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

Great News From the Collings Foundation

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 WarbirdRadio.com here