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F4U Corsair
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F4U Corsair

F4U Corsair
Description
Role Fighter
Crew 1
First Flight 29 May 1940
Entered Service 31 July 1942
Manufacturer Chance-Vought
Dimensions
Length 33ft. 4in. m
Wingspan 41ft. 0in. m
Height 16ft. 1in. m
Wing area ft²
Weights
Empty lb kg
Loaded lb kg
Maximum takeoff lb kg
Capacity
Powerplant
Engines
Power hp kW
Thrust lb kN
Performance
Maximum speed 420 mph at 20,000 feet km/h
Combat range miles km
Ferry range miles km
Service ceiling 37,000ft m
Rate of climb 3,100ft/min m/min
Wing loading lb/ft² kg/m²
Thrust/Weight
Power/Mass hp/lb kW/kg
Avionics
Avionics
Armament
Guns Six 12.7mm (0.50 in) machine guns, wing-mounted
Bombs
Missiles
Rockets
Other

The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was a fighter aircraft that saw service in World War II and the Korean War.

When flown in 1940, the XF4U-1 became the first U.S. single-engine production aircraft capable of 400 mph in level flight. It was a remarkable achievement for Vought, as carrier aircraft necessarily were heavier than their land-based counterparts to withstand the rigors of deck landings.

However, numerous technical problems had to be solved before the Corsair entered service. Carrier suitability was especially troublesome, leading to changes of the landing gear, tailwheel, and tailhook. Additionally, a small spoiler was added to the leading edge of the port wing to reduce adverse stall characteristics.

Because of the teething problems, Corsairs were largely barred from carrier service until the end of 1944. But Marine Corps squadrons readily took to the radical new fighter. From February 1943 onward, the "U-Bird" was increasingly the leathernecks' favorite mount, flying from Guadalcanal and ultimately other bases in the Solomon Islands. Corsairs also served well as fighter-bombers in the Central Pacific and the Philippines. Night-fighter versions were produced, equipping Navy and Marine units ashore and afloat. At war's end, Corsairs were ashore on Okinawa combatting the Kamikazes and flying from fleet and escort carriers.

During the war, Corsair production expanded beyond Vought to include Brewster (F3A) and Goodyear (FG) models. Allied nations flying the bent-wing bird included the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force.

The F4U-4 and -5 logged combat in Korea between 1950 and 1953 while the "dash seven" model flew with the French Navy during the same period. Corsairs flew their final combat missions during the 1969 "football war" between Honduras and El Salvador.

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