The Vought F4U Corsair was one of the most capable and feared fighters of World War II. It achieved a kill rate of over 11:1 against Japanese fighters in the Pacific and was later used as a fighter-bomber in the Korean War.
The plane you see here was built in 1945 and delivered to the US Navy, it was then used in the television show “Baa Baa Black Sheep” filmed from 1976 to 1978 on the Black Sheep squadron. In 2019 the aircraft was damaged in a landing accident in Canada and is now being sold as a restoration project.
Fast Facts – Vought F4U Corsair
- The Vought F4U Corsair was designed to meet the demand for a carrier-based fighter aircraft with a range of 1,000 miles, a stall speed of 70 mph or less, and a top speed described by the US Navy as “the maximum obtainable speed”.
- The Corsair’s most famous design feature is its curved gull wings. These were designed to allow the 13+ foot propeller to clear the deck even on hard, bouncy landings at sea.
- Power was provided by the two-row Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp, an 18-cylinder radial engine capable of developing over 2,000 hp.
- The Corsair shown here was built in 1945 by Goodyear and delivered to the US Navy. It did not see active duty during World War II and was used in various U.S. Navy Reserve squadrons after World War II. It is now offered for sale in need of full restoration after a landing accident in 2019.
The privateer Vought F4U
The Vought F4U Corsair began development in the late 1930s, before World War II broke out, but it seemed inevitable to many. The US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics has issued two requests for proposals for single-engine and twin-engine combat aircraft.
Video above: This is the original opening sequence from the 1970s TV show “Baa Baa Black Sheep”, about the Black Sheep squadron. The Corsair shown in this article was used on the show, and is most likely one of those seen in this clip.
The Navy specified that the single-engine aircraft must have a stall speed of no more than 70 miles per hour, a range of 1,000 miles or more, and the maximum speed requested was listed as “the maximum speed obtainable”. .
The contract was signed in 1938 based on Vought’s proposals for the aircraft that would become the Corsair. The first prototype flew in 1940, a host of design improvements were applied, meaning it did not enter production until 1943.
As with all fighter aircraft designed for carrier duties, the Corsair was over-engineered to withstand the often harsh landings that occur on deck. Once deployed in the Pacific theater of war, the Corsair quickly became well known to enemy combatants for its speed, maneuverability, and six wing-mounted 0.50-inch (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns.
With a kill-ratio of over 11:1, the Corsair became one of the most successful fighters of WWII. It remains famous today for its wartime exploits and for its unusual gull-wing design which was developed to keep the giant 13.1-foot propeller away from the deck.
The combination of the 2,000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp 18-cylinder two-row radial engine and the Hamilton Standard Hydromatic three-bladed propeller produced one of the most powerful engine-propeller combinations ever used on an aircraft. hunt.
Over 12,500 examples of the Corsair were built, and in order to increase wartime production, additional production contracts were awarded to Goodyear (designated FG) and Brewster (designated F3A).
The aircraft served both fighter and fighter-bomber roles in World War II, and later served similar roles in the Korean War.
The Goodyear FG-1D Corsair shown here
The aircraft you see here is actually a Goodyear FG-1D Corsair, i.e. a Vought F4U Corsair that was built under license by Goodyear to help meet production demand. Despite the place of production, most still refer to the aircraft as the Vought F4U Corsair for simplicity.
This Corsair left the Goodyear factory in Akron, Ohio in 1945 and was delivered to the US Navy.
The war was coming to an end at this point and as a result this aircraft never saw active service. After the war it was used in various U.S. Navy Reserve squadrons, and in 1958 it was in use as a display in a Washington state park.
Fortunately, the plane was saved in 1973 by legendary warbird collector David Tallichet who restored it to flying condition.
After the restoration, the plane became something of a celebrity, it was flown in the television show “Baa Baa Black Sheep” from 1976 to 1978. This was a series about the famous feats of the daring Black Sheep Squadron based in the Pacific and led by Marine Major. Gregory “Pappy” Boyington during World War II.
In 1989 the aircraft was sent to John Lane and Unlimited Airpower for a full restoration which would take 13 years. After that, the aircraft received the Grand Champion Warbird WWII trophy at EAA Airventure in Oshkosh in 2003.
Sadly in 2019 the Corsair was damaged in a landing accident in Canada, it has been in storage since then and is now offered for sale in the hope that someone will pick it up and put it back able to fly again.
It is offered for sale by Platinum Fighter Sales and you can visit the listing here if you want to know more or inquire about purchasing it.
Images courtesy of Wings of Canada + Platinum Fighter Sales
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