Corsair file photo

F4U Corsair

CountryUnited States
ManufacturerChance Vought Corporation
Primary RoleFighter
Maiden Flight29 May 1940

Contributor: C. Peter Chen

The F4U Corsair fighters first took flight in 1940. Jointly designed by Rex Beisel and Igor Sikorsky, the fighters with inverted gull wings were designed as carrier fighters from the ground up but without sacrificing much of the capabilities. The Corsair fighters were the first American fighters to reach the speech of over 717-km/h in level flight thanks to its streamlined body design (retractable landing gears, streamlined air intakes, etc.) and they packed ample firepower which led to their usage of close ground support fighters in Pacific landing operations.

F4U Corsair fighters' complex design gave them superior performance, but it also gave the aircraft mechanics aboard carriers difficulties, particularly when the model was initially introduced. Additionally, the fighters' long noses hampered visibility during landings, causing many fatal crashes. Such growing pains caused some disliking for the model in the US Navy airmen; initially, the US Navy actually deemed Corsair aircraft unsuitable for carrier operation and assigned them to the US Marines.

While the US Navy took a more cautioned approach, the British Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm introduced the Corsair fighters first. This move was largely because while the US Navy had the proven F6F Hellcat fighters, the British existing carrier fighters were less capable. 424 Corsair fighters were also given to the British Commonwealth Forces of New Zealand. British and Commonwealth operational experiences were fed back to Chance Vought, the manufacturers of the model, while British pilots shared an alternate landing technique with the US Navy. It was then that the US navy began adopting them for carrier service. As the Japanese began operating Special Attack tactics, the now-nicknamed "Sweethearts of the Marianas" began to display their strengths as their faster speed and climb rate were much better suited for intercepting kamikaze aircraft than anything else in the Allied arsenal.

Overall, 12,500 F4U Corsair fighters of 16 separate models were built by Chance Vought, Goodyear, and Brewster. They achieved a kill:loss ratio of 10:1, and remained flight worthy to participate in the Korean War and the war in Indochina, both in the first half of the 1950s. A few Corsair fighters were also seen during the Football War between Honduras and El Salvador in 1969.

Sources: Inferno, Wikipedia.

F4U Corsair Timeline

13 Feb 1943 F4U-1 Corsair aircraft of US Marines squadron VMF-124 made their first operational debut, escorting a US Navy Catalina aircraft on a Dumbo search and rescue mission, 200 miles north of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands.
31 Oct 1943 The US Navy scored its first radar aided aerial victory when an F4U-2 Corsair fighter destroyed a Japanese aircraft it had intercepted over New Georgia.

SPECIFICATIONS

F4U-4
MachineryPratt & Whitney R-2800-18W Double Wasp 18-cyl radial engine rated at 2,450hp
Armament6x0.50in Browning M2 machine guns, optional 8x127mm rockets or optional 2x454kg bombs
Crew1
Span12.50 m
Length10.20 m
Height4.90 m
Wing Area32.50 m
Weight, Empty4,175 kg
Weight, Loaded6,350 kg
Weight, Maximum6,654 kg
Speed, Maximum717 km/h
Service Ceiling12,649 m
Range, Maximum2,510 km

Photographs

XF4U-1 Corsair prototype aircraft at Langley Research Center at Hampton, Virginia, United States, Feb 1940-1941F4U-1 Corsair fighter in flight, circa 1942A crewman finds the only shade there is on the airstrip on Green Island (now Nissan Island), Northern Solomons, beneath an F4U-1D Corsair fighter of Marine Squadron 222, 1943-44.An F4U-1 Corsair with its gear down, flaps down, and hook down prepares to trap aboard the training aircraft carrier USS Wolverine on Lake Michigan, United States, 1943.
See all 200 photographs of F4U Corsair Fighter



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Visitor Submitted Comments

  1. Anonymous says:
    15 Mar 2007 05:30:01 AM

    These things are sweet.
  2. Anonymous says:
    30 Apr 2007 11:35:33 AM

    No kidding...the Japanese nicknamed it Whistling Death because of the whistling sound the inverted gull wings made in the air...awesome.
  3. Alan Chanter says:
    30 Oct 2007 06:52:23 AM

    The Royal Navy actually took delivery of ninety-five F4U-1 (Corsair I), 510 F4U-1A (Corsair II, 430 F3A-1D (Corsair III) and 977 FG-1D (Corsair IV) operating in nineteen squadrons. In addition a further 370 F4U-1Ds were supplied to the R.N.Z.A.F operating in three squadron.
  4. Alan Chanter says:
    30 Oct 2007 06:59:14 AM

    Royal Navy Corsair Is were modified with a bulged front cockpit canopy to allow the pilot to improve visibility by raising his seat. Other modifications included clipping 16 inchs from the wingtips to enable storage on the smaller British carriers, fitting Rocket rails, and on some earlier machines providing a fuel drop-tank beneath the fuselage.
  5. Alan Chanter says:
    30 Oct 2007 07:03:15 AM

    Deliveries to the F.A.A. commenced on June 1, 1943 when No.1830 squadron formed with Corsair Is at Quonset. By the end of that year seven more squadrons were forming up with Corsair Is or IIs
  6. Alan Chanter says:
    30 Oct 2007 07:06:49 AM

    The first operational sorties by F.A.A. Corsairs occurred on April 3, 1944, when Corsair IIs of No.1834 squadron provided air cover for torpedo bombers attacking the German Battleship Tirpitz
  7. Alan Chanter says:
    30 Oct 2007 07:10:52 AM

    British Corsairs were built by Chance-Vought (Corsair I and II), Brewster (Corsair III) and Goodyear (Corsair IV).
  8. Anonymous says:
    1 May 2008 08:21:20 AM

    what the hell this isnt a bad page if you were looking for a little bit on it but ive seen sights much better composed. my definition this sucks hairy balls like the rest of this **** ing sight. ty but otherwise not to bad
  9. Anonymous says:
    1 Oct 2008 02:04:31 AM

    great flying machines
  10. Anonymous says:
    15 Feb 2009 04:01:38 PM

    the last production corsair was the F2G-1 the aircraft was powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-4360 Wasp Major Powerplant, and it was the largest piston engine ever produced for a propeller driven fighter delivering 3,000 horse power! the aircraft had a full bubble canopy, and cut down spine. ww2 ended any full production of this model. only five aircraft were built for testing. later on several F2G's became racing planes for many year's one of these aircraft, won the Thompson Trophy in 1947.
  11. Anonymous says:
    26 Nov 2009 05:21:05 AM

    A good site but you and some of your followers have some misunderstood errors.
  12. JC Wagner says:
    12 Jul 2010 01:03:16 PM

    How many were shot down in WW2 out of the 12,500 made?
  13. Moe says:
    5 Oct 2010 03:54:11 PM

    What does VBF stand for?
  14. Moe says:
    6 Oct 2010 03:34:53 PM

    To- JC Wagner Regarding the number of Corsairs shot down during WWII, a site called Aviation Enthusiast Corner shows that Corsairs shot down 2,180 enemy aircraft and lost only 190 Corsairs. Don't know if this accurate or not but that is the only info I have found. Italso stated that a large number of Corsairs were lost during the Korean Conflict.
  15. Ray says:
    25 Jan 2014 04:26:07 PM

    In answer to Moe's question in #13; the V in naval nomenclature stood for heavier than air aircraft. Before and during WWII several lighter than air (blimps) were operated by the Navy. A fighter squadron could be VF 5 or VF 10. Add an M and it was a Marine squadron, like VMF 214. The other letters stood for Scouting, Bombing, Torpedo, and Fighter. Numbering could be confusing also with the first types "1" left out. Example; a PBJ was a patrol bomber built by North American. Since it was the first type, there is no "1". The AAF called them B-25s. A PBY was built by Consolidated Aircraft. No Number "1" again. A PB4Y was actually a B-24 used by the Navy. Confused enough yet? Then add the manufacturer's code at the end. F stood for Gruman, M for General motors, U for Chance Vought.
  16. David Stubblebine says:
    25 Jan 2014 05:17:29 PM

    More for Moe #13:
    Adding to Rays reply, in WWII Navy lingo VBF stood for Fighting-Bombing Squadron. By the end of 1944 with the growing use of Japanese Special Attack aircraft (kamikaze), US carrier air groups expanded the size of the fighter component, nearly doubled it actually. So many fighter pilots became unwieldy to manage administratively so they were split into two squadrons, 1 Fighting Squadron (VF) and 1 Fighting-Bombing Squadron (VBF). Despite the implication in the names, both squadrons served identical functions flying F6F Hellcats that carried light bomb loads or rockets.

    For more on the huge collection of abbreviations and acronyms used by the Navy, see: http://www.history.navy.mil/books/OPNAV20-P1000/index.html.

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F4U Corsair Fighter Photo Gallery
XF4U-1 Corsair prototype aircraft at Langley Research Center at Hampton, Virginia, United States, Feb 1940-1941
See all 200 photographs of F4U Corsair Fighter



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