The Collings Foundation is a private non-profit educational foundation located in Stow, Massachusetts, founded in 1979 by Robert F. Collings and Caroline Collings with a mission dedicated to the preservation and public display of transportation-related history, namely automobile and aviation history. The Collings Foundation is headquartered at a small private airfield in Stow that includes a small museum that opens for special events and pre-scheduled tour groups. On July 4, 2013, Military Vehicle Technology Foundation founded by Jacques Littlefield, donated their entire collection of military vehicles to the Collings Foundation. The vehicles are now the centerpiece of the new American Heritage Museum, located at the Collings campus in Stow.
The organization also has a satellite operations base in Houston, Texas, located at Ellington Field primarily housing the Korean War and Vietnam War jet aircraft and helicopter collection. The Collings Foundation operates two touring collections of historic military aircraft: The Wings of Freedom Tour and The Vietnam Memorial Flight. The Wings of Freedom flights also provided a platform for testing a smartphone-based Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast (ADS-B), a means of future air safety technology.
|Location||Stow, Massachusetts, United States|
|Type||Aviation Museum, Auto Museum|
|Director||Robert Collings, Jr.|
In 1944, U.S. Army pilot and artillery spotter [Major] Charles Carpenter was in France, fighting in the 4th Armored Division of Gen. George S. Patton’s 3rd Army, when he had a crazy idea...Carpenter strapped three bazookas under each wing of his 1944 Piper L-4H, a frail reconnaissance plane not typically used for combat, flew over the German army and blasted multiple Panzer tanks and armored cars north of the town of Nancy. It earned him the nickname “Bazooka Charlie.”...75 years later, the Piper L-4H — nicknamed “Rosie the Rocketer” — has found its way to a rural garage near La Pine, where it’s being restored by a retired engineer.
On October 2, 2019, a Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress owned by the Collings Foundation crashed at Bradley International Airport, Windsor Locks, Connecticut, United States. Seven of the thirteen people on board were killed, and the other six, as well as one person on the ground, were injured. The aircraft was destroyed by fire, with only the tail and a portion of one wing remaining.American Heritage Museum
The American Heritage Museum is a military history museum located on the grounds of the Collings Foundation in the town of Stow, Massachusetts, 21 miles west of Boston. The collection consists of over 100 artifacts, most of which were formerly part of Jacques Littlefield's Military Vehicle Technology Foundation collection in Silicon Valley. Over half of the items on display are from the World War II era, but World War I, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, Gulf War, Iraq War, and September 11, 2001 and the War on Terrorism are also represented. Most of the items on display are American, German, Russian, or British in origin.Collings
Collings may refer to:
Collings Lakes, New Jersey, area within parts of Buena Vista Township and Folsom Borough in Atlantic County, and Monroe Township, in Gloucester County, New Jersey, United States
Collingswood, New Jersey, Borough in Camden County, New Jersey, United StatesOthers
Collings Foundation, a private non-profit educational foundation dedicated to the preservation and public display of transportation-related historyFieseler Fi 156
The Fieseler Fi 156 Storch (English: Stork) was a small German liaison aircraft built by Fieseler before and during World War II. Production continued in other countries into the 1950s for the private market. It remains famous for its excellent STOL performance and low stall speed of 31 mph (50 kmph); French-built later variants often appear at air shows.Jacques Littlefield
Jacques Littlefield (November 21, 1949 – January 7, 2009) was the founder of the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation (MVTF), also called the Littlefield Collection.LCVP (United States)
The landing craft, vehicle, personnel (LCVP) or Higgins boat was a landing craft used extensively in amphibious landings in World War II. The craft was designed by Andrew Higgins based on boats made for operating in swamps and marshes. More than 23,358 were built, by Higgins Industries and licensees.Typically constructed from plywood, this shallow-draft, barge-like boat could ferry a roughly platoon-sized complement of 36 men to shore at 9 knots (17 km/h). Men generally entered the boat by climbing down a cargo net hung from the side of their troop transport; they exited by charging down the boat's lowered bow ramp. Taking the last letter of the LCVP designation, sailors often nicknamed the Higgins Boat the "Papa Boat" or "Peter Boat" to differentiate it from other landing craft such as the LCU and the LCM, with the LCM being called the "Mike Boat."List of surviving Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is an American four-engine heavy bomber used by the United States Army Air Forces and other Allied air forces during World War II. Of the 12,731 aircraft built, approximately 4,735 were lost during the War. Those that had flown in combat missions and survived the War were subsequently sent to boneyards, such as those at Walnut Ridge and Kingman, for smelting. Consequently, only five planes that survive today – 40-3097, 41-2446, 41-24485, 42-32076, and 44-8846 – claim combat provenance. The majority of survivors are planes that were built too late to see active service and then were used through the 1950s and 1960s in both military and civilian capacities. Many surviving examples are painted to represent actual planes that flew in combat. Today, 46 planes survive in complete form, 10 of which are airworthy, and 39 of which reside in the United States.List of surviving Consolidated B-24 Liberators
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator is an American four-engine heavy bomber used by the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) and other allied air forces during World War II. Of the 19,256 aircraft built, 13 complete examples survive today, two of which are airworthy. Eight of the thirteen aircraft reside in the United States.List of surviving Curtiss P-40s
The Curtiss P-40 was an American single-engine, single-seat, all-metal fighter and ground attack aircraft. Flown by the air forces of 28 nations, when production of the P-40 ceased in November 1944, 13,738 had been built.List of surviving Lockheed P-38 Lightnings
The Lockheed P-38 Lighting is an American two-engine fighter used by the United States Army Air Forces and other Allied air forces during World War II. Of the 10,037 planes built, 26 survive today, 22 of which are located in the United States, and 10 of which are airworthy.List of surviving Vought F4U Corsairs
List of surviving Vought F4U Corsairs identifies Corsairs with status of air worthy, on display, and in restoration by country; including model number, bureau number, fuselage markings, and location.M56 Scorpion
The M56 Scorpion is an American unarmored, airmobile self-propelled anti-tank gun, which was armed with a 90mm M54 gun with a simple blast shield, and an unprotected crew compartment.McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II
The McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II is a tandem two-seat, twin-engine, all-weather, long-range supersonic jet interceptor and fighter-bomber originally developed for the United States Navy by McDonnell Aircraft. It first entered service in 1960 with the Navy. Proving highly adaptable, it was also adopted by the United States Marine Corps and the United States Air Force, and by the mid-1960s had become a major part of their air arms.The Phantom is a large fighter with a top speed of over Mach 2.2. It can carry more than 18,000 pounds (8,400 kg) of weapons on nine external hardpoints, including air-to-air missiles, air-to-ground missiles, and various bombs. The F-4, like other interceptors of its time, was initially designed without an internal cannon. Later models incorporated an M61 Vulcan rotary cannon. Beginning in 1959, it set 15 world records for in-flight performance, including an absolute speed record and an absolute altitude record.The F-4 was used extensively during the Vietnam War. It served as the principal air superiority fighter for the U.S. Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps and became important in the ground-attack and aerial reconnaissance roles late in the war. During the Vietnam War, one U.S. Air Force pilot, two weapon systems officers (WSOs), one U.S. Navy pilot and one radar intercept officer (RIO) became aces by achieving five aerial kills against enemy fighter aircraft. The F-4 continued to form a major part of U.S. military air power throughout the 1970s and 1980s, being gradually replaced by more modern aircraft such as the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon in the U.S. Air Force, the F-14 Tomcat in the U.S. Navy, and the F/A-18 Hornet in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps.
The F-4 Phantom II remained in use by the U.S. in the reconnaissance and Wild Weasel (Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses) roles in the 1991 Gulf War, finally leaving service in 1996. It was also the only aircraft used by both U.S. flight demonstration teams: the United States Air Force Thunderbirds (F-4E) and the United States Navy Blue Angels (F-4J). The F-4 was also operated by the armed forces of 11 other nations. Israeli Phantoms saw extensive combat in several Arab–Israeli conflicts, while Iran used its large fleet of Phantoms, acquired before the fall of the Shah, in the Iran–Iraq War. Phantom production ran from 1958 to 1981, with a total of 5,195 built, making it the most produced American supersonic military aircraft. As of 2018, 60 years after its first flight, the F-4 remains in service with Iran, Japan, South Korea, Greece, and Turkey. The aircraft has most recently been in service against the Islamic State group in the Middle East.Military Vehicle Technology Foundation
The Military Vehicle Technology Foundation was a large collection of military vehicles located in Portola Valley, California, USA. It was founded in 1975 by Jacques Littlefield, and now is under the direction of Bill Boller.
The first acquisition was an unrestored M3A1 Scout Car. The first two tanks arrived on site in 1983, and by 1988 the collection comprised five armored vehicles. Subsequent military vehicles and associated equipment were acquired from dealers, collectors, or in trade with various museums or government agencies in the United States and abroad. By the middle of the 1990s the collection included examples from almost all historically significant land battles of the last half-century. The oldest armored military vehicle in the collection is a World War I era M1917 light tank.The Foundation was established in early 1998. Littlefield's major objective for the Foundation was to preserve the collection for the future. Over 200 armored fighting vehicles are present in the collection. The foundation offers tours of its collection. In July 2014, tours were available with a mandatory donation until the inventory was transported to the new museum in Stow.In 2012 the foundation started a new program in conjunction with the Boy Scouts of America to start the youth Venturing Crew 551. Crew 551's stated goals were to assist in the restoration of vehicles, and to help educate the public through tours and presentations about the significance of armored vehicles throughout history.The foundation signed over its collection to the Collings Foundation on July 4, 2013. A year later, the Collings Foundation auctioned off 120 of the vehicles to fund creation of the new American Heritage Museum to display the collection at the Collings Foundation headquarters in Stow, Massachusetts.In 2015, the Stow Planning Board questioned the educational merit of the proposed museum. The educational purpose was needed in order to allow the planned 60,000-square-foot (5,600 m2) museum to be built on land that was zoned for residential use. The Planning Board rejected the foundation's application in August 2015 but a settlement was eventually reached in July 2017 and construction of the museum was completed in 2018. The museum held a "preview" opening in October 2018 and will open fully in April 2019. The MVTF officially closed for tours in March 25, 2018. The last of the vehicles left the premises on July 30, 2018.Nine-O-Nine
Nine-O-Nine was a Boeing B-17G-30-BO Flying Fortress heavy bomber, of the 323rd Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group, that completed 140 combat missions during World War II, believed to be the Eighth Air Force record for most missions, without loss to the crews that flew it. A different B-17G, painted to mimic the Nine-O-Nine, crashed at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut in October 2019.North American A-36 Apache
The North American A-36 Apache (listed in some sources as "Invader", but also called Mustang) was the ground-attack/dive bomber version of the North American P-51 Mustang, from which it could be distinguished by the presence of rectangular, slatted dive brakes above and below the wings. A total of 500 A-36 dive bombers served in the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia theaters during World War II before being withdrawn from operational use in 1944.Stow, Massachusetts
Stow is a town in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States. The town is located 21 miles west of Boston, in the MetroWest region of Massachusetts. The population was 6,590 at the 2010 census. Stow was officially incorporated in 1683 with an area of approximately 40 square miles. Over centuries it gave up land as newer, smaller towns were created, ceding land to Harvard (1732), Shirley (1765), Boxborough (1783), Hudson (1866) and Maynard (1871). Stow now has an area of 18.1 square miles (47 km2). With the exception of factories at Assabet Village and Rock Bottom (later Maynard and Gleasondale), Stow was primarily sparsely settled farm and orchard land until the 1950s.Violet Cowden
Violet "Vi" Cowden (October 1, 1916 – April 10, 2011) was an American aviator who served as a member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) during World War II. Cowden was one of the surviving members of the 1,074 WASPs, who were the first women to fly American military planes.Cowden was born Violet Thurn and raised on a farm in Bowdle South Dakota. She taught first grade students in Spearfish, South Dakota.Cowden was issued her pilot's license before the United States entered World War II. She initially enlisted in the a volunteer women's emergency service program following the Attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. However, before her basic training began, Cowden joined another all women's program created by Jacqueline Cochran and General Hap Arnold through the Army Air Corps, which came to be called the Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASP. However, Cowden who weighed only 92 pounds and stood at just 5-feet-2-inches tall at the time, was too short and too light to join the WASPs. To quickly gain weight she ate bananas and drank milk and to make herself taller she tied a wrap in her hair. She successfully gained the eight additional pounds and two inches needed to enlist.Cowden was commissioned as a member of the WASPs in March 1943. She successfully flew her first solo flight on March 5, 1943.The WASPs, including Cowden, became the first women in US history to pilot American military planes. Cowden and other members of WASP did not see combat during World War II. Their mission was to fly military planes from domestic military factories to training sites or military bases in the United States. Cowden became one of only 114 WASP to fly the fighter planes during the war, including the P-47 Thunderbolt, P-39 AiraCobra, P-63 Kingcobra, and her favorite and the "love of her life," the P-51 Mustang.
Cowden, a long-time resident of Huntington Beach, California, remained very active in community affairs throughout her life. She served as the Grand Marshal of Huntington Beach's Independence Day parade. Cowden was also a member of the board of directors for the Bolsa Chica Land Trust and participated in the city's Veterans Day celebration and beach restorations. She participated in "Living History" in which World War II veterans gave speeches and presentations at high schools in southern California. and was on the Board of Directors at the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California where they display many of the fighter planes that she flew during World War II and now display her WASP uniform.
Cowden was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2010, as one of only 300 surviving members of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. Supporters had lobbied for the recognition for WASP for more than a decade. She was also the subject of the 2010 independent film, Wings of Silver: The Vi Cowden Story, directed by Mark & Christine Bonn. Among the 10 awards that her film won was the Audience Award for short films at the Newport Beach Film Festival in 2010. (in less than a year it won 5 Audience Awards and 5 Best Documentary Short awards from film festivals around North America).
Cowden went skydiving with the elite Army Golden Knights when she was 89 years old. On her 90th birthday she decided to go paragliding. In 2010, Cowden took part in an aerial mock dogfight over Fullerton Municipal Airport in Orange County, California. And in 2009 she again flew in the Collings Foundation P-51c Mustang, co-piloting and taking the stick for take off, landing & some fast flying in between.
Violet Cowden died at 8:34 p.m. on April 10, 2011, at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California, at the age of 94.