Corporate donors including Delta Air Lines recently lent a helping hand to Commemorative Air Force Airbase Georgia to restore the group’s Goodyear FG-1D Corsair’s paint job to “like-new” condition.
“This past Veteran’s Day we flew the Corsair to Delta for their big Veteran’s Day event,” said Airbase Georgia Maintenance Officer Randy Hawkins. “But while we were discussing the initial logistics for that, I just happened to ask Mark Norris…the real ramrod for this project…if Delta would be interested in painting the Corsair. He went to management and a couple weeks later he told me they were ready to finalize a date to do it.”
“Flying into Hartsfield is a big deal,” said Musick. “You have to be on your A game—otherwise they will lose patience with you… but it’s not as intimidating as you’d think. Everyone is always surprised to see the Corsair. Ground control even said, ’That’s a really cool airplane.’”
Delta’s employee volunteers stripped approximately 11 layers of paint off the Corsair, all the way down to bare metal. The aircraft was repainted with its signature navy blue and checkerboard scheme, colors that represent VMF-312, a U.S. Marine Corps squadron that operated Corsairs during World War II and the Korea War, and currently flying F/A–18 Hornets today.
“While painting commercial aircraft is our day job and every paint job is important, the warbirds require a lot of attention to detail—people will be viewing these aircraft up close, and it will be flying in front of a lot of people for years to come,” said lead painter Clay Lawless.
After over a month in the shop, Musick was called to fly the aircraft back home to Airbase Georgia at Atlanta Regional Airport Falcon Field.
“The airplane looked good, it ran good, it was just magnificent. Delta always does a great job,” said Musick.
“We are extremely grateful to the employees and volunteers at Delta Air Lines for restoring this Corsair to its original appearance,” said Airbase Leader Joel Perkins. “This will delight the public and aviation fans who come to see the Corsair at airshows, aviation events and our Warbird Museum. We plan to showcase our Corsair at a Corsair Reunion scheduled for [EAA AirVenture Oshkosh] in July, and for the Navy Legacy Flight Foundation program where it will fly in close flight maneuvers with today’s frontline fighters.”