The Saga of the F2G Corsair #74 Air Racer - Part 4: 74-Odegaard
By Rodney Williams
In my copy of “Hunting Warbirds” by Carl Hoffman © 2001 it states on page 45 that Walter Soplata bought #74 from Cook Cleland for $500.00 in 1950. On page 49 it states that Walter sold the same aircraft for $800,000.00. The book does not state who bought #74, nor does it give a sales date. However we must rely on Jim Bates photos in “Part Three” that was posted on this web site back on February 4, 2012 that showed a “Crawford Museum” banner attached to the flat bed truck as the new owner in 1999.
From time to time over the past 12 years our “Society of Air Racing Historians, Inc.” has published some progress reports on the rebuild in our “bi-monthly” newsletter.
At first I understood that #74 was to be restored to static condition but somewhere along the line the aircraft was rebuilt to “flying” condition.
In my first story, (December 4, 2011) I enclosed some photos of two F2G Corsairs and ask if anyone had any data as to the B.U. numbers: Lo and behold a person by the name of “Herbert Corse” emailed me and included his photo of #74 and a copy of the pilot’s log book. The pilot was Vernon Poertner dated March, 1946. What luck can a guy like me get as the B.U. number is 88463 which is none other than #74. Enclosed are Herbert’s two photos.
I heard that the Crawford Museum ran out of funds for the rebuild and that some other person and/or a company bought #74 then wanted it rebuilt to flying condition. I have been unable to confirm the above statement.
On November 5, 2011 I went to visit the F2G #74 racer that was stationed at the “CAF” Museum, Falcon Field - Mesa, Arizona U.S.A. I took several dozen digital images of the aircraft while it was in the hanger. I will post some of these photos in my final story.
I acquired the enclosed photos from a few web sites that show the progress being made at Robert Odegaards Restoration Facility in Kindred, ND. It must have taken a few thousand hours to rebuild this aircraft and lots of “greenbacks”, as they call the American Dollar.
© 2012 Rodney J. Williams
This article created on Saturday, April 21 2012; Last modified on Saturday, September 08 2012