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Home Base: Greenwood, MS
Operation: Central and Eastern USA
Model: F4U-5N
Wing Span:
41' 0"
Length: 33' 4"
Height: 14' 9"
Max Speed: 470 mph
Gross Weight: 14,000 lbs
Power Plant: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-32W
Horsepower: 2,459
Fuel Capacity: 363 gallons
Armament: 4 x 20 mm M-3 cannons (Two in each wing). Could also carry eight 5-inch HVAR rockets, as well as carry drop tanks, bombs, or napalm.

Fighters & Legends Chance Vought F4U-5N Corsair

The Fighters & Legends
is the owner and operator of this Chance Vought F4U-5N Corsair, which is available for airshows, flybys, film and also for a 10-15 minute warbird aerobatic airshow routine.

The F4U Corsair is one of the most famous and recognizable fighter from WWII, and was the first U.S. fighter to exceed 400 mph in level flight. The trademark gull wings are the result of having to place the main landing gear at the lowest point in the wings to pre vent the huge 13 foot diameter propeller from hitting the ground or flight deck on take-off or landing.

The Corsair is popularly known as "The Sweetheart of the Marianas" and "The Sweetheart of Okinawa" for its roles in these campaigns respectively - the names were given by ground troops rather than by naval and marine personnel. Among pilots, however, the aircraft was nicknamed "Ensign Eliminator" and "Bent-Wing Eliminator" because it required many more hours of flight training to master than other Navy carrier-borne aircraft. It was also called simply "U-bird" or "Bent Wing Bird."

All warbirds have their own distinctive sounds, and the Corsair was known to the Japanese on the ground as "Whistling Death", because of the unique sound generated by the air flowing over the oil coolers in a dive. The Marines referred to the Corsair as their best friend for the excellent air support it provided when troops were pinned down on the ground. The Corsair was also called into service during the Korean conflict as an attack and close air support aircraft.

The Corsair started life as the result of a U.S. Navy requirement for a carrier aircraft which could match the performance of the best land and water based fighter planes. Designed in 1938, the first prototype Corsair designated XF4U-1 flew in 1940. It was a remarkable achievement for Vought, as carrier aircraft are, compared to land-based counterparts, "overbuilt" to withstand the extreme stress of deck landings.

The Corsair first entered service in 1942. Although designed as a carrier plane, initial operation from carrier decks was proving troublesome. The aircraft was fast and its slow speed handling tricky due to the port wing stalling before the starboard wing. This, together with poor visibility over the long nose, made landing a Corsair on a carrier a difficult task. For these reasons, most Corsairs initially went to Marine Corp squadrons who operated off land based runways. The U.S.M.C. aviators welcomed the Corsair with open arms as its performance was far superior to the F4F-3 and -4 Wildcat which was being used at that time.

The F4U-5, a 1945 design modification of the F4U-4, was intended to increase the F4U-4 Corsair's overall performance and incorporate many Corsair pilots' suggestions. It featured a more powerful 2,300 hp engine with a fully automatic two-stage supercharger. Other "improvements" were electrical trim control, automatic cowl flaps, a gyroscopic lead-computing gunsight and other automatic functions. These and other changes made the F4U-5 500 pounds heavier than the F4U-4.

During the Korean War, the Corsair was used mostly in the close-support role. As the Corsair moved from its air superiority role in World War II into the close air support role in the Korean Conflict, the gull wing proved to be a useful feature. A straight, low-wing design would have blocked most of the visibility from the cockpit toward the ground while in level flight, but a Corsair pilot could look through a "notch" and get a better ground reference without having to bank one way or the other to move the wing out of the way.

The F4U-5N (night fighter conversion of the F4U-5) logged combat in Korea between 1950 and 1953. There were dogfights between F4Us and enemy Yak-9 fighters early in the conflict, but when the enemy introduced the fast MiG-15 jet fighter the Corsair was outmatched.

Corsair night fighters were used to an extent. The enemy adopted the tactic of using low-and-slow intruders to perform night harassment strikes on American forces, and jet-powered night fighters found catching these "Bedcheck Charlies" troublesome. U.S. Navy F4U-5Ns were posted to shore bases to hunt them down.

Fighters & Legends F4U-5N served with the Honduran Air Force and saw combat in the ground-attack role in 1969 against El Salvador along with 21 other Corsairs. It is restored in the F4U-5 configuration. Gulled-wings resulted in shorter and stronger landing gear while a wide wheel base in combination made the plane more strong and stable for island and carrier landings. These characteristics served the Marines and Navy very well. The Museum's Corsair offers an extremely rare ride in a WWII Fighter, flown by a Veteran Marine Pilot, that flew in the Pacific Theatre.

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