Signed by Tim Kepford - Son of Ira Kepford The Man: Ira Cassius Kepford is well known as the US Navy's most successful Corsair pilot with a total of 16 confirmed air to air victories. He is depicted here at the beginning of his illustrious career in The Battle of the Solomon Sea. In this battle he shot down a Japanese "Kate" torpedo bomber a mere 1000 yards from the carrier Bunker Hill just fractions of a second before the enemy bomber could release it's deadly load. Simultaneously a Japanese Zero was attempting to remove Ira from action but was eliminated by a Navy Hellcat. Although low on fuel Ira continued through the intense anti-aircraft fire from the Bunker Hill and it's escorts and went on to shoot down 3 more Japanese aircraft within minutes before running out of ammunition. For this day's actions he was awarded the Navy Cross. Ira Kepford is shown here in the VF17 - "Jolly Rogers" Colors flying his Vaught F4U Corsair. This rendition truly captures the intense action of the event in stunning detail. The Machine: Vaught F4U-1A Corsair. During WWII the Corsair proved to be a fast and formidable fighter. Known as "whistling death" by the Japanese it was considered somewhat difficult to fly but provided wonderful performance. The Corsair had a rate of climb of 2,890 feet per minute, a service ceiling of 36,900 feet and a range of 1,015 miles. It was armed with 6 "50-Cal." machine guns and 2,350 rounds of ammunition. The Corsair was powered by one of the strongest and most successful fighter engines of the war, the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp 18 cylinder radial. Displacing 2800 cubic inches it provided some 2000 horsepower and propelled the Corsair to over 417 miles per hour.