US Operational History
On 4 January 1945 at 7:15am BuNo 71441 took off from the USS Langley (CLV-27) on a mission
to escort six Grumman TBF Avengers attacking Kobi on Formosa.
BuNo 71441 was leading the second division of Hellcats, tasked with strafing parked planes
at Kobi Airfield. Over the target, this Hellcat suffered an engine failure and force landed
near Kobi Airfield. When this aircraft failed to return, its pilot was listed as
Missing In Action (MIA).
In Japanese hands
The wreckage of this largely intact Hellcat was recovered by personnel from Kobi Airfield
and displayed at Kobi Shrine for a time. Later, it was transported to Japan and operated
from Yokosuka Airfield. A Japanese Hinomaru (rising sun) markings, over painting the
American markings and applying tail number ヨ-801 (Yokosuka Kōkūtai). At the end of the war
it was abandoned at Yokosuka Airfield on its belly, likely after making a force landing.
The aircraft was partially stripped with the propeller, engine cowling and cockpit canopy
removed and fabric surfaces missing. During September 1945, the wreckage was found by US
forces. After capture, the wreckage was moved and subjected to a further removal of parts.
The ultimate fate of BuNo 71441 is unknown, it was likely scrapped or has otherwise disappeared.