KIDS: F4U History and Basic Information

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F4U Corsair - History and Basic Information
{Three F4U Corsairs Flying Over Long Island Sound}
Photograph used by permission of Richard Allnutt Copyright 2005
Three F4U Corsairs Flying over Long Island Sound 
Early History
On February 1, 1938, the United States Navy issued a request for proposals for a new carrier-based fighter aircraft. One proposal submitted was that of Vought-Sikorsky (later Chance Vought ) Division of United Aircraft Corporation of Stratford, Connecticut. A design team, headed by Chief Engineer Rex Beisel , developed a radical new design built around the most powerful aircraft engine available at that time - the Pratt and Whitney R2800 "Double Wasp" 18-cylinder, two-row, air-cooled radial engine. In addition, this new design incorporated low-mounted "inverted gull wings" or "bent wings."
The first prototype was ordered in June, 1938 and was designated the XF4U-1. The first flight was on May 29, 1940, with test pilot Lyman A. Bullard Jr..
The initial production order for 584 F4U-1 aircraft was placed on June 30, 1941. The aircraft was given the name Corsair, a name which had been used on other Vought-Sikorsky aircraft.
The first F4U-1 aircraft were received by the U.S. Navy on August 31, 1942. The first recorded combat mission was flown on February 14, 1943.
The F4U Corsair was also used in large numbers by the British Royal Navy. They had more than 2000 of the planes. Many hundreds of Corsairs were also flown by the Royal New Zealand Air Force.
Later Development
Originally designed as a carrier-based fighter, the F4U was also used from land bases. One of the most famous squadron was the VMF-214 "Black Sheep" Squadron which flew out of  Henderson Field, located on Guadalcanal Island in the Solomon Islands.
Many versions of the F4U were created, depending on its intended use. These included the following.
   F4U-2 - equipped with radar and fitted with a radome on the right wing for night action.
   F4U-4 - incorporated a more powerful version of the engine, improved armament, and a 4-bladed propeller.
   F4U-5 - included versions designed to be use in low temperatures for the Korean War.
F4U Corsairs were also manufactured by Goodyear Corporation (4007 planes) under the designation of F2G, and by Brewster Aeronautical (735 planes) under the designation F3G.
Service History
F4U Corsairs were used in World War II, the Korean War and in regional conflicts up to 1969. They were purchased by other countries including France and Argentina. The last Corsairs were produced in 1952, with 12,571 total production over the twelve years since 1942.
The F4U was considered by many pilots to the one of the best fighter aircraft of World War II. It was the first single engine fighter aircraft to exceed 400 miles per hour flight speed with full armament. Fast and highly maneuverable, the F4U also incorporated extensive protection for its pilots.
Specifications for the F4U-4
   Crew - On pilot
   Length - 33 feet, 8 inches
   Wingspan - 41 feet
   Height - 16 feet, 1 inch
   Wing Area - 350 square feet
   Weight Empty - 9,205 pounds
   Maximum Speed - 446 miles per hour at 26,200 feet altitude
   Maximum Range - 1,560 miles
   Powerplant - Pratt and Whitney R2800 "Double Wasp", 18 cylinder radial engine, 2,100 hp
   Armament - Six .50 caliber Colt-Browning M2 Machine Guns and two 1,000 pound bombs 

Content Last Modified on 6/20/2014 2:01:36 PM