March 30, 2011
By Alton K. Marsh
Donna Rowell, a friend of Jim Tobul, wipes dew from the restored Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair.
Friends of Jim Tobul of Bamberg, S.C., helped remove the morning dew from his 1945 Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair to prepare it for restoration judging. The aircraft was fresh out of restoration and had flown only two weeks before entering competition for restored aircraft at Sun ’n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., March 29.
Jim Tobul wipes down the Corsair in the early morning under heavy clouds and fog.
This was the aircraft’s second restoration. It was purchased in 1989, and first flew in 1991. In 2002, the aircraft was destroyed in an accident that took the life of Tobul’s father. It sat unrepaired as Tobul delt with the death of his father, but he decided to fully restore it. “There’s lots of emotion in this project,” Tobul said.
The aircraft flew 200 combat missions in Korea, and served on the USS Boxer and USS Valley Forge. Tobul honors the units in which it served by placing one of the unit’s insignia on one side of the vertical stabilizer, and a second insignia on the other side.
Reflected in a pool of rainwater, the Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair has been restored as a memorial to Jim Tobul's father, who died in a crash in 2002.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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