F4U Corsair Display at the Wanaka Warbirds Airshow

The Vought F4U Corsair was the first American single-engined warplane to exceed 400 miles per hour, and was so successful that it remained in production until 1952.  They entered service in 1943, and were flown by New Zealanders from 1944 onwards.   They were mostly used as ground attack aircraft rather than fighters, because the Japanese air force had been severely diminished.  In this role the Corsair could carry two 1000 pound bombs.

The aircraft shown here never saw active service, instead it spent the war in the United States as a training plane, first in San Diego, then the Carolinas, and finally in Utah.

It's the oldest Corsair in the world which is still flying.


It was rescued from its Utah junk yard in 1965, and flew again in 1982.


In 1983 it crashed into the sea off New Smyrna beach in Florida, and didn't fly again until 1989.


It was subsequently purchased by the Alpine Fighter Collection based at Wanaka, and was repainted with the markings of a New Zealand Corsair operating in 1944 in the Solomon Islands.


Of the 424 Corsairs which New Zealand eventually bought during the war, 17 crashed as a result of enemy action, and about 150 were lost through accidents and mishaps.