The Lost Corsair of Oahu
Hawai'i is home to many fascinating wreck dives, most of which are intentionally sunk to serve as artificial reefs for marine life. The F4U-1A Corsair, however, is a true wreck. Not far from Honolulu on Oahu, the plane wreckage sits at approximately 108 ft (33 m). The Corsair was a WWII aircraft that completed its life during a routine mission for the U.S. Navy in 1945, according to an online database for Pacific wrecks. It was piloted by 2nd Lt. William H. Holden, whose course was set for Ewa Field. Twenty minutes into the flight, oil began spraying across the windshield and all power to the engine was lost. Holden was able to safely land the plane in the water, but was cut over his right eye as he was escaping the negatively buoyant aircraft that was about to sink to the bottom of the ocean.
This is considered an advanced wreck dive, so we highly encourage divers to have their Advanced Open Water certification. If someone does not have their Advanced Open Water certification, then we are more than happy to arrange the Corsair as a training dive for anyone who wishes to complete the PADI Advanced Open Water course with us. A boat is required for this dive, and it is an area known for unpredictably strong currents. Despite the extra effort required to fight the current, it is an amazing dive that is home to an abundance of Hawaiian garden eels (Gorgasia hawaiiensis) along with a wide variety of other endemic marine wildlife.
The wreck didn't become a popular dive site until 1995, but it continues to be one of the most popular wreck dives on the island of Oahu. It is a site that is full of life and history, but it also presents an exciting challenge for divers who want to test their limits. Even the aircraft's pilot, Holden, enjoyed taking the dive with his family a few years ago to see how his former aircraft has fared over the decades. If you would like to see more of this wreck, then check out the Corsair section of our Photos page!