BuNo 97359

Current Civil Registration Number N240CA

F4U-4 (not a -4B) BuNo 97359 was accepted by the US Navy in March of 1946 and served with VF-44 during the last days of Korean War combat.  After being stricken from active duty in July of 1956, it was one of a number of Corsairs purchased by Bob Bean of Hereford, AZ and relocated to a small airstrip in Tolleson, AZ where it spent the next 15 years in outdoor storage.

After moving his Corsairs to Tucson Airport in the early 1970s, BuNo 97359 was soon refurbished and sold to Tom Friedkin of Houston, TX who put the Corsair to work flying for the “Black Sheep Squadron” television series.  Friedkin rapidly grew his warbird collection in the years that followed and eventually decided to part with BuNo 97359 in 1988.

Ray Hanna’s ‘Old Flying Machine Company’ based in Duxford, England took on the fighter and soon had it refinished in Royal New Zealand Air Force colors.  Ray and his son Mark operated the plane regularly for three years before selling it back across the Atlantic to retired US Navy pilot Norm Lewis of Louisville, Kentucky.  Lewis had the plane repainted once again, this time in markings authentic to VF-44 squadron with which it had fought during the Korean War.

After seven years of enjoyment, Lewis sold BuNo 97359 to Indiana based businessman Max Chapman who had the F4U-4 completely restored from the ground up.  Chapman elected to paint the Corsair in an extremely unique VMFT-20 squadron paint scheme, complete with broad green & white stripes on the fuselage and wings.  It went on to win the “Reserve Grand Champion Post-WWII” award after its debut at the 2000 EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, WI.

In September of 2005, BuNo 97359 became entangled in a legal fiasco after being sold to a new owner in Alaska.  As a result, the Corsair changed hands again the following year; this time being taken on by Michael Potter who operated the ‘Vintage Wings of Canada’ museum in Ottawa, Ontario.  97359 flew with the museum for two years before Doug Matthews of Wellington, FL purchased the fighter during the Fall of 2007.  Doug remains the current owner, faithfully contending in the annual Reno air races and frequenting various air shows each year.

Buno 97359 Mosley Field, AZ 1959 Jim Sullivan Collection Buno 97359 Mosley Field, AZ May 1970 - Jim Sullivan Collection Buno 97359 Palomar, CA January 1976 - Jim Sullivan Collection
Buno 97359 Van Nuys, CA August 1976 - Jim Sullivan Collection Buno 97359 On BaaBaaBlackSheep Location 1977 (While this Corsair carries 97355, it is 97359) - Jim Sullivan Collection Buno 97359 Hickory NC May 21, 1995 - Jim Sullivan
Buno 97359 1995 - Jim Sullivan Buno 97359 1995 - Mint Moore Buno 97359 1995 - Mint Moore
Buno 97359 1995 - Mint Moore Buno 97359 Sept 2002- Rob Mears Buno 97359 Sept 2002 - Mark Morris
Buno 97359 April 2008 - Mike Schneider Collection

 

BuNo 97359