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If you ask 100 pilots for a list of the ten most beautiful airplanes, 99 of them will probably have the F4-U Corsair on the list, and a goodly number will have it in the top three. While flight simulators are by their very nature not particularly beautiful machines, this one is pretty darned cool looking.
And its story is one of the most moving in aviation history. During the Korean War, on December 4th, 1950, Thomas Hudner and Jesse Brown were flying Corsairs on patrol, when without warning, Brown’s Corsair was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed on a snowy mountain side, the Corsair catching fire in the process. Knowing there was no time to spare, Hudner intentionally crash landed his Corsair near Brown’s and tried to save the man from the burning fighter, but Brown could not be saved. Hudner was injured in the effort, but was In an attempt to save Brown from his burning aircraft, Hudner intentionally crash-landed his own aircraft on a snowy mountain in freezing temperatures to help Brown. In spite of Hudner’s heroic efforts, and those of helicopter rescue pilot Charles Ward, Brown could not be freed and died of his injuries. Hudner, who was injured in the attempted rescue, was flown to safety in the rescue helicopter.
Redbird’s flight simulator honoring Hudner and Brown is located for the week in the warbird area. Last year Redbird brought a P-51 simulator to the event and has done special builds in the past of everything from Piper Cubs to water bombers. Redbird is located near show center just south of the Pilot Proficiency Center.