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David Arthur Collings

March 10, 1934 ~ February 13, 2021 (age 86)


David Arthur Collings, aeronautical and acoustical engineer, avid sailor, husband, father and grandfather, died February 13, 2021 at his home in Trumbull with family around him.   


David was born on March 10th, 1934  in Birkenhead, England.  The son of Wilfred and Elizabeth (Thomas) Collings, David attended Park High School in Birkenhead, England, then joined a five-year Aeronautical Engineering Apprenticeship with the A.V. Roe Company in Manchester, England, earning a Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering.   


After his education, David joined the A.V. Roe Weapons Research Division as a stress analyst, working on the Blue Steel missile program for the Vulcan Bomber.  In 1959, he joined the newly formed Light Aircraft Division at Short Brothers and Harland in Belfast, N. Ireland where he worked on the prototype "Skyvan" light freight aircraft.  Subsequently, David  joined Beagle Aircraft in Farnborough, England, where he worked on some experimental devices for the Institute of Aviation Medicine and the Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment. A few years later, David was contracted to work with the Swiss-American Aircraft Corporation in Switzerland, helping Bill Lear convert a Swiss fighter aircraft into the world's first business jet, the Lear Jet.


In 1960 David married Gillian Gitsham.  In 1966 David and Gillian and their children emigrated to America, settling in Trumbull.  David was employed at Sikorsky Aircraft where he worked on innovative ways of using new materials to make better helicopters.  In 1970 David joined the Industrial Acoustics Company in the Bronx, New York.  He left the company in 1998 after reaching the position of Vice President for Research and Development.  David then ran his own consulting company, Sound Engineering Services, until recent years.  


For many years, David kept his boat, Hilbre Island, at Milford Boat Works.  He was a regular volunteer as an escort boat for the St. Vincent Medical Center’s Swim Across the Sound  fundraiser.  In his earlier years, David enjoyed gliding, and was a gliding instructor with the AVRO Gliding Club. He and Gillian frequently visited their home country and enjoyed staying in Strontian, Scotland where they owned a second home. 


David is survived by his wife of 60 years, Gillian (Gitsham) Collings, and his children, Jeremy Collings and his wife Stephanie Leaphart, of East Hampton, CT,  Sarah Block and her husband Robert Block of Cherry Hill, NJ, Deborah Philip and her husband Harvey Philip, of Ardgour, Scotland, and Abigail Lewis-Bowen and her husband Alister Lewis-Bowen, of Cambridge, MA.  He is also survived by his sister Anne Collings of Birkenhead, England. 


David was a proud grandfather of:  Jasmine, Jaylencia, Benjamin, Nathaniel, David, Hamish, Harriet and Thomas.   He also loved his granddogs; Alex, Jinjer, Charlotte and Max. 


In lieu of flowers, friends may consider a donation in David’s memory to  St. Vincent’s Medical Center Swim Across the Sound foundation.

A celebration of David’s life will be held in August after the Swim Across the Sound event. For information or to leave an online condolence, please visit


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of David Arthur Collings, please visit our floral store.


Services are to be announced


Swim Across the Sound
2800 Main Street, Bridgeport CT 06606
Tel: 1-203-576-5451

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