Vought F4U Corsair

1940 fighter aircraft family by Chance Vought

The Vought F4U Corsair was a fighter aircraft that fought in World War II and the Korean War. Vought could not keep up with demand for the aircraft, so Goodyear and Brewster made them.[1] It was deployed in large numbers starting in 1944, and has longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S. history (1942–1953).[2][3][4]

F4U Corsair
Vought F4U Corsair (USMC).jpg
A restored F4U-4 Corsair in Korean War-era U.S. Marine Corps markings
Role Carrier-based fighter-bomber
National origin United States
Manufacturer Chance Vought
First flight 29 May 1940
Introduction 28 December 1942
Retired 1953 (United States)
1979 (Honduras)
Primary users United States Navy
United States Marine Corps
Royal Navy
Royal New Zealand Air Force
Produced 1942–53
Number built 12,571
Variants Goodyear F2G Corsair

The Corsair was used by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, Fleet Air Arm and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, as well as the French Navy Aéronavale and other, smaller, air forces. Some Japanese pilots said it was the best American fighter of World War II,[5] and the U.S. Navy reported an 11:1 kill ratio.[6] Besides serving as a fighter, it became the most capable carrier-based fighter-bomber of World War II.[7]

The Corsair also saw action in the Korean War and in the 1969 Soccer War. The Grumman F6F Hellcat was easier to fly The Corsair had early problems landing on an aircraft carrier, so its first combat flights were from land bases.There were three different types of the Corsair.

  • F4U Corsair 1-A with 6 light caliber browning machine guns, three on one wing.
  • F4U Corsair 1-D again with 6 light caliber browning machine gun
  • F4U Corsair 1-C equipped with 4 heavy caliber cannons, 2 on one wing.

The Corsair had high agility. With its '''Pratt and Whitney R-2800''' Double Wasp 18-cylinder engine producing over 2000 horsepower, the Corsair was the first US single engine fighter to fly faster than 400 miles per hour.

During the war, the Corsair flew over 64,000 sorties, shot down over 2,000 enemy aircraft, and only lost 189 planes in action to the enemy. The aircraft designer, Rex Beisel, developed a new inverted gull wing design. This allowed the landing gear to be short and sturdy while still providing ground clearance for the propeller.


  1. Shettle 2001, p. 107.
  2. O'Leary 1980, p. 116.
  3. Donald 1995, p. 244.
  4. Wilson 1996.
  5. Jablonski 1979, p. 171.
  6. Donald 1995, p. 246.
  7. Pilot's Manual 1979, Prologue.