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Wed, Dec 06, 2023

Collings Foundation Grounds Aircraft for Good

Difficulties in Running a Warbird Fleet Not Worth it After Fatal B-17 Crash

The Collings Foundation have announced an end to their flying WWII aircraft wing, deciding to ground all aircraft and intern them on display at the American Heritage Museum.

The turning point appears to be the October 2020 crash of "Nine-O-Nine", a B-17 that saw the deaths of 7 in the process. In the years since, a worsening economy and the continual passage of government-trained WWII mechanics have been taking their toll, making it harder to find qualified personnel to both maintain and fly the vintage aircraft. Given the obstacles, the Collings Foundation is throwing in the towel, deciding to put their fleet to sleep in the cozy hangars of their American Heritage Museum. The decision is a sad one for aviation enthusiasts, but probably great news for the insurers of the Collings roster.

The Wings of Freedom Tour launched in 1989, allowing fans around the country to see, hear, and even ride the vintage warbirds in a rare experience among airshow visitors. Initially, the Foundation boasted a fleet of 7, but today holds fighting planes from every era across 50 different types.

“The Wings of Freedom tour played a critical role in inspiring future generations of aviators, engineers, and historians,” said a Collings Foundation article. “The close encounter with these historic aircraft ignited a passion for aviation in countless individuals, some of whom went on to pursue careers in this field. As we transition the Tour, the Collings Foundation is comforted by what the tour has given to so many.”



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