Classic Jets Fighter Museum – Vought F4U-1 Corsair Restoration Update 2018

During a recent visit to Adelaide in South Australia I couldn’t miss revisiting the Classic Jets Fighter Museum at Parafield Airport to catch up on their restoration of a very rare Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) which is one of only two early “birdcage canopy” Corsairs in existence. It was the 124th example produced by Vought.

Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270)restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018

In 1944 this F4U-1 was flying with the United States Marine Corps in Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 321 (VMF-321) “Hells Angels“. On May 5th, 1944 pilot Captain James Vittitoe was returning from a bomber escort training mission but after 4 hours and 12 minutes of flying and low on fuel, he and two other pilots in F4U’s had to force land into a salt water lagoon near the island of Efate in the New Hebrides (now Vanuatu) in the South Pacific. The guns and any reusable parts from the Corsair were removed after the incident and then the aircraft sat in shallow water for the next 65 years heavily exposed to the elements, vandalised and often raided by souvenir hunters.

By 2009 just the heavily corroded centre section, engine and the entire wing remained in salvageable condition (the rest of the fuselage had been cut away by someone years before hand and was long gone). Although corroded, many useful parts could be used in the restoration of this Corsair. Bob Jarrett the director of Classic Jets Fighter Museum made suitable arrangements with the owner of the land where the wreck sat and the Vanuatu government to recover the wreck and ship it to Parafield Airport.

Classic Jets Fighter Museum photos on their Corsair progress from 2008 to 2015 Parafield Airport South Australia
Classic Jets Fighter Museum photos on their Corsair progress from 2008 to 2015

I first saw the makings of this Corsair restoration project in February 2011. Back then it was just sectional components of the airframe, much of it still corroded (including the wings) and other sections were refabricated including airframe skin and parts to replace those too badly corroded, damaged or missing.

Corroded and re-fabrication parts and components of the Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia February 2011
Corroded and re-fabrication parts and components of the Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia February 2011
Corroded and re-fabricated wings of the Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia February 2011
Corroded and re-fabricated wings and the cockpit windshield frame of the Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia February 2011

I was pleased to see the great restoration progress that had been made by April 2017 (see my earlier post here). Now, over a year later, a number of visible updates are immediately noticeable including the addition of the undercarriage, the cockpit windshield frame and small sections of the forward airframe skin.

Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration April 2017 vs September 2018 – Parafield Airport, South Australia
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration April 2017 vs September 2018 – Parafield Airport, South Australia
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration April 2017 vs September 2018 – Parafield Airport, South Australia
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
It’s great to see that all the components that were being restored, refabricated etc. in 2011 are now part of the Corsair again – – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
The wing restoration continues on the Corsair – Classic Jets Fighter Museum, Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair Birdcage restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Its great to see the undercarriage now on the Vought F4U-1 Corsair at Classic Jets Fighter Museum – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Although there will be no guns actually fitted, the F4U-1 Corsair was armed with 6 x 0.50 calibre M2 Browning wing mounted machine guns – Classic Jets Fighter Museum, Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018

The engine cowling and restored Pratt & Whitney R2800 Double Wasp 18 cylinder radial engine are currently displayed in front of the airframe. Nearby you will find the restored cockpit interior and control panel in a mockup display.

Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
I look forward to the next time I see the Corsair with the Pratt & Whitney R2800 Double Wasp 18 cylinder radial engine rejoined to the fuselage – Classic Jets Fighter Museum, Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
The Pratt & Whitney R2800 Double Wasp 18 cylinder radial engine of the F4U-1 Corsair – Classic Jets Fighter Museum, Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Pratt & Whitney R2800 Double Wasp 18 cylinder radial engine Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Pratt & Whitney R2800 Double Wasp 18 cylinder radial engine and a prop blade – Classic Jets Fighter Museum, Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
The big inverted gull wing of the Corsair was designed to enable suitable ground clearance for the big propeller – Classic Jets Fighter Museum -Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
The restored cockpit interior and control panel are in a mockup display alongside the F4U-1 Corsair – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
The cockpit and nose restoration of the Vought F4U-1 Corsair – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Piece by piece – Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair (Bu. 02270) restoration – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018
The Classic Jets Fighter Museum Vought F4U-1 Corsair restoration has made great progress – – Parafield Airport, South Australia September 2018

The static restoration was intended to be a 10 year project. At the current rate of work, the 2019 target date is looking on track.

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Classic Jets Fighter Museum – Vought F4U-1 Corsair Restoration Update 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.