The Collings Foundation of Stow, Massachusetts has been on a bit of a fighter acquisition spree of late. As we recently reported, the foundation has taken possession of two Focke-Wulf Fw 190s, one is presently being restored to flying condition and the foundation has indicated that they will be restoring the other Fw 190 as well.
Also new to the collection are a pair of Grumman Fighters, an FM-2 Wildcat and an F6F-3 Hellcat. The Hellcat, BuNo 41476, has been sent to American Aero Services of New Smyrna Beach, Florida and is undergoing restoration to airworthy condition. The plane was previously owned by The National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC) in Quantico, Virginia, but had been on loan and displayed at the Evergreen Aviation Educational Institute in McMinnville, Oregon, for the past eight years. The Collings Foundation traded their one of only two surviving Boeing FB-5 fighters for the Hellcat. The FB-5 will go on display in a new inter-war gallery which is scheduled to open at NMMC in 2018.
The Grumman Wildcat, BuNo 86680/N1 1 FE has recently arrived at the Foundation’s Stow Facility and is already in flying condition. The plane is an FM-2 variant, built by Eastern Aircraft/General Motors and owned for the past 30 years by Richard “Dick” Foote who was the Chief Experimental Test Pilot for the FM-2 at Eastern Aircraft. Foote passed away in 2009 at the age of 89.