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Picture of Chance Vought F4-U Corsair Fighter

The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was designed by Rex Beisel and Igor Sikorsky to meet the US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics 1938 RFP (requests for proposals) for a single-engine carrier based fighter aircraft which could match the performance of the best existing land based fighters. The first prototype Chance Vought Corsair, the XF4U-1, made it's first flight on the 29th of May 1940 and four months later became the first U.S. single-engine production aircraft to exceed 400 mph in level flight

Chance Vought F4U Corsair


The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was a large aircraft, it was powered by the most powerful engine available, the massive 18-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine, this large engine was coupled to a giant 13'4" Hamilton Standard Hydromatic propeller. As the Chance Vought F4U Corsair was to be carrier based it was deemed necessary to have a relatively wide tracked undercarriage which meant wing mounted, furthermore to obtain the ruggedness required for deck landings the undercarriage struts should be short, unfortunately this would give insufficient clearance for the massive propeller for take off and landings, Beisel's and Sikorsky's solution was the distinctive Chance Vought F4U Corsair bent wing design as had been initially used by the German Stuka dive bomber..


The Chance Vought F4U Corsair first entered service in 1942 but as a land based plane due to outstanding undercarriage design problems, it only became carrier based in 1943 after the Royal Navy qualified the type for it's own Aircraft Carriers, they had made minor modifications to the Chance Vought F4U Corsairs landing gear and adopted a curved landing approach to increase the pilots view of the carrier deck and make landing safer. The Chance Vought F4U Corsair proved to be an excellent navy fighter obtaining excellent kill ratios of up to 11:1, however as is common with most successful dog fighters, the aircraft was hard to fly, landing accidents accounting for nearly as many losses as those in aerial combat but never the less it was able to wrestle air superiority away from the Japanese Zero in the Pacific theatre. It is of note that sadly the Royal Navy's Chance Vought F4U Corsair fighters were dumped from their aircraft carriers in to the sea at the end of WW2 to meet the Lend-Lease agreement with the USA.

Chance Vought Corsair

As the Chance Vought F4U Corsair repeatedly proved it's self in combat, demand for additional aircraft exceeded Chance Vought's capacity to produce them, consequently Corsair's were built under licence by Goodyear Company as the FG-1 Corsair, as depicted in the picture at the top of the page, and by the Brewster Company as the F3A-1 Corsair.

Operators of the Chance Vought F4U Corsair during WW2 included the US Navy, US Marines, Royal New Zealand Air Force and the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm. After the end of WW2 Corsair's were also operated by the French Aeronavale who received the last batch of aircraft produced in 1952.

Some Chance Vought F4U Corsair's saw action in Indochina and the Korean War and flew against the Russian MiG-15 jet fighter, they were destined to remain in military service throughout the 1960's last seeing action in 1969 in the war between Honduras and El Salvador which was triggered by a disagreement over a football match!

The Sweetheart of Okinawa

The Chance Vought F4U Corsair was known by many popular nicknames during it's service life, the "Bent Wing Bird" is self explanatory, following campaigns victories on Mariana and Okinawa the Corsair became known as 'The Sweetheart of the Marianas' and the 'The Sweetheart of Okinawa', it is also said that the Japanese called the aircraft the 'Whispering Death' because of the high-pitched sound made by the airframe when going into a high speed attack dive.

Chance Vought F4U Corsair Armament:

  • Six .50 Browning M2 machine guns or four 20 mm Hispano Mk.II cannon
  • Eight 5 in (127 mm) unguided rocket projectiles or two 1,000 lb (454 kg) bombs
F4u Corsair
Chance Vought F4U Corsair Specifications:
  • Crew: Pilot only
  • Length: 33 ft 8 in (10.30 m)
  • Wingspan: 41 ft 0 in (12.50 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 1 in (4.90 m)
  • Max takeoff weight: 14,670 lb (6,654 kg)
  • Engine: Single 2,450 hp (1,827 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18W Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial
  • Maximum speed: 446 mph (717 km/h) at 26,200 ft (7,986 m)
  • Maximum range: 1,560 miles (2,510 km) with drop tanks fitted
  • Service ceiling: 41,500 ft (12,649 m)
F4u Corsair Images

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