Photo by Buck Wyndham, Copyright 2001 Warbird Alley
History: Development of the Corsair began in
1938, when the US Navy issued a request for a new single-seat carrier-based fighter. The
Chance-Vought company won the contract with their unique, gull-winged airframe pulled by
the largest engine then available, the Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp. The wing
design was necessitated by the tall landing gear which was, in turn, necessitated by the
huge propeller required to propel the plane at the desired high speeds.
The prototype of the Corsair was first flown on 29 May 1940,
but due to design revisions, the first production F4U-1 Corsair
was not delivered until 31 July 1942. Further landing gear and cockpit modifications
resulted in a new variant, the F4U-1A, which was the first
version approved for carrier duty.
The Corsair served with the US Navy, US Marines, the Royal
Navy's Fleet Air Arm, and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (and later, the French
Aeronavale), and quickly became the most capable carrier-based fighter/bomber of the war.
Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought's manufacturing capability, resulting in
additional aircraft being produced by the Goodyear Company (as the FG-1)
and the Brewster Company (as the F3A-1). Production ceased in
1952. Over two dozen Corsairs are believed to be still airworthy, most in the United
Nicknames: Bend-Wing Bird; Bent-Wing
Ensign Eliminator; Bent-Wing Monster; Whistling Death; Horseshoe; Super Stuka; U-Bird,
Hose Nose; Hog Nose; Sweetheart; Hog.
Engine: 2,000hp Pratt and Whitney R-2800-8 radial piston engine
Weight: Empty 8,980 lbs, Maximum Takeoff 14,000 lbs.
Wing Span: 41ft. 0in.
Length: 33ft. 4in.
Height: 16ft. 1in.
Maximum Speed at 20,000ft: 420 mph
Cruising Speed: 185 mph
Service Ceiling: 37,000 ft.
Initial Climb Rate: 3,100 feet/min.
Six 12.7mm (0.50 in) machine guns,
Number Built: 12,571
Number Still Airworthy: ~28
Commemorative Air Force FG-1D Corsair N9964Z
Corsair Country -- Lots of Corsair
Experience -- Documentary video (4-DVD set).
Corsairs Over Connecticut -- A
wonderful commemorative event taking place June 3-5, 2005 in Bridegeport, Connecticut,
F4UCorsair.com -- Nice site with lots of
history of the plane and the pilots who made it great.
Gathering of Corsairs and Legends,
Indianapolis, Indiana, USA -- 25 restored Corsairs in the same place at the same time!
Flight Journal Magazine F4U
Jim and Joe Tobul's F4U-4 N713JT
The F4U in World War II and Korea
By Barrett Tillman
Paperback, 219 pages
Published 2002 by Naval Institute Press
The story of the airplane that became a legend. This
fast-paced book includes not only the history of the airplane, but also the human dramas
of the many men who piloted them to fame.
[ Click for more books
and videos about the Corsair! ]
"Corsair Carrier Landing"
Photo by C.F. Smith
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All text and photos Copyright 2011 The
Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
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