BuNo 97388

Current Civil Registration Number N83JC

BuNo 97388 served stateside with VMF-225, VMF-212 and VF-42 squadron during its US military service.  After being stricken from active duty in 1958, BuNo 97388 was given a second opportunity at military service, but this time with the Honduran Air Force. 

Bob Bean of Hereford, AZ purchased a number of F4U-4 Corsairs from government surplus and traded them to Honduras in 1960.  BuNo 97388 was one of these planes, and it went on to serve as “FAH-610” for a number of years until succumbing to mechanical failure at some point in time prior to that country’s 1969 war with El Salvador.  It was relegated to the boneyard at the Toncontin Air Base in Tegucigalpa until 1979 when a pair of men operating under the name “Hollywood Wings” purchased essentially the entire inventory of Corsair airframes and parts from the Honduran Air Force.

Jim Nettle & George Heaven relocated BuNo 97388 and the rest of the non-airworthy Corsairs back to their home base in Long Beach, CA where they were immediately put up for resale.  BuNo 97388 was purchased by Earl Ware of Jacksonville, FL and moved once again from the West Coast to the East Coast and stored.  Earl advertised the dismantled fighter for sale once again in 1982 and it was purchased in short order by Gerry Beck of Wahpeton, ND.

Gerry Beck dabbled with the Corsair project on and off for quite some time until the summer of 1998 when BuNo.97388 flew again for the first time in over 30 years!  The paint scheme selected for the plane represents BuNo 97388’s twenty-month operational life with VF-42 squadron from 1950-52.  He flew the F4U-4 for the next nine years, basing it at the nearby ‘Fargo Air Museum’ where he served on the Board of Directors.

Sadly in 2007, Gerry lost his life in a tragic accident at the EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, WI while piloting his custom made P-51A Mustang.  Since that time, his F4U-4 has resided as a permanent fixture in the Fargo Air Museum in Fargo, ND.

10 29 1991 - Jim Sullivan Collection Mark Morris 97388 Gathering of Corsairs and Legends -Sept 3, 2002 - Mike Schneider
97388 Mark Morris 97388 Corsairs Over CN 2005 - Peter Guyton 97288 Corsairs Over CN 2005 - Peter Guyton
97388 Sept 2002 Gathering of Corsairs and Legends - Mike Schneider 97388 Sept 2002 Gathering of Corsairs and Legends - Mint Moore Collection 97388 Sept 2002 Gathering of Corsairs and Legends - Mint Moore Collection

 

BuNo 97388