We have been following the restoration of Vought F4U-1 Corsair Bu.02270 at Parafield Airport near Adelaide, Australia for some years now. Owned by Bob Jarrett, the fighter is a USMC combat veteran from the Pacific Theatre, and spent many years partially submerged in a brackish mangrove swamp on Vanuatu following her wartime loss due to fuel starvation. Jarrett recovered what remained of the airframe, which essentially consisted of her centre section and outer wings, back in 2009, adding to this with fuselage parts from other wrecks on the island. He and his team have steadily restored the aircraft to its present state over the past eleven years and recently reached the point where they could finally re-install the massive Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine. Just like field mechanics would have done in wartime, the restoration team chose to bolt the engine first to its tubular mount while the latter was separate from the airframe, then winch up the entire assembly to the aircraft’s firewall and carefully guide it in to the four fuselage attachment points. While the Corsair is under rebuild to static display condition only, the restoration team has gone to great lengths to ensure her accuracy; she will serve as a marvelous example of this all-but-extinct variant of the type.
As the restoration team recently reported, they will be working on the engine cowls, propeller rebuild, canopy sliding section and other cockpit details this year… and then they will have the joy of repainting the aircraft to resemble her original wartime scheme from the period when VMF-321’s Captain Jim Vittitoe ditched her in the lagoon on his way back from a training mission on May 5th, 1944.
Many thanks to our Antipodean correspondent, Phil Buckley, for providing us with this announcement!