Back in late February, American Aero Services held one of its monthly Winter Open Houses to allow aviation fans to visit the going’s on at their shop. The restoration and maintenance rooms were open for all to walk about to include the tarmac which had the two biggest draws for the crowd. This is where the Collings Foundation’s B-17 and B-24 were sitting.
The day was dreary but the crowd was large, probably the most I have seen at one of the open houses. Visitors were asked to bring a donation for the local animal shelter and there was a lot of dog food being dropped off. The grills were cooking hamburgers and veterans telling stories.
It seemed to be a good time had by all.
American Aero Services performs the winter maintenance on the Colling’s fleet of airplanes before they do a short tour around Florida and they come back to New Smyrna for one last maintenance stop before heading across America.
Maintenance was being done on the B-17 “Nine O’ Nine”, the B-24 “Witchcraft” and P-51C “Betty Jane”. Restorations being done includes the Colling’s P-51D, F6F Hellcat and Fw190, as well as Stinson L-1 and a F-86 Sabre.
Other aircraft at the shop included the Collings F4U-5NL Corsair, a TBM and T-26 Trojan along with a lot of boxes and frames with parts.
If you are in town during one of the winter months, watch for the open hangar day announcements.