In 1938 -at which time Chance Vought was a division of United Aircraft Corporation (UAC) - the US Navy was seeking a new single-seat fighter suitable for operation from aircraft carriers. Details of the requirement were circulated to US manufacturers and Chance Vought's proposal (then bearing the company identification V-166B) was sufficiently interesting to be selected for prototype construction. A single prototype was contracted for on 30 June 1938, making its first flight on 29 May 1940.
Realising that performance, load-carrying capability and range were essential ingredients of
a carrier-based fighter, Vought set about designing the smallest possible airframe around the most powerful engine then available. The selection of a four-blade propeller meant that the front fuselage had to be kept well clear of the ground. This dictated a tall, stalky landing gear which would be completely unsuitable for carrier landings. The solution to this problem provided the F4U (as designated by the Navy) with a recognition feature - an inverted gull wing. By mounting the main landing gear at the crank of the wing, it was possible to use compact and robust main struts.
Testing of the XF4U-1 prototype soon demonstrated that the Navy had available a fighter faster than anything else in service with the armed forces. On 30 June 1941 the Vought-Sikorsky Aircraft Division of UAC (as the company was then reformed) received a contract for 584 aircraft under the designation F4U-1. What had by then become an honoured name - Corsair - was to be bestowed on this new aircraft, one which was to prove itself the finest carrier-based fighter of World War II.
F4U-1 began to enter service in October 1942, but in order to provide increased fuel capacity the cockpit had been moved further aft to make room for a fuselage fuel tank. When first tested by the Navy it was believed that this adversely affected the pilot's view, to the extent that the Corsair was considered doubtful for carrier operation. Production aircraft were delivered instead to the US Marine Corps for operation from land bases. It was not until 1944, when Corsairs supplied to the Royal Navy under Lend-Lease were being used effectively from carriers, that the US Navy made a serious reappraisal of their suitability for this role. Shortly after, Navy squadrons were given approval to use the Corsair for the task for which it had been designed.
The Corsair was built also by Brewster Aeronautical Corporation and Goodyear Aircraft Corporation to cope with the high production required, under the initial designations of F3A-1 and FG-1 respectively. Both Vought and Goodyear built a number of variants, the last being the F4U-7, of which 90 were built for supply through MAP to the French Aeronavale. By the time that production ended in December 1952 more than 11,000 had been built; of these 2,012 had been supplied to Britain and 370 to the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
| ENGINE||1 x P+W R-2800-8, 1470kW|
| Take-off weight||5757 kg||12692 lb|
| Empty weight||4024 kg||8871 lb|
| Wingspan||12.5 m||41 ft 0 in|
| Length||10.1 m||33 ft 2 in|
| Height||3.7 m||12 ft 2 in|
| Wing area||29.2 m2||314.31 sq ft|
| Max. speed||620 km/h||385 mph|
| Ceiling||11300 m||37050 ft|
| Range||2500 km||1553 miles|
| ARMAMENT||6 x 12.7mm machine-guns|
|Mike, mwkeister2=yahoo.com, 26.03.2013|
My dad flew Corsairs off the Lexington during the war. Of all the types of aircraft he flew during his 22 year career as a Naval Aviator, his favorite aircraft bar none was the F4U. He said that once you got the F4U to CAP altitude and got her all trimmed, you could fly lazy-eights by leaning from one side of the cockpit to the other. It was also an unforgiving aircraft and had considerable torque. His stateroom-mate came in a little too low on approach one day and fire-walled the throttle when he got the LSO's "power" signal. The torque was so powerful that he lost control of the aircraft, went into a spin, crashed into the fantail and then sank to the bottom of the Pacific. From that day on, Dad always came in high and hot, regardless of how much it aggrivated the LSOs.
|JAMES BROCK, DPOOBUG=AOL.COM, 23.02.2013|
MY BROTHER, RAY BROCK, FLEW A CORSAIR FROM THE USS BOXER AND WAS LOST NEAR SIAPAN IN 1944 OR 1945. DID ANYONE KNOW RAY AND WHAT HAPPENED WITH HIS FLIGHT.
|Garland R. Goesch, planBbygg=gmail.cm, 08.02.2013|
I was with VF-74 at Quonset Point, RI. We had 18 F4U-4s. I was discharged in July 1952 as an AM-3. Loved that Corsair,
and I still do.
|Steb, stebharvey=ameritech.net, 04.01.2013|
I just finished a 1/25 scale F4U model made from 22ga brass flat stock. It was interesting to get the correct "Gull" curve but I'm very pleased with the results. I sell my models as weather vanes which means even though they are solid brass, I also paint them with enamel, decals and clear coat for outdoor use. I've always loved the F4-U just a little bit more then the P-51 just because my dad was in the Pacific in WWII.
|Bob Robbins, bobrobb30=hotmail.com, 24.12.2012|
When I got out of Yeoman School in Feb. 1949 I was assigned to VF63
at NAAS Oceans, VA. Our skipper LCDR
Malcolm Cagle had flown the F4U in WWII
in the Pacific and had several kills. Our squadron
had Corsairs. Later on. after the Korean War
started we were transferred to the west coast
and went to Korea aboard the USS Boxer. Before
we left Virginia LCDR Gagle left our squadron. He was
promoted to Commander and went to the Pentagon.
The next time I saw Malcolm Cagle he he was returning from
Korea, as we were. He came aboard our carrier in 1951 at Pearl Harbor.
to use our squadron office to do dictation. He had a yeoman with him and he was writing a history of mine warfare in the Korean War. LCDR
Cagle was at that time a Rear Admiral. He retired as a Vice Admiral.
|Dusty Richards, jmdusty=yahoo.com, 27.11.2012|
Growing up on the flightline at plant E I learned that the FG 2 was the cadilac of the Corsairs, with it's bigger engine, longer nose, bubble canopy, better rutter, longer tail due location of it's hook and 4 50 cals in each wing. Learned to fly there on the civil side across from the Rubberbowl and Dirby downs in my dads J3 Piper when I was 11, got my ticket on my 12th birthday. Flew the 86 in Korea and the 89 and 102 in Greanland till I came out in 62.
|Chuck, huffmancharles=rocketmail.com, 10.11.2012|
My Father flew the F4U from the Aircraft Carrier USS Intrepid CV-11 in 1945. He was on his way to Japan for the planned invasion. He did occupation duty instead. He Joined the Navy in 1940. This was his third Carrier, CV-2 USS Lexington, lost in the Battle of the Coral Sea and CV-18 USS Wasp. He had six Battle stars and was a fighter ace in the F6F-3.
|James Brown, CDR Ret., 2inlove2=sbcglobal.net, 09.06.2012|
I flew the F4U-1A in 1944 through the F4U-5N off USS Oriskany (VC-3 Team G)1952-53. Great and honest airplane that at 30,000' would outrun a F-80C (Navy version TV-1).
|Frank, Whistlingdeathcorsairs=yahoo.com, 25.05.2012|
Hi everyone. I own and operate the whistling death corsairs exhibit which pertains to the preservation and education of the f4u and the workers who built her,( chance vought- Goodyear-Brewster.) if anybody needs information on their family members who were involved please don't hesitate to email me. I have an outstanding collection of artifacts that help to enlighten the younger generations as to what the corsair did for freedom. Thanks and look forward to hearing from you
|James Reed, jdupre=bellsouth.net, 17.03.2012|
Charles Lindbergh flew Corsairs in combat with the Marines out of New Guinea in mid-1944 (in Col. Joe Foss's outfit, the leading Marine Ace in WWII), and was very complimentary of its performance and handling. Did one mission with a single 5000lb bomb! Combat was against Washington's orders, but the operational troops liked him so much, and were so impressed with his abilities, they helped him bend the rules. His official mission was to find ways to get longer range out of the fighters in the S. Pacific, which he did.
In July '44 working with the Army in P-38s, he shot down a Zero.
Details can be found in Lindbergh's "Wartime Journals", published in 1970.
|Robert Sussman, bozo2go=ameritech.net, 13.02.2012|
My father (Floyd) designed this plane from the firewall back. Worked for Chance-Vought in W.VA just before and when I was born.
|Jerry L, Jeremyjetpilot=cs.com, 11.02.2012|
Guys you need to look at the record of VMF 221 the recinolying Falcons. Jim Swett, Medal of Honor Recipient, George Johns, Dean Caswell, Duncan many more great heros gave the F4U a great record. These guys were part of the greatest generation with I believe only 12 remaining alive today. Semper Fi All!!! Jerry from FMF(AW) 513 Atsugi.
|GARY BEDINGER, 16.01.2012|
I'VE ALWAYS LIKED THE F4U "CORSAIR" OF WW2 AND THE KOREAN WAR.THE BEST VARIANT OF THE "CORSAIR" WAS THE F4U-4.MY GREAT UNCLE DURWOOD WORKED ON THE "CORSAIR" DURING THE KOREAN WAR,HE WAS APART OF THE BLACK SHEEP,VMF 214 AS AN ELECTRICIAN.
|Ralph Alshouse, alsfarm=grm.net, 25.11.2011|
During WWII I flew 28 different Navy airplanes. The Corsair was by far the best of all. It could do snap rolls all day long if your body could stand it! For example I was flying a FG-3 at 13000feet,a shining new P-51 came along side wanting to race using hand signals. I signaled no three times, then he gave me the finger---we were on. He pulled more inches of manifold pressure, so he jumped ahead until I got my 4 blade prop cranked up with 45 inches of manifold pressure. I caught up to him and was passing giving him my tomcat grin. He leaned forward pushing something, pulling away. He would not put his blower on at 1300feet, but he did. So I turned my blower on. Catching him again, I was watching my cylinder head temp. It was approaching the red. I poped open the water injection and waved good bye to the P51. Do not do that it's too hard on engines.
|Gary, tmstrato=aol.com, 19.08.2011|
Forgot to add his name...
LT Commander H. Warrington "Spike" Sharp
from Portsmouth Va.
Thanks for your help again.
|Gary, TMSTRATO=AOL.COM, 19.08.2011|
I would like to know if anyone has any information on the F4U training in Pensacola Fl. My late uncle was a Navy Lt Commander and was a flight instructor in Pensacola during the early to mid 1940's. Does anyone know the name of the airwing or outfit? I am trying to recreate a flying scale model of the exact aircraft he flew as a memorial to him. I am a R/C pilot of warbirds and I have been looking for any info I can get on his squadron or airwing. Thanks in advance for your help.
|W.G.B.Laughlin, Quail3279=aol.com, 22.06.2011|
I was a Marine Pilot,assigned to VF5@ NAS JAX,a Navy fighter squadron,teaching Royal Navy pilots. Flew the F4U-1 birdcage,and later with VMF 111 flew FG1s-5s. 1,550 hrs.total in this plane..5 degrees rt.rudder ,or you weren't getting into the air.Good carrier bird.The F6F would float.The Corsair wouldn't.Flew for 45 yrs.after WWII.The corsair was my favorite.2nd.would be the F8F & The Pitts S-2-B.
|Tom Bennis, patom7=verizon.net, 21.05.2011|
Never flew one but "pushed" and chocked/unchecked a lot of F4U4
( 6-50 cal. machine guns) and 5's (4 20mm guns) as a Aviation Boatswains Mate on the Philippine Sea and Coral Sea in 1948-52
|ProfSkip, skip.klingman=sbcglobal.net, 15.05.2011|
My uncle, Bob Klingman, flew F4Us off Okinawa 1944-45 as a member of VMF-312. Later, he flew ground support missions in Korea before transitioning to the F9F Panther. There's a beautiful restoration in Texas of an FG1, which has been painted with VMF-312s distinctive checkerboard colors. I saw this plane at Addison, TX two years ago at an airshow. Merritt Chance, another member of VMF312, consulted on the restoration, and it wears his old A/C number. For more on VMF312 (which incidentally is still in operation as VMFA312, flying FA-18s) log onto F4Ucorsair.com and click on the link to VMF312 found on the site. Interesting stuff.
|Daniel Enz, denz=enzcoinc.com, 26.04.2011|
This is my "if you could only pick one favorite" Aircraft. I have been a fan since i was a kid in Marin county CA.in the mid 50's. We would watch the fleet come in under the Golden Gate Bridge. I asked about the aircraft carriers and aircraft...i saw my first picture of the F4U Corsair..and I was toast!!
Later in life I would Marry my wife Judy and find out that her Sister Patty is married to the "Grandson" of "Pappy Boyington"....The Black Sheep Squadron...my favorite show while it ran....NEVER missed it. The F4U looks and sounds so good...I could sit and listen to that big radial at idle until it ran out of gas.
Do you have any comments about this aircraft ?