CORSAIR/Bu. 97143

Vought Corsair Bu. 97143 WRG#: 0021695


Bureau #: 97143
Construction #:
Civil Registration:
  Model: F4U-4 Corsair
Name: Korean War Hero
Status: Airworthy
Last info: 2014

Delivered to U.S. Navy as Bu. 81415, 19??.
Registered as N96042 by ??, 1977.
Charles T. Unkle, Homestead, FL, 1984.
Joseph & James Tobul, Pittsburgh, PA, Feb. 13 1985-2006.
- Restored to airworthy, Wexford, PA, 1985-1991 - Registered as N713JT.
- First flight December 8, 1991.
- Damaged in wheels up landing after aborted take-off, Allendale, SC, April 1993.
- Repaired, first flight December 1997.
- Flew as USN/97143/JT/416.
- Flew as Korean War Hero, 2002.
- Crashed and destroyed in fatal accident during airshow, Columbia, SC, November 10, 2002.
-- Joe Tobul was fatally injured in the crash.
- See NTSB report below.
James Tobul, Pittsburgh, PA, April 2006-2014.
- Rebuilt to Airworthy.
- Flown as Korean War Hero.

NTSB Identification: ATL03LA016.
Accident occurred Sunday, November 10, 2002 in Columbia, SC
Probable Cause Approval Date: 03/30/2005
Aircraft: Chance Vought F4U-4, registration: N713JT
Injuries: 1 Fatal.

On November 10, 2002, at 1330 Eastern Standard Time, a Chance Vought F4U-4 experimental airplane, N713JT, registered to and operated by the commercial pilot, collided with trees following a loss of engine power in Columbia, South Carolina. The flight was operated under the provisions of Title 14 CFR Part 91 with no flight plan filed. Visual meteorological conditions prevailed. The commercial pilot was fatally injured. There was a post crash fire and the airplane was destroyed. The local flight departed Columbia Owens Downtown Airport Columbia, South Carolina, on November 10, 2002 at 1325.

The F4U-4 Corsair was the flight leader of 6 airplanes that were performing fly-bys on runway 13 at approximately 500 to 1000 feet above ground level (AGL). The airplane was participating in a level formation flight in preparation for the Veterans Hospital Fly-By. The FU4-4 Corsair had just passed the approach end of runway 13 when witnesses observed smoke trailing from the airplane. The air traffic controller heard an unidentified transmission "the Corsair has smoke trailing from his aircraft" and "Corsair needs to land".

According to the air traffic controller, the airplane made a right turn for what appeared to be a left downwind to runway 31. The air traffic controller issued the current winds, and cleared the FU4-4 Corsair to land on runway 31. While the airplane was on left base for runway 31 the local controller heard an unidentified transmission, "Your gear is not coming down". The airplane was last observed on left base in a descent and the airplane disappeared beyond a tree line. The airplane collided with trees and caught fire about 3/4 miles from Columbia Owens Downtown Airport Columbia, South Carolina.

A review of the information on file with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Airman's division Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, revealed the pilot was issued a commercial pilot certificate on October 29,1996 with ratings for airplane single engine land and instrument privileges. The pilot held a private pilot airplane multi engine land rating. The records showed the pilot was issued an airframe and powerplant mechanic with inspection authority certificate on October 10, 1997.

Review of the records on file with the FAA aero medical records revealed the pilot held a second-class medical certificate issued on February 18, 2002 with no restrictions assigned. According to the pilot's February 18, 2002 medical he had accumulated 4,200 total flight hours. The pilot and airplane logbooks were not recovered for examination.

The Chance Vought FU-4 Corsair is a low wing all metal single engine experimental airplane. The airplane was equipped with a Pratt & Whitney R2800-52W 2500 hp double bank radial engine. The wingspan of the FU4-4 Corsair is 41 feet. The FU4-4 Corsair is primarily used as an exhibition airplane.

The on site examination revealed the airplane was damaged by fire and impact forces. The wreckage distribution of the airplane covered an approximate area of 75 feet long and 75 feet wide. The engine was examinined May 19, 2003 at Atlanta Air Recovery in Griffin, Georgia. The examination found the engine's accessory section was fire damaged from the super-charger aft, including the firewall, cockpit and part of the cabin.

The Richland County Coroner's Office performed the postmortem examination of the pilot on November 20,2002. The cause of death was listed as "multiple Trauma ". The Forensic Toxicology Research Section, Federal Aviation Administration, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma performed postmortem toxicology of specimens from the pilot. The results were negative for carbon monoxide, cyanide, ethanol, and basic, acidic, and neutral drugs.

Chapman, John & Goodall, Geoff, Edited by Paul Coggan - Warbirds Directory,Warbirds Worldwide Ltd., Mansfield, England, 1989.
Goodall, Geoff - Warbirds Directory-4th Edition, 2003.
NTSB, 2011
Photo Source(s):
Terry Fletcher
Robert Bourlier
Chuck Gardner

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