History of the Vaught F4U Corsair Plane (cont'd)
As the Corsair was thought by the Navy to be unsuitable for carrier duty, it was given to the U.S. Marines for land-based operations where it earned an outstanding combat record. Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia also received the F4U during WWII.
It was the British who finally worked out a method of landing the Corsair on
their carriers in spite of the visibility problems caused by the long nose.
Instead of the normal downwind-crosswind-final approach method, the British
simply turned downwind, then made a slow, continuous curve which aligned the
Corsair with the deck only at the last second before the aircraft touched down
and trapped. This method allowed the pilot to keep the Landing Signals Officer
in view right up to the moment the plane was over the fan-tail where the LSO
gave the sign to either "cut" or make another attempt.
To alleviate the problem of oil and hydraulic fluid smearing the windshield, the Brits simply wired shut the cowl flaps across the top of the engine compartment, diverting the oil and hydraulic fluid around the sides of the fuselage. Numerous other simple, effective alterations were devised to alleviate the dreadful stall characteristics, landing bounce and tailhook problems (among others), and these modifications were incorporated into the production line. In 1944 the US Navy decided to again try landing the F4U on carriers, and this time succeeded. It turned out to be an extremely wise decision.
As the nature of the war changed, the Corsair also changed. There were seven different dash numbers, some built exclusively for foreign countries (the F4U-7 for the French Aeronavale), and one was never built at all (the F4U-6). Some dash numbers had letter suffixes designating different changes in the airframe, weapons or engine. In addition to Vought, the Corsair was built by the Goodyear Aircraft Company, with a lesser production run by Brewster Aeronautical Corporation.
There were also night fighter versions (designated by the suffix letter
"N"), and photo versions (with the suffix "P"). The Corsair
underwent over 950 major engineering changes over is lifetime though none
changed the distinctive profile of the F4U. Most often, production aircraft were
simply pulled off the assembly line and used as test beds. Some of these were
designated prototypes with the prefix "X" (such as the
"XF4U-3"). By the end of Corsair production 1952, there were 16
separate models on the books.
Depending on which Air Squadron you were in, the F4U had many nicknames: "Hose Nose", "Bent Wing Bird", "Hog" and "Ensign Eliminator", the latter due to itís stall and landing characteristics. In our reproduction version of the Corsair pedal plane, notice the bent wings. Our other pedal planes have distinctive characteristics too. Under the right circumstances, the wing mounted air intakes caused a pronounced whistling sound. For that reason, Japanese ground troops called it "Whistling Death".
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