New Member - F4U Builder(s)

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Jan 17, 2007
Hello All,

I along with my son, Jeff, (an F-18E strike pilot) are starting to build (or rebuild) an F4U-4. We've gotten permission from Vought to obtain copies of all the drawings and we soon will be ordering some of the 60 reels of drawings available from the National Archives. We're also persuing an R-2800 engine. I have a fair amount of experience sucessfully building aircraft (albeit much smaller).

Any help or comments about where parts/jigs, etc. might be found for our undertaking would be appreciated.

Thank You,
yes that's quite a project we've never had anything quite this abitious on the site yet- you say you have some experience, with which aircraft may i ask?

oh, welcome and all that jazz.......
This may sound strange but if you're serious there is a lot of work that can be done at different parts of the world. It's only when all the subassemblies are ready that final assembly can begin. My son, Jeff, is located at Lemoore NAS in California and I'm in Massachusetts. Because there are no more available "originial" A/C to scavenge parts from; the vast majority will need to be make from drawing. If you're a qualified pilot then your reward could be to actually fly her when finished.
In 1975 I built the first "non-factory" BD-5, a small pusher prop aircraft designed by Jim Bede and Burt Rutan. In 1978, I built and developed a Lycoming engine installation for Rutan's new Varieze , a canard configuration, pusher prop aircraft.
As many of you know; building essentially from scratch a full size F4U-4 is no small undertaking. It'll require many years of dedicated effort (10+) and skills in many, many areas of aircraft construction along with engine overhaul and maintenance abilities.

My two sons and I realize that we can use all the help we can get… and then some. We're hopeful that the concept of building such an aircraft will enthuse many individuals to become involved. Using modern techniques for cutting materials and forming the complex parts will be a significant part of the effort. Currently, all detail drawings of the aircraft are on microfilm reels (60 reels @ $68/ea). Thousands of drawings will need to be converted to CAD system (vector) drawings so that computer controlled machines such as lathes and millers can be programmed to make the parts. It certainly is not as simple as the previous statement might have made it sound but it is feasible.

We plan to establish a dedicated Web site for the F4U project (hopefully with links to and from this great site) to provide an organized data/communication location for those that choose to be part of this endeavor. As I've indicated in past comments, one of the possible rewards for working on this project could include, depending on the level of contribution and pilot experience, a the chance to fly "her" . Other rewards would be gaining knowledge in how to actually build an aircraft and all the processes that takes along with being part of the "team".

If this F4U-4 project is something you may wish to be a part of then either let me or my son, Jeff, know via email ([email protected] or [email protected])

Thanks for reading,

Maybe this is what I need for my F4U-1 general arrangement drawings. Do the 60 rolls of film include drawings for the F4U-1? By National Archives, are you referring to the NASM or are the National Archives something different? (I have been looking for main wing and tail construction drawings).
Emilan.... National Archives and Records Administration
Special Media Archives Services Division (Cartographic)
Archives II
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, Maryland 20740-6001

I've asked for drawings of the F4U-4. Many would be the same as the -1 but with the -4 being "newer" there would be numerous differences but exactly what I'm not sure at this point. I'm not a expert on the F4U... yet.

joebong.... I assume you're refering to "Aircraft Cylinder and Turbine" in Sun Valley, Ca. Already spoken to Javiar there about an engine
Thanks for the good luck wish.

Good luck with it. Having a website up and running is a great idea, for interaction ,and communication. The Fw190 White 1 foundation has a similar thing happening.
All the best.
What Cad software are using?

I use AutoCad2005 and am dabbling in Solidworks (Perhaps I could draw a few parts for fun). At present am putting the finishing touches to a 3 axis CNC machine am building.

Cool plane the Bede 5. Especially fond of the jet version that apperaed in the James Bond movie.

Good luck and post some shot of progress.
the lancaster kicks ass.... No pictures yet; still in process of getting the master index drawing from Archives.

YakFlyer.... Thanks for the good words and Thanks for the comment about the Fw199 White 1 foundation. I'll check it out.

bigZ.... I'm curently using AutoCad 14. The good news is that many of the variuos Abrasive Waterjet CNC software will accept AutoCad DXF files. The trick is going to be in converting the microfilm drawing images to a consiistent DXF. The Bede 5 was a great little aircraft except that the snow skidoo motor (mounded mid-aircraft) was less than reliable and the sprag clutch which drove the prop would only "free" windmill when the engine quit.

I'll post photos when there is something actually tangible to see. I hope to have the new F4U-BuildProject.Org web site up in a few weeks.
Hi Dale,
My name is Kevin from Virginia Beach, VA.… a private pilot, and an addict to these ole birds. I have had a passion for preservation of this aviation history in some form, but don't have the money to finance my own project. I am very willing to offer my available time and possibly other resources to this project. I bring some machining skills, some cad experience (2004), an engineering background and some limited workshop access. I'm very comfortable around engines and aircraft systems, but have no SA, or A&P. If you can think of any way I could help, please dont hesitate to contact me.

I wouldn't vectorise the original drawings due to the various problems associated with microfilm.I found it best drawing from scratch. I have done some part drawings for FW190 rudder in Solidworks in the past and found it excellent for ironing out the mistakes that are inherinent in manually drawn factory drawings. You can also asign your own K-Factor for unbending the sheet metal model into a pattern.

Attached is the 190 rudder trim plus flattend for pattern and a few other random parts.


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Hi again,

I received an email with a link to the build project. I'm looking for some contact info?? Maybe you've contacted me before, but were deleted by my spamkiller??


I'd like to speak with you ….this is an extremely large project (I don't usually throw in the adjectives), and I'm a little skeptical….but the premise is great :D …..maybe I can contribute some time? I think I'm under-skilled for this project, but if I/you decide to engage, I may be able to come up to speed.

I can be contacted at 757-263-1090 during work hours..ask for Kevin

Wow, I missed this thread before now. This is an ambitious project! You might want to send a message to flyboyj, he is an FAA Certified examiner, mechanic, pilot and all around aviation geek (aren't we all!).

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