“When I first came here I remember just sitting in the Corsair while it was being towed outside to the ramp from inside the old World War II storage hangar, waiting to be worked on. You were able to sit in it like you were riding or taxiing in the airplane.”
- Kim Jones, NEAM Board of Directors
The Corsair sits with its wings folded in the Military Hangar, showing the ingenuity of Connecticut aeronautics. Built by Vought Aircraft Division of United Aircraft as a carrier based, ground support aircraft for the Navy and Marines, the first prototype Corsair flew in 1940. Extremely successful, the aircraft went into continual production from 1942-1952. Produced by Vought Aircraft with Hamilton propellers and a Pratt & Whitney engine, the F4U-4 in the museum's collection was made entirely in Connecticut.
Early members of the Connecticut Aeronautical Historical Association were eager to own a Corsair, given its close connection to Connecticut. In 1961, the U.S. Navy gifted the organization a Vought XF4U-4 “Corsair.” After some financial struggles, CAHA was able to bring the Corsair up to Connecticut, where it underwent restoration in the late 1970s. The museum’s Corsair is unique not only because there are few Corsairs left, but also because it was a pre-production prototype. The Corsair continues to catch the eyes of visitors in the Military Hangar at the New England Air Museum, representing Connecticut innovation.