The cockpit area and ‘Birdcage’ canopy of F4U-1 Corsair BuNo 02449 in the Vultures Row workshop at Cameron Park, California.

At Cameron Park, California, World War Two US Navy aircraft restoration specialist Vultures Row Aviation now has three Chance Vought Corsairs under rebuild to fly. Rarest of the three is a 1943 F4U-1 ‘Birdcage’ Corsair, BuNo 02449, the 297th out of 900 ‘Birdcages’ built. Vultures Row proprietor Chuck Wahl says, “The rebuilt spar has recently been placed in the centre-section jig and major progress is being made on the fuel bay/cockpit section. The ‘Birdcage’ Corsairs were a very different aircraft with many changes evolving into the later -1D version. This South Pacific combat veteran will be the world’s only flying ‘Birdcage’ Corsair and will be painted in a 1943 ‘weathered’ two-tone paint scheme. The aircraft was a VMF-214 ‘Swashbuckler’ and then ‘Black Sheep Squadron’ aircraft stationed at Fighter Strip 1, Turtle Bay, Espiritu Santo prior to suffering an accident during 1943.

“Work has also been progressing on parts, assemblies and the outer wings for FG-1D BuNo 76628. This airframe crashed on a Hawaiian island after the war and was recovered more than 35 years ago. Currently the cockpit is getting prepared for paint and then work on sub-assemblies will continue”. F4U-4 BuNo 97382, meanwhile, is progressing quickly with its owner as Vultures Row Aviation helps with major support of parts and assemblies. Vultures Row’s most recently completed airworthy restoration was Douglas SBD-4 Dauntless BuNo 0694/N34N (see News, Aeroplane July 2017).