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Vought F4U "Corsair"

Designed in 1938 and rolling off the production line in 1940, the Vought F4U "Corsair" was the fastest mono-winged carrier based fighter the Navy possessed. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney 2,000 hp, 18 cylinder radial engine the maximum air speed was 417 mph and a range of 1,000 miles. Armed with (6) .50 caliber machine guns mounted in its folding wings, it also had the capacity to carry (2) 1,000 bombs and a auxiliary fuel tank mounted under the fuselage. Considered one of the finest piston driven fighters it was able to out perform the Japanese "Zero" and had a impressive 2,140 confirmed enemy aircraft destroyed with only 189 "Corsairs" lost or a 11:1 ratio. Despite its contemporary design its was plagued with faults, its large 13' 4" diameter propeller required a distinguishable inverted gull shape wing which lifted its nose higher limiting pilots vision during taxiing and at slower carrier landings speeds had a tendency to stall, a condition know as rudder kick and often bounced upon touch down. The out come of these problems was to utilize the "Corsair" more as a land based aircraft often flown by the Marines in their island hopping through the Pacific.

Through out WWII the "Corsiar" had 500 major and 2,500 minor engineering corrections. Of importance was the reconstruction of the pilots cockpit which had a limited rear view, an unique domed canopy and raising the pilots seat corrected this. The pilots cockpit also had bullet proof glass, radar for night fighting and a "Friend or Foe Identification" IFF radio system. After WWII, the "Corsair" production continued and was utilized in the Korean War as a fighter-bomber. From its beginning, a total of 12,500 "Corsair" variants were produced until December 1952 when Jet Aircraft fighters became superior.




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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net