Museum of Flight Unveils XF8U-1 Crusader

Former Crusader pilots stand in front of the XF8U-1 following the unveiling ceremony at Museum of Flight's restoration hangar in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
Former Crusader pilots stand in front of the XF8U-1 following the unveiling ceremony at Museum of Flight's restoration hangar in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
Former Crusader pilots stand in front of the XF8U-1 following the unveiling ceremony at Museum of Flight’s restoration hangar in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)

As WarbirdsNews mentioned last week HERE, the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington has completed the restoration of their Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader. The museum held an unveiling ceremony last Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of the type’s first flight sixty years previously on March 25th, 1955. The event was well attended by the public and included sixteen former Crusader pilots, as well as an engineer from the Crusader’s design team. Museum curator Dan Hagedorn, and chief of collections Tom Cathcart gave presentations, and several of the pilots related some of their more ‘interesting’ exploits in carrier operations, combat and ejection. It was clear that the Crusader held a special place in the hearts of each of the pilots as they recounted their experiences.

The unveiling ceremony underway for the Museum of Flight's Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader prototype at their restoration center in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The unveiling ceremony underway for the Museum of Flight’s Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader prototype at their restoration center in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The XF8U-1 Crusader unveiling ceremony artistically caught in the visor reflection from a period US Navy flight helmet at the Museum of Flight's restoration hangar in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The XF8U-1 Crusader unveiling ceremony artistically caught in the visor reflection from a period US Navy flight helmet at the Museum of Flight’s restoration hangar in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
Silent Reflection - a former Crusader pilot sits in the cockpit of the XF8U-1 following the unveiling ceremony at Museum of Flight's restoration hangar in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
Silent Reflection – a former Crusader pilot sits in the cockpit of the XF8U-1 following the unveiling ceremony at Museum of Flight’s restoration hangar in Everett, Washington. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)

The Museum of Flight’s restoration team, headed by Craig Wall, lavished thousands of hours on the XF8U-1 in stages over a twenty year period. They have paid remarkable attention to detail, even replicating the aircraft’s original livery complete with the original stylized logos on the cockpit sides. One only has to get in close to the cockpit and undercarriage bays to see how fastidiously they paid attention to getting things right.

The Museum of Flight's restoration team replicated the Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader's prototype markings in exquisite detail. Here is the distinctive logo, painted on the cockpit sides. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The Museum of Flight’s restoration team replicated the Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader’s prototype markings in exquisite detail. Here is the distinctive logo, painted on the cockpit sides. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The Museum of Flight's restoration team performed a magnificent restoration of their Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader prototype. Here is some of the cockpit detail to show just how closely their team paid attention to the little details. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The Museum of Flight’s restoration team performed a magnificent restoration of their Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader prototype. Here is some of the cockpit detail to show just how closely their team paid attention to the little details. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The cockpit details reveal how marvelously Museum of Flight's restoration team performed the restoration of their Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader prototype.  (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The cockpit details reveal how marvelously Museum of Flight’s restoration team performed the restoration of their Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader prototype. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The Museum of Flight's restoration team spared no effort in the restoration of their Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader prototype. Here we can see some of the details in the undercarriage bay. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The Museum of Flight’s restoration team spared no effort in the restoration of their Chance Vought XF8U-1 Crusader prototype. Here we can see some of the details in the undercarriage bay. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)

The Crusader will be on show to the general public at the museum’s Restoration Center located just down the road from the main Boeing final assembly plant at Paine Field in Everett, Washington during open hours (typically from 9am to 4pm on Tuesdays through Saturdays, though not on Fridays from September – May). Several dozen of the museum’s aircraft are based at the Restoration Center, some already completed and others awaiting their turn in the queue. Roughly three to five aircraft are receiving attention at any given time. The Museum of Flight does intend on moving its freshly completed Crusader to the main campus at Boeing Field in Seattle sometime in mid-2016.

The Museum of Flight's restoration team (kneeling in t-shirts) and the honored guests - the former Crusader pilots standing behind. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)
The Museum of Flight’s restoration team (kneeling in t-shirts) and the honored guests – the former Crusader pilots standing behind. (photo by Ted Huetter/Museum of Flight)

1 Comment

  1. Hotfoot: You’re looking good and so is your “Proud Bird”..so glad the F-8 has been saved so people will know you flew the “best” and flew with the “best!” Cranky ole plane..much loved..happy you could be at the dedication…and just a ferry ride away!! Love to Captain Williams from Calif. PS Send rain!!!

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