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Stunning FG-1D Corsair Has Sights on Oshkosh
April 23, 2015 - Corsairs are among the most beautiful and distinctive warbirds to emerge from the World War II era, and this year EAA AirVenture Oshkosh attendees will have an opportunity to see a striking example. A FG-1D Corsair from Olympic Flight Museum of Olympia, Washington, will fly to Wittman Regional Airport for an early-week arrival (exact date to be determined) and will be on display for the duration of the July 20-26 fly-in convention. The Goodyear-built Corsair has not been to Oshkosh since it was brought here by its former owner, the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, which owned the aircraft in the 1970s-1990s.
Restoration manager and museum board member Brad Pilgrim calls it the “prettiest, most perfect Corsair” he’s ever seen. “Only the radios are different from the original, other than some slight engine mods,” he said. “Otherwise she’s bone stock.”
The Goodyear Aircraft Corporation in Akron, Ohio, delivered the airplane, BuNo 92436, to the U.S. Navy on July 10, 1945 – too late for combat action during WWII. It was placed with the Marine Carrier Aircraft Service Unit 1 (MARCASU1) at Marine Corps Air Station Ewa (MCAS EWA) in Pearl Harbor and was immediately assigned to Marine Fighting Squadron 213 (VMF-213).
The airplane was shipped back to Naval Air Station San Diego in April 1946 for reconditioning and repairs before being assigned to the Naval Air Reserve Training Command at Squantum, Massachusetts. In later years it served in various Naval Reserve squadrons including Florida, Colorado, Texas, Michigan, and Seattle before final assignment at NAS Dallas. In February 1954 BuNo 92436 went into storage at Litchfield Park, Arizona.
In October 1959 the Corsair was purchased by Alumet Smelters of Long Beach, California for $485.67, but was “rescued” from the scrap yard by Ed Maloney, founder of the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Chino, California, for $650. The Desert Aviation Company, of Las Vegas, acquired the Corsair in 1972 and a year later was acquired by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Ontario.
After participating in numerous air shows through 1998, CWH sold the Corsair to a private owner, Brian Reynolds, who loaned it to the Olympic Flight Museum. In 2002 Reynolds decided a full restoration was due, so it went to John and Nancy Lane and their crew at Airpower Unlimited in Jerome, Idaho.
Eleven and a half years and 38,000 hours of labor later, the museum has one of the most in-depth Corsair restorations ever completed. The paint scheme is from its military history, specifically the VMF-213 squadron in Hawaii, during which the Corsair performed carrier operations off of the USS Saidor.
The identification number “115” is the same number this Corsair carried when it was painted in Royal Navy colors during most of its life as an air show performer, paying homage to its warbird past and commemorating its military history.
Reynolds’ FG-1D Corsair won the Military award, as well as the People’s Choice trophy at the 2014 Reno National Air Races.
Learn more about this pristine warbird in the June edition of Warbirds Magazine where it will be featured as the cover story.