Vought OS2U-3

USS North Carolina

The Flight Deck Veterans Group has partnered with the Battleship North Carolina to restore its historic monoplane aircraft known as the Kingfisher. The Vought OS2U-3 float-planes were used during World War II by various Allied groups such as on battleships and cruisers of the United States Navy.

 Battleship volunteer and local resident David Pitman brought the idea to FDVG. Pitman was a Firefighter/EMT for 14 years and now is a software project manager. He’s been instrumental in moving this project along.

The aircraft sits atop the USS North Carolina (BB-55) moored on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, North Carolina as a museum. The Battleship North Carolina is funding the project to restore the Kingfisher to its original look.

During its service, these planes were launched via a catapult affixed to the fantail—a dangerous and laborious process. This particular Kingfisher had crashed on Calvert Island, Canada in 1942 and left to elements. Canadian authorities recovered the plan in 1963 and after various restoration projects, it made its final home on the North Carolina.

“We peel back layers of flaked material only to discover more history on this plane,” said Pitman. They’ve discovered stenciling with US Navy and USS North Carolina.

Each weekend, several members of the FDVG Carolinas Chapter join Pitman in less than ideal weather conditions to work on the aircraft. He’s been greatly impressed with their knowledge, dedication, and hard work.

The Flight Deck Veterans Group plan to restore the Kingfisher to its 1944 three-toned feathered look. Weather permitting, they’ll finish by early April for Wilmington’s Azalea Festival when thousands of visitors flock to Wilmington. In addition, World War II veterans may arrive, and they’d love to see them enjoy the Kingfisher as it looked in its heyday.

FDVG has restored historic aircraft across the country, including an F-14 Tomcat and an Intruder A-6E at the historic USS Yorktown in Charleston, SC, as well as a Fast Eagle 102, the first F-14 Tomcat to shoot down another aircraft in combat. The latter is on display at the Commemorative Air Force’s High Sky Wing in Midland, Texas.

All as part of their mission to promote camaraderie among flight deck veterans, perform benevolence projects, and preserve naval aviation history.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our members and the work they do on these historic planes, their dedication to each project and attention to detail is unmatched. What a pleasure it is to stand alongside these Flight Deck Veterans preserving a little bit of Naval Aviation History.” Said Jared Ashley, FDVG’s CO and Founder.

For more information on this project or to volunteer contact bill@fdvg.org