BuNo 97259

Current Civil Registration Number N6667

BuNo 97259 served with VF-32 and VF-33 squadrons as well as a number of Reserve Training Units prior to being decommissioned by the US Navy in October of 1956.  It was pulled from desert storage in 1959 by Bob Bean of Hereford, AZ and relocated to a nearby civilian airfield where it was placed in storage alongside more than a dozen others.  Bob registered the plane as N3728A but ultimately it was resigned to outdoor storage for the foreseeable future.

In 1965, Gene Akers looked over Bean’s inventory and selected BuNo 97259 for purchase.  He reregistered the plane as N6667 and had it refurbished to take part in the recently revived National Championship Air Races.  BuNo 97259 competed in various racing events each year from 1967-1971 until Akers retired from air racing following the 1971 season.  He sold the F4U-4 two years later.

It was late 1973 when Connie Edwards purchased BuNo 97259 and relocated it to his iconic private ranch in Big Spring, TX where it was placed in storage alongside a multitude of other warbird types.  It remained tucked away from public view for eight years before Edwards made the decision to donate the F4U and his P-38 to the Experimental Aircraft Association in Oshkosh, WI in 1981.

BuNo 97259 arrived in Oshkosh during May of 1982 and was rolled out for display in unrestored condition that summer for the EAA’s annual air show.  Museum staff spent the next eleven years slowly but methodically returning the F4U-4 to pristine condition.  It emerged for its first post-restoration flight in May of 1994 painted as USMC ace Ken Walsh’s number “13” Corsair that he piloted with VMF-222 squadron during the last months of WWII.  The plane became a frequent sight out on the flight line and in the air at EAA events in Wisconsin but in 2001 the EAA decided to ground her and now BuNo 97259 is displayed in a WWII exhibit inside the EAA's AirVenture museum.

 

BuNo 97259 - NAS Sand Point, WA 1957 - Jim Sullivan Collection BuNo 97259 - Mosley Field, AZ 1959 - Jim Sullivan Collection BuNo 97259 June, 1967 - Jim Sullivan Collection
BuNo 97259 Sept, 1967 - Jim Sullivan Collection BuNo 97259 Sept, 1969 - Jim Sullivan Collection BuNo 97259 Nov, 1970 - Jim Sullivan Collection
BuNo 97259 10 San Diego, CA July 18, 1971 - Jim Sullivan Collection BuNo 97259 Aug, 1973 - Jim Sullivan Collection BuNo 97259 June, 1997 - Jim Sullivan Collection
BuNo 97259 1999 - Doug Fisher BuNo 97259 August 9th, 2010 - Bill Jacomet

 


BuNo 97259