An early F4U-1

An early F4U-1

Introduction

The WWII F4U Corsair served as both a fighter aircraft and a carrier aircraft.  Throughout its service in World War II, the US Navy reported an excellent 11:1 kill ratio for the F4U.  The long production on this aircraft would take it also into the Korean War, where it would mainly serve as a fighter-bomber.

 

 

Practice Flights of the F4U Corsair

The first flight for the F4U Corsair occurred in May of 1940; and in October of that year, the XF4U-1 posted a flying speed in excess of 400 miles, setting a record for the single-engine class aircraft.  This top speed, coupled with the advanced technology of the aircraft, contributed to numerous problems that would need to be resolved before it be placed into service.

Trial take off and landings in September of 1942, showed the F4U Corsair was prone to bouncing upon landing on aircraft carriers, affecting its ability to be dependable in making contact with the arresting hook.  This would eventually lead the US Air Force to turn this aircraft over to the US Marine Corps in answer to their need for a better fighter aircraft than their F4F Wildcat they were currently using in World War II.  At the end of 1942, the aircraft was given the green light for combat, though was limited to land base operations until the landing issues on the aircraft carriers could be resolved.

Outside of these two US military branches, the F4U Corsair was also extensively used by the Royal Navy and the Royal New Zealand Air Force.  Several variants of this aircraft would emerge throughout its production run which went from 1942 all the way into 1953.  Just over 12,500 of these aircrafts rolled off the production line during this time, giving this piston-engine fighter aircraft the most extensive production run in US history.  No doubt, this aircraft played a major role in both World War II and the Korean War.