CJFM's Corsair Arrives

     Classic Jets Fighter Museum has salvaged a WWII Corsair. This fighter is Vought F4U-1 Corsair, 02270 which forced landed, in a lagoon, out of fuel, near Quoin hill airfield on the north coast of Vanuatu island of Efate on May 5, 1944.

     The Corsair was flown by Capt. James A.Vittitoe who force landed the Corsair after four hours and twelve minutes of flight. His was one of twelve Corsairs escorting thirty six SBD's on a bomber training mission, and as well as his force landing, two other F4U Corsairs were lost.

     The fuselage was removed many years ago and although the remaining outer wings and centre section are badly corroded, ( Sixty five years in the lagoon certainly hasn’t improved their condition!! ), they serve as a good basis for a static rebuilt Corsair. Permission was sought and approved from the Vanuatu Cultural Centre to export the Corsair, along with a satisfactory financial arrangement with the Corsairs land owner.

     As the restoration of the CJFM's Bell P-39 Airacobra A53-12 came to a close, individual CJFM volunteers transferred to the Corsair as their work on the P-39 concluded. The first stage was to build up of the new outer wings.

Click on any image to enlarge.

The F4U-1 Corsair 02270 ran out of fuel on the downward leg to land at Quion hill fighter strip and was put down safely in the adjoining lagoon. After pilot Capt. James Vittitoe was brought ashore the guns and usable equipment were removed from the Corsair and then it was abandoned in the lagoon.
The F4U-1's outer wings and centre section were thoroughly cleaned for AQIS inspection and release before removal to the Classic Jets Fighter Museum.
Although badly corroded the Corsair's centre section will serve as a reference with all usable components being incorporated in the Corsair restoration project.
The port outer wing was placed in a jig for study and reference to reproduce new wing components.
Construction has commenced on a pair of new outer wing assemblies. It is early times with a lot to learn about restoring a Corsair. Forming tools are being made and materials have been bought into stock.
Starboard traling edge made using the original corroded wing as a template.
Tailplane from another Corsair (right) was borrowed so that we were able to replicate it.
The small beginnings of a very large job. Work commences on the front section of the fuselage
The spar is attached to the front of the fuselage to check fit and alignment.
Port wing offerred up to the spar to check fit and alignment