The Sikorsky Memorial Corsair is taking a big step on its path to resurrection by taking a journey to Ezell Aviation War Bird Restorers in Breckinridge, Texas.
As the result of the collaboration with Ezell Aviation and The Connecticut Air and Space Center, this journey will accomplish two goals, officials said. The first is to help another historic Corsair aircraft, a Brewster F3A, come back to its original glory, and to the air. The second is to knock up to two years of restoration work off of the Stratford FG1-D that would have been expensive, significant, lengthy and difficult to accomplish without this amazing and vital alliance, officials note.
Thanks to a chance meeting between the Sikorsky Memorial Corsair Restoration Director Drew King and Massachusetts Corsair enthusiast Matt Hudak, a friendship and understanding was formed with Chad Ezell of Ezell Aviation War Bird Restorers. At the time Ezell took on the project of the Brewster Corsair restoration, they were in need of an airframe to make a construction assembly jig. This equipment is custom built to a specific aircraft, and as it turned out, the Sikorsky Memorial Corsair was at a point of disassembly that could serve as this pattern.
The damage to the curved aluminum wingspar of the Sikorsky Corsair, forming the famous Corsair silhouette, is extensive from the corrosion caused by 37 years on its post standing guard outside the entrance to Sikorsky Memorial Airport, but has not compromised its ability to serve as a pattern, officials said. The other major sections of the aircraft, also in varying degrees of degradation, will also serve as patterns and models with which Ezell Aviation can advance their efforts to bring to life another significant piece of Corsair history by restoring the Brewster F3A back to the airworthy condition for all to see.
While in Texas, the collaboration will involve the Sikorsky FG1-D being used to build manufacturing frame jigs but will also involve being repaired by Ezell Aviation’s crew with the assistance of several members of the Connecticut Air and Space Center’s team of restoration specialists.
This work represents a major advance in this project and eventual presentation back to the people of Connecticut as a historically accurate static representation of this very special aircraft. On Memorial Day, May 29, 2006, the Corsair was named the official aircraft of Connecticut in legislation sponsored by state senator George “Doc” Gunther and, although no attempt will be made to make the Sikorsky Memorial Corsair airworthy, she will be displayed in a proper environment in the State of Connecticut serving as a reminder, testament and homage to those who built, flew and died in these airplanes in the service of our country, center officials noted.
The Chance Vought-Sikorsky F4U Corsair was a carrier-capable fighter aircraft built in Stratford, Conn. The Corsair saw service primarily in World War II and during the Korean War as a ground support and night fighter. The Japanese allegedly nicknamed the Corsair “Whistling Death” for the noise made by airflow through the wing root-mounted oil cooler air intakes and had great respect for its capabilities. Demand for the aircraft overwhelmed Vought’s manufacturing capability, resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster Aeronautical Corporation: Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG and Brewster-built aircraft were known as F3A. Of the Corsairs built and few remaining, the F3A is a rare find and the Connecticut Air and Space Center is honored to be a small part of Ezell’s efforts to rebuild her, officials said.