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 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 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.