Corsair KD 431 - A Ground Breaking Project

Aircraft Details

  • Goodyear Built - FG1-A Type
  • Serial Number - KD 431
  • Bureau Number - 14862
  • Build Date - July/August 1944
  • U.S Contract Number - 1871
  • Factory Build Number - 1871

Can an aircraft that was re-painted many years ago be returned to its original paintwork: presuming it survives beneath the later layers?

If the original paintwork can be revealed, is it a financially feasible exercise and what will it add to our understanding of the aircraft?

In 2000 it was decided to use the Museum's Corsair FG-1 to pioneer this "whole aircraft" method of paintwork conservation. We believe this ground breaking project to be the first of its kind in the aviation Museum world.

Using techniques familiar to archaeologists and forensic scientists this project has revealed, after three years of painstaking work, a unique, time capsule aircraft. Inch by inch, layer by layer, the entire aircraft has been scrutinised, researched and carefully stripped of the paint finish applied in 1963, when the aircraft was first presented to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

THE RESULT- A Corsair in as near to totally authentic and original condition from 1944 as it is possible to achieve. Paintwork, markings, stencilling, even the scratches and wear marks from the period are all original. Of the forty or so remaining Corsairs around the world (some in flying condition, some on display in Museums) there are no known examples in their truly original condition other than the Fleet Air Arm Museum's Corsair KD 431.

View of KD 431 after three years painstaking work. All of the paintwork, markings, scratches and wear marks are authentic and original from 1944-45.