 Stearman operated by the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.

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The Collings Foundation’s TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” under restoration at American Aero Services in New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

The Collings Foundation’s North American TF-51D ‘Toulouse Nuts’, will be joining the National Wings of Freedom Tour in 2016.  The Collings Foundation says that their TF-51D is one of the finest restored to date, “…tens of thousands of hours went into rebuilding this fighter to ‘brand new’ condition. Every surface, rivet, wire and instrument is perfect. The 1450 hp Merlin engine looks like it just came off the factory floor”.  The Foundation’s example of the TF-51D is one of three original survivors in the world, and will be painted in its original colors, “…as a West Virginia Air Guard, 167th Fighter Squadron P-51 called ‘Toulouse Nuts’ “.  “The TF-51D model is a unique Mustang variant with a full dual cockpit and bubble canopy. Following in the footsteps of the Foundation’s beloved P-51C Mustang “Betty Jane,” the new TF-51D “Toulouse Nuts” will be available for flight training during the national Wings of Freedom Tour. Imagine flying the legendary P-51 Mustang as it had just rolled out of TEMCO / North American Aviation!”

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The Collings Foundation’s newly acquired PT-17 Stearman, operated by the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.

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The Collings Foundation’s Stearman was flown by Tuskegee Institute Field Instructor James J. Hyett on several training flights during WWII.

The Foundation, also recently acquired the only flyable PT-17 Stearman operated by the Tuskegee Airmen s/n 41-25454.  The only other example is on static display in the Smithsonian.  According to the Collings Foundation, “the U.S. Army accepted the aircraft from Boeing’s Wichita Division in 1942. It was transferred to Tuskegee Institute Field, Alabama in 1943…In November, 1944 this Stearman was sent to Bush Field, Augusta where it was stricken from U.S. Army records and moved to the Reconstruction Finance Corporation for sale”.  This Stearman was transferred to the Collings Foundation in 2015, after undergoing a meticulous restoration by Joseph Armstrong of Towanda, Pennsylvania to brand new condition.  The Collings Foundation plans to operate this Stearman to honor the Tuskegee Airmen and, “… to those who overcame racial discrimination and persevered against adversaries to become one of the greatest fighter pilot groups in United States history. The Tuskegee are credited with some 15,500 combat sorties and earned over 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses for their achievements during WWII”.

 

Information Credit: Collings Foundation

Photo Credit: Collings Foundation

Article Written By: Thomas Reilly

Hangar 11: P-40 and Hurricane Update

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Hangar 11 Collection’s P-40M “LuLu Belle” in flight. Photo Credit: Platinum Fighters Sales

The Hangar 11 Collection based out of North Weald in the UK recently listed their pristine examples of the Hawker Hurricane IIb and Curtiss P-40M for sale through Platinum Fighters Sales.  Although this is a big surprise for Warbird enthusiasts in the UK, Peter Teichman at the Hangar 11 Collection explained that,  “it isn’t a quick process to sell aircraft of this type, so I am not counting on any disruption to our 2016 season. We are very relaxed sellers and are under no pressure until the right home is found for the P40 and Hurribomber”.  Mr. Tiechman said that the reason for the sale was in order to focus their resources toward the completion of their rare MK IX Russian Spitfire PT879, which the collection needs hangar space for.  Since Mr. Tiechman began the Hangar 11 Collection in 1999, not only has he amassed an impressive collection of Warbirds, but a collection that has set the standard of high quality restorations.  The Warbird Watcher will keep you up to date as more information becomes available and as the futures of the collection’s Hurricane and P-40 are decided.

Credit: Hangar 11 Collection and Platinum Fighters

Article Written By: Thomas Reilly

The Berlin Airlift Foundation- Angel of Deliverance

The Berlin Airlift Foundation was founded in 1988, to preserve the mission of the Berlin Airlift which operated between 1948 and 1949.  The Berlin Airlift provided supplies to people in West Berlin, after the Soviet Union cut of all forms of travel into and out of the city on June 24, 1948, depriving people of necessary goods.  The first American and British planes arrived in West Berlin on June 26, 1948 and provided nourishment and other necessities to 2 million citizens of West Berlin.  They did this for almost a year.  In total, “200,000 planes carried in more than two-and-a-half million tons of supplies”, to people in West Berlin.  The foundation started with a Douglas C-54E Skymaster project, which they restored to flyable condition and display at airshows along the east coast.  In 1996 the Berlin Airlift Foundation acquired a Boeing C-97G Stratofreighter, which they have been meticulously restoring since.

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Berlin Airlift Foundation’s C-54 ‘Spirit of Freedom’ in flight

In June of 2015 a huge milestone was reached when all four engines were run.  At this point systems are being fine tuned and, its first flight should be taking place in the near future, adding a rare and unique warbird back to flying status.  The Berlin Airlift Foundation said that they, “…plan to operate the “Angel of Deliverance” as a “flying museum, and classroom,”, in the same manner as we do with our Douglas C-54, “Spirit of Freedom”, We plan to tell the story of the Cold War, from the Berlin Airlift of 1948 to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.”  These events, “…will be represented as part of a timeline-oriented display throughout the fuselage of the aircraft.  It will be augmented by artifacts, photographs, personal experiences, and it will be all be housed in the hull of a true Cold Warrior, a former KC-97.  The KC-97 helped the USAF maintain a ’round the clock’ presence in the air by becoming the first real air-to-air refueler.” The Warbird Watcher will be standing by to provide coverage when the first flight takes place.

 

Credit: Berlin Airlift Foundation

Photo Credit: Berlin Airlift Foundation

Article Written By: Thomas Reilly