Combat veteran F4U changes hands — but will stay in Germany
Chance Vought F4U-5NL Corsair BuNo 124541/D-FCOR, owned for more than a decade by Bremgarten-based MaxAlpha Aviation, has been acquired by the Flying Legends organisation at Siegerland Airport, south-east of Siegen.
The naval night fighter is a Korean War combat veteran, having served with US Marine Corps squadron VMF(N)-513 ‘Flying Nightmares’ in 1952. It later passed to the Argentinean Navy, serving until the mid-1960s, after which it was preserved as part of the Museo de la Aviación Naval collection in Buenos Aires. BuNo 124541 was displayed on a pole outside the museum when former French Aéronautique Navale F4U pilot Ramon Josa was told by a friend — an Argentinean Navy pilot he had trained on the Dassault Super Étendard — that it was up for sale. An initial deal with a collector in Texas fell through, and the aircraft was bought by Les Ailes de l’Aéro, an association headed by ex-Corsair technician Claude Semenadisse. Arriving at Le Castellet, south-eastern France in June 1994, it was given a ground-up restoration, flying again in Josa’s hands on 9 March 2000. Registered F-AZYS, the aeroplane was configured as an F4U-7 of the Aéronavale, with the markings of a machine from Flottille 14F.
When Les Ailes de l’Aéro decided to sell the Corsair, it was purchased by MaxAlpha Aviation and ferried by Ramon Josa to Bremgarten, arriving in December 2009. It was decided to return the aircraft to its original F4U-5NL standard, a job completed between the 2010 and 2011 display seasons. Several appearances were made at Duxford for Flying Legends shows, flown by British pilot Brian Smith, the most recent having been in 2015.
The latest sale of D-FCOR was finalised on 9 November, when Georg Raab, CEO of Flying Legends — best-known for operating P-51D Mustang NL51ZW Frances Dell on the European airshow circuit — signed the purchase agreement. The Corsair will soon be ferried to its new home at Siegerland.