1945 Vought / Goodyear FG-1D Corsair 92460
FG-1D Corsair BuNo# 92460 at rest in Bldg. 53 of the CASC's restoration workshop. Photo by Roger Salls Photography
The Sikorsky Memorial Corsair was originally built by the Goodyear Aircraft Company of Akron, Ohio under license by Chance Vought. She was simply known at that time as BuNo 92460, and was built under contract no. 1871. Being completed and test flown in July of 1945, she was accepted by the US Navy on 7/22/45 and delivered on 7/23/45. Our Corsair was too late to see any combat service in World War II, but would still go on to have a colorful career.
Naval Air Service
During the ensuing years 92460 saw service with VMF 314 a training squadron. Later the aircraft was used by various Naval Air Reserve Stations including:
By 1955, 92460 was mothballed with the majority of the rest of the Corsair fleet at NAS Litchfield Park in Arizona. In 1957 the Corsair was stricken from the Navy's inventory along with 20 other Corsairs in a package deal to the El Salvadorian Air Force.
NAS Cherry Point
Rendering of "White 5" Art By: Simon Hill
FG-1D BuNo: 92460 "White 5" while in service with NAS Columbus
Another Corsair in flight over Ohio Stadium
Photo from: Dennis Nordman (Son of Pilot)
Log History for BuNo: 92460
Rendering of FAS 205 circa 1965 Art By: Claveworks
Three FAS Corsairs. We believe 92460, "217" to be one of them.
Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreñ
El Salvador was the recipient of 20 Goodyear built FG-1D Corsairs in 1957 from the United States Government. Our Corsair wore the Number FAS-217 (Fuerza Aérea Salvadoreña). At delivery two color schemes were used, earlier aircraft being painted overall Light Gull Gray, with some later deliveries in Insignia Blue. A number of aircraft received an overall white paint scheme for aerobatic displays in 1965, and for operations against Honduras a camouflage consisting of two greens and a tan was applied to the upper surfaces.
It was suggested by US officials to operate 10 of the fighters, while keeping the other 10 on reserve / standby in case of maintenance, War, etc. Apparently that suggestion was ignored and all 20 Corsairs were operated, with many suffering landing accidents, and generally being worn out due to high flying hours. 92460 was among them.
The FAS "Boneyard". We believe the highlighted Corsair is 92460
92460's Last Flight, underneath a Sikorsky S-64
A New Mission
In 1969 Nick Mainero, Marine Corsair pilot and airport manager of the Sikorsky Memorial Airport, wanted to to get a Corsair back to Stratford to honor both the men and women (pilots and factory workers) involved with the Corsair's design, production and flight as a true Connecticut Icon.
After hearing tales about a boneyard of Corsairs in South America, Nick traveled to El Salvador, where he negotiated a deal for one of the derelict fighters in their junkyard. Picking the most complete, easily restorable airframe (along with a set of wings) the aircraft was eventually shipped aboard a freighter to Floyd Bennet Field in New York. From there the WWII Fighter was "slung" underneath a Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane and flown to the Sikorsky Airport (then Bridgeport Airport).
Romeo A. Lalli, a local manufacturing pioneer in the Aerospace Industry who patented the "Lalli Process" of stretch forming specifically for aluminum and titanium aircraft skins, was contracted to cosmetically restore the Corsair to display condition. Lalli and his team replaced many panels on the aircraft with new sheetmetal, including sheeting the entire cockpit section over. The original fabric covered wings were also sheeted to better protect and preserve the plane while being exposed to the elements. After a year of restoration and being prepped, the fighter plane was ready to be installed onto a specially made concrete pedestal at the airport in 1971.
A dedication ceremony was held with numerous dignitaries and local politicians in attendance to commemorate the Corsair and its position as a true Connecticut icon and legend. For decades the Corsair would remain perched high atop its pedestal with occasional washes, and repaints, but the venerable WWII fighter would change minimally for over four decades.
Thirty seven years later, time and neglect had taken their toll on the old warbird. Sitting in the salt marsh (so close to Long Island Sound), the Corsair became a giant battery dissolving itself back to the base elements through galvanic corrosion.
At some point between 1960 and 1969 a cable attached to the rudder was sheared and sawed itself into a bulkhead behind the cockpit. Instead of taking the time to repair this damage, the plane was deemed un-airworthy and sent to the "boneyard". We don’t know exactly happened to cause this as records are non existent.
By 1969 only six FG-1Ds remained in service, the survivors of the Soccer War finally being retired two years later.
92460 "217" as she appeared shortly after arriving in Stratford
Romeo Lalli (center) with 92460 after her Restoration
The fresh looking Corsair being gently lowered onto the Pedestal
The Corsair shortly after its dedication.
The battered and weathered Corsair after 37 years
The Removal Team after a successful day!
Corsair being towed to the 2013 Car Show
On September 8th, 2013 the Corsair was rolled out again on her own landing gear and wheels for the first time in over 42 years. On August 30, 2014 her wings were also installed, though they are routinely removed for addition work being done. Her engine has been installed, the cockpit is nearing completion, the fabrication of the Dive Brakes are almost complete, with just a few more fittings being machined now to finish the panels. Meanwhile the Stainless Steel Exhaust Heat Shields are being cut to complete the Lower Intercooler Panels. On the Wings, the Gun Bay Door Latching Mechanisms are being machined currently.
Final inspection and repairs are underway to prepare the fuselage for its Glossy Sea Blue Paint!
A very aggressive Parts Trading Program has been fruitful for the Restoration Crew to fabricate missing parts, but their are still numerous parts that need to be sourced for either loan / replication or donation:
Inner Wing Flap Mounting Hardware yet.
Belly Tank Hard Point Pylons
Shoulder and Seat Harnesses
But the job isn't finished yet. We still have years of work ahead of us to restore this aircraft back to factory-new static display condition. Please consider helping the Connecticut Air & Space Center by either donating needed materials / parts, or by giving what you can to help restore The Curtiss Hangar, the future home of this piece of American and Connecticut History!
Donations are tax deductible and the Connecticut Air & Space is a 501c3 Charitable Non-Profit organization.
Checks can be made to:
The Corsair Restoration Fund, C.A.S.C.
Stratford, CT 06615-1293
In 2007, after multiple inspections of the aircraft, it became apparent that the aircraft (mostly made of steel, aluminum, and magnesium) had deteriorated to the point that her structural integrity was now in question. Serious moves were made to finally get get the old girl down and off of the pedestal.
Thanks to a combined effort of Doc Gunther, Jerry O’Neill, and members of the Connecticut Air & Space Center, the Corsair was finally removed from the pedestal in 2008, just three years shy of 40 years sitting outside! The aircraft was immediately moved to the adjacent Stratford School For Aviation where the foldable wings were removed for easier storage. After-which she was moved across the airport to her new home, the Connecticut Air & Space Center for a full restoration. Upon removing multiple access panels and skins, it was discovered that the corrosion was much more extensive and far reaching than previously anticipated.
The goal was to restore the Corsair to museum quality static display which would allow the team to preserve as much of the original airframe as possible for long term preservation. Unfortunately extensive corrosion was located in the main spar and spar caps (the planes spine essentially) which would be a considerable task, even for the CASC's qualified restoration team.
A deal was struck with high-end Warbird Restoration Shop, Ezell Aviation, to see the center section of the fighter plane transported all the way to Breckenridge, Texas to have the center-section spar repaired, main landing gear / tail-wheel gear sourced and installed, as well as several smaller issues corrected. This one year trip to Texas saved the CASC Restoration Team 3-5 years of additional work.
The original Data Plate, which eventually made its way back!
Being worked on outside Building 53, it's current home.
Our Beloved Bird, with just some of the crew!
92460 on Display inside Sikorsky Aircraft's Final Assembly Hangar at their annual Family Day Event in 2018.