The Vought F4U is perhaps one of the
most recognizable WWII Pacific fighters because of the gull wing
design. The gull wing design came from the necessity of having a 13
foot diameter propeller on the front of the airplane to take advantage
of the large engine's horsepower. Having gull wings led to shorter
landing gear struts. It was figured that longer landing gear legs would
make the landings on carriers more bouncy. Longer legs would mean more
weight as they would have to be strong to be able to handle carrier
landings. Despite this, early Corsairs were land based because of the
length of the nose coupled with the cockpit placement led to very poor
forward and downward visibility. The British were the ones to come up
with the approach to the carriers that led to their usage from carriers
by both Britain and the United States.
The Corsair was made famous by the
"Black Sheep Squadron" led by Major Greg "Pappy" Boyington. It should
be noted that the propaganda machines of the United States started the
story of Major Boyington being called "Pappy". He was actually called
"Gramps" by his men because of his advanced age. He was 30 while most
of his men were in their 20s.
manufactured this Corsair, an FG-1D Corsair (N11Y). It has been
around the Southern California Air Show circuit for a number of years
and is always a joy to see.
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