History of the Vaught F4U Corsair Plane (cont'd)

The F4U-3 was a bump in the evolution of the Corsair. The US Navy had for many months kicked around the idea of a high altitude (40,000+ ft) (12,192+ m) version of the F4U. Toward the latter half of 1943, they approached Vought with the scheme and Vought designer Russell Clark went to work molding the Corsair fuselage around the XR-2800-16 Double Wasp engine which was fitted with two Bierman model 1009A turbo-superchargers.

At first the project looked very promising with the engine producing 2000 hp (1,492.5 kW) at 40,000 ft (12,192 m). But defects in the turbo-superchargers caused the project to be dropped after a few copies had been produced and tested. The dash three could be identified by a large intake tube fitted to the belly below the engine.

The F4U-4 was one of the more important variants of the Corsair. Seven prototypes were built, anticipating the many problems which would arise from the proposed changes. Five F4U-1s were pulled from the production line to be modified into the XF4U-4A, ‘4B, ‘4C, ‘4D and’4E. Two more "FG-1" aircraft (identical to the Vought F4U-1) were pulled from Goodyear’s production line. They were all fitted with the Pratt-Whitney R-2800-18W engine which produced 2,100 hp (1,567 kW) and sported a new four blade prop. The engine also had methanol-water injection which boosted the war emergency power rating to 2,450 hp (1,828 kW) for about five minutes. The 18W engine necessitated changes in the basic airframe to handle the extra power and the turbo air intake was mounted on the inside bottom of the engine cowling (it was called a "chin scoop") while air for the intercooler and oil cooler continued to be drawn from the wing slots. The F4U-4 was clocked at a top speed of 446 mph (717.75 kph) at 26,200 ft (7,985.76 m). Our pedal planes and corsair pedal plane cannot fly quite that fast. Whether you're flying in our Silver pursuit pedal planes, Sky King pedal plane, or the popular Shark attack pedal plane, these pedal planes will only fly at a few MPH at an altitude of 0ft. 

Although it wasn’t designated by the Navy as such, the dash four was a fighter-bomber for all intents and purposes. It had 6 Colt-Browning .50 cal. (12.7 mm) wing mounted machine guns (the F4U-4C substituted four 20 mm cannon), plus it could carry two 1,000 lb (453.6 kg) bombs or eight 5 inch (127 mm) rockets. The first 300 of the production F4U-1Cs were assigned to Marine Air Group 31 and were taken into the Battle for Okinawa aboard the escort carriers Sitko Bay and Bereton. The Army and Marine riflemen who fought that battle on the ground remember the F4U-4 as the "Sweetheart of Okinawa" and it undoubtedly saved many hundreds of their lives.

The prototype "Dash Five" was flown in December 1945, a few months after World War Two had ended. It utilized all the knowledge built up over the war years and major changes were made to upgrade the F4U-5 Corsair. First, the engine was changed to the Pratt-Whitney R-2800-32W. This was called a "Series E" engine and featured a dual supercharger to boost engine power to 2,350 hp (1,753.7 kW) at 26,200 ft (7,985.8 m). War emergency power was boosted to 2,760 hp (2,059.7 kW). The dual supercharger necessitated removing the chin scoop and installing two "cheek" scoops inside the engine cowling.

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source: www.aviation-history.com