CORSAIRS OVER CONNECTICUT 2005
Finally, the State of Connecticut has made the Vought F4U Corsair the official state airplane!
This World War II and Korean War fighter plane was really a United Aircraft (later United Technologies) product. The huge propeller was made by Hamilton Standard of Windsor Locks, the R-2800 engine was made by Pratt & Whitney of East Hartford, and the early model airframe was made by Chance Vought of Stratford, all divisions of Hartford's United Aircraft. After WWII, Vought was spun off and moved to Grand Prairie, Texas, where later models were made, and later became part of Ling-Temco-Vought (LTV), and went on to make the Cutlass, Crusader and Corsair II jets. But not before the thousands of CT-built Corsairs, flown mostly by Marines, dominated the skies of the South and Central Pacific theaters of World War II from mid-1943 to the end of the conflict. It was easily the best single-engined fighter of the Pacific War (and the first to fly faster than 400 mph (Oct. 1, 1940), although the twin-engined P-38 had been flying faster since Feb. 1939). That legacy is better told elsewhere and it is one this state has finally acknowledged.
A fine tribute to the women and men who built, maintained, and/or flew them was paid by the event held at the Stratford plant and airport June 2005, see the website for more details. Surprisingly the Sikorsky Memorial Airport is much the same today as it was then, except it was then known as Bridgeport Municipal Airport. Every CT-built Corsair began its flying life on exactly the same ramp outside the very hangers in the background of the photos. Thankfully, a total of 5 Corsairs made the event, more than I think we've seen in one place, and we've been to A LOT of air shows and museums! I think only 1 of those 5 was built here, the others in Grand Prairie or under license by Goodyear in Akron. But adding the one on the pylon outside the terminal and the one at the New England Air Museum, there were 7 Corsairs in the state that weekend! Each and every one a priceless artifact.
This was a special event for us as we each separately lived within a few miles of the Stratford and Grand Prairie plants, though long after Corsair production ended of course, and before we knew each other. Sheila under the roar of A-7 Corsair IIs, Fritz beneath the rumble of Jolly Green Giants. So perhaps our love of aircraft and Corsairs was destined to bring us together.
So enjoy the pix. And to bent-wing bird veterans everywhere, an enormous THANK YOU! This page is dedicated to all of you.