Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Vought F4U-1D Corsair

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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Vought F4U-1D Corsair

Image by Chris Devers
See more images of this, and the Wikipedia article.

Details, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Vought F4U-1D Corsair:

By V-J Day, September 2, 1945, Corsair pilots had amassed an 11:1 kill ratio against enemy aircraft. The aircraft’s distinctive inverted gull-wing design permitted ground clearance for the huge, 3-bladed Hamilton Regular Hydromatic propeller, which spanned more than 4 meters (13 feet). The Pratt and Whitney R-2800 radial engine and Hydromatic propeller was the biggest and one of the most effective engine-propeller combinations ever flown on a fighter aircraft.

Charles Lindbergh flew bombing missions in a Corsair with Marine Air Group 31 against Japanese strongholds in the Pacific in 1944. This airplane is painted in the colors and markings of the Corsair Sun Setter, a Marine close-help fighter assigned to the USS Essex in July 1944.

Transferred from the United States Navy.

Vought Aircraft Firm


Nation of Origin:
United States of America

All round: 460 x 1020cm, 4037kg, 1250cm (15ft 1 1/8in. x 33ft 5 9/16in., 8900lb., 41ft 1/8in.)

All metal with fabric-covered wings behind the major spar.

Physical Description:
R-2800 radial air-cooled engine with 1,850 horsepower, turned a 3-blade Hamilton Normal Hydromatic propeller with solid aluminum blades spanning 13 feet 1 inch wing bent gull-shaped on each sides of the fuselage.

Extended Description:
On February 1, 1938, the United States Navy Bureau of Aeronautics requested proposals from American aircraft companies for a new carrier-based fighter airplane. During April, the Vought Aircraft Corporation responded with two styles and 1 of them, powered by a Pratt &amp Whitney R-2800 engine, won the competitors in June. Much less than a year later, Vought test pilot Lyman A. Bullard, Jr., first flew the Vought XF4U-1 prototype on Might 29, 1940. At that time, the largest engine driving the biggest propeller ever flown on a fighter aircraft propelled Bullard on this test flight. The R-2800 radial air-cooled engine developed 1,850 horsepower and it turned a three-blade Hamilton Normal Hydromatic propeller with solid aluminum blades spanning 13 feet 1 inch.

The airplane Bullard flew also had yet another striking function, a wing bent gull-shaped on each sides of the fuselage. This arrangement gave additional ground clearance for the propeller and reduced drag at the wing-to-fuselage joint. Ironically for a 644-kph (400 mph) airplane, Vought covered the wing with fabric behind the principal spar, a practice the firm also followed on the OS2U Kingfisher (see NASM collection).

When naval air strategists had crafted the specifications for the new fighter, the require for speed had overridden all other functionality targets. With this in thoughts, the Bureau of Aeronautics selected the most powerful air-cooled engine available, the R-2800. Vought assembled a team, lead by chief designer Rex Biesel, to design the ideal airframe about this strong engine. The group incorporated project engineer Frank Albright, aerodynamics engineer Paul Baker, and propulsion engineer James Shoemaker. Biesel and his team succeeded in developing a very quickly fighter but when they redesigned the prototype for production, they have been forced to make an unfortunate compromise.

The Navy requested heavier armament for production Corsairs and Biesel redesigned each and every outboard folding wing panel to carry three .50 caliber machine guns. These guns displaced fuel tanks installed in every single wing top edge. To replace this lost capacity, an 897-liter (237 gal) fuselage tank was installed in between the cockpit and the engine. To maintain the speedy and narrow fuselage profile, Biesel could not stack the cockpit on leading of the tank, so he moved it almost three feet aft. Now the wing totally blocked the pilot’s line of sight for the duration of the most vital stages of landing. The early Corsair also had a vicious stall, effective torque and propeller effects at slow speed, a brief tail wheel strut, major gear struts that often bounced the airplane at touchdown, and cowl flap actuators that leaked oil onto the windshield. These issues, combined with the lack of cockpit visibility, made the airplane almost not possible to land on the tiny deck of an aircraft carrier. Navy pilots quickly nicknamed the F4U the ‘ensign eliminator’ for its tendency to kill these inexperienced aviators. The Navy refused to clear the F4U for carrier operations until late in 1944, a lot more than seven years right after the project started.

This flaw did not deter the Navy from accepting Corsairs since Navy and Marine pilots sorely necessary an enhanced fighter to replace the Grumman F4F Wildcat (see NASM collection). By New Year’s Eve, 1942, the service owned 178 F4U-1 airplanes. Early in 1943, the Navy decided to divert all Corsairs to land-based United States Marine Corps squadrons and fill Navy carrier-based units with the Grumman F6F Hellcat (see NASM collection). At its ideal speed of 612 kph (380 mph) at six,992 m (23,000 ft), the Hellcat was about 24 kph (15 mph) slower than the Corsair but it was a joy to fly aboard the carrier. The F6F filled in splendidly until improvements to the F4U certified it for carrier operations. Meanwhile, the Marines on Guadalcanal took their Corsairs into combat and engaged the enemy for the first time on February 14, 1943, six months prior to Hellcat pilots on that battle-scared island initial encountered enemy aircraft.

The F4U had an quick influence on the Pacific air war. Pilots could use the Corsair’s speed and firepower to engage the more maneuverable Japanese airplanes only when the benefit favored the Americans. Unprotected by armor or self-sealing fuel tanks, no Japanese fighter or bomber could withstand for far more than a few seconds the concentrated volley from the six .50 caliber machine guns carried by a Corsair. Major Gregory &quotPappy&quot Boyington assumed command of Marine Corsair squadron VMF-214, nicknamed the ‘Black Sheep’ squadron, on September 7, 1943. During much less than five months of action, Boyington received credit for downing 28 enemy aircraft. Enemy aircraft shot him down on January three, 1944, but he survived the war in a Japanese prison camp.

In Might and June 1944, Charles A. Lindbergh flew Corsair missions with Marine pilots at Green Island and Emirau. On September three, 1944, Lindbergh demonstrated the F4U’s bomb hauling capacity by flying a Corsair from Marine Air Group 31 carrying three bombs every single weighing 450 kg (1,000 lb). He dropped this load on enemy positions at Wotje Atoll. On the September 8, Lindbergh dropped the first 900-kg (two,000 lb) bomb during an attack on the atoll. For the finale 5 days later, the Atlantic flyer delivered a 900-kg (2,000 lb) bomb and two 450-kg (1,000 lb) bombs. Lindbergh went ahead and flew these missions following the commander of MAG-31 informed him that if he was forced down and captured, the Japanese would nearly certainly execute him.

As of V-J Day, September 2, 1945, the Navy credited Corsair pilots with destroying two,140 enemy aircraft in aerial combat. The Navy and Marines lost 189 F4Us in combat and 1,435 Corsairs in non-combat accidents. Starting on February 13, 1942, Marine and Navy pilots flew 64,051 operational sorties, 54,470 from runways and 9,581 from carrier decks. During the war, the British Royal Navy accepted 2,012 Corsairs and the Royal New Zealand Air Force accepted 364. The demand was so fantastic that the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation and the Brewster Aeronautical Corporation also produced the F4U.

Corsairs returned to Navy carrier decks and Marine airfields for the duration of the Korean War. On September 10, 1952, Captain Jesse Folmar of Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-312 destroyed a MiG-15 in aerial combat more than the west coast of Korea. However, F4U pilots did not have several air-to-air encounters over Korea. Their major mission was to assistance Allied ground units along the battlefront.

Following the World War II, civilian pilots adapted the speedy bent-wing bird from Vought to fly in competitive air races. They preferred modified versions of the F2G-1 and -2 originally built by Goodyear. Corsairs won the prestigious Thompson Trophy twice. In 1952, Vought manufactured 94 F4U-7s for the French Navy, and these aircraft saw action more than Indochina but this order marked the end of Corsair production. In production longer than any other U.S. fighter to see service in Globe War II, Vought, Goodyear, and Brewster built a total of 12,582 F4Us.

The United States Navy donated an F4U-1D to the National Air and Space Museum in September 1960. Vought delivered this Corsair, Bureau of Aeronautics serial quantity 50375, to the Navy on April 26, 1944. By October, pilots of VF-ten had been flying it but in November, the airplane was transferred to VF-89 at Naval Air Station Atlantic City. It remained there as the squadron moved to NAS Oceana and NAS Norfolk. During February 1945, the Navy withdrew the airplane from active service and transferred it to a pool of surplus aircraft stored at Quantico, Virginia. In 1980, NASM craftsmen restored the F4U-1D in the colors and markings of a Corsair named &quotSun Setter,&quot a fighter assigned to Marine Fighter Squadron VMF-114 when that unit served aboard the &quotUSS Essex&quot in July 1944.

• • •

Quoting from Wikipedia | Vought F4U Corsair:

The Likelihood Vought F4U Corsair was a carrier-capable fighter aircraft that saw service mainly in Globe War II and the Korean War. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought’s manufacturing capability, resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster: Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG and Brewster-constructed aircraft F3A. From the initial prototype delivery to the U.S. Navy in 1940, to final delivery in 1953 to the French, 12,571 F4U Corsairs had been manufactured by Vought, in 16 separate models, in the longest production run of any piston-engined fighter in U.S. history (1942–1953).

The Corsair served in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marines, Fleet Air Arm and the Royal New Zealand Air Force, as nicely as the French Navy Aeronavale and other, smaller sized, air forces until the 1960s. It rapidly became the most capable carrier-based fighter-bomber of World War II. Some Japanese pilots regarded it as the most formidable American fighter of World War II, and the U.S. Navy counted an 11:1 kill ratio with the F4U Corsair.

F4U-1D (Corsair Mk IV): Constructed in parallel with the F4U-1C, but was introduced in April 1944. It had the new -8W water-injection engine. This adjust gave the aircraft up to 250&nbsphp (190&nbspkW) far more power, which, in turn, improved performance. Speed, for example, was boosted from 417 miles per hour (671&nbspkm/h) to 425 miles per hour (684&nbspkm/h). Since of the U.S. Navy’s require for fighter-bombers, it had a payload of rockets double the -1A’s, as nicely as twin-rack plumbing for an extra belly drop tank. Such modifications necessitated the require for rocket tabs (attached to totally metal-plated underwing surfaces) and bomb pylons to be bolted on the fighter, nonetheless, causing additional drag. Moreover, the role of fighter-bombing was a new task for the Corsair and the wing fuel cells proved also vulnerable and had been removed.[] The additional fuel carried by the two drop tanks would nonetheless allow the aircraft to fly relatively extended missions despite the heavy, un-aerodynamic load. The normal armament of six machine guns have been implemented as properly. The canopies of most -1Ds had their struts removed along with their metal caps, which had been utilized&nbsp— at one point&nbsp— as a measure to avoid the canopies’ glass from cracking as they moved along the fuselage spines of the fighters.[] Also, the clear-view style &quotMalcolm Hood&quot canopy utilised initially on Supermarine Spitfire and P-51C Mustang aircraft was adopted as standard equipment for the -1D model, and all later F4U production aircraft. Additional production was carried out by Goodyear (FG-1D) and Brewster (F3A-1D). In Fleet Air Arm service, the latter was known as the Corsair III, and both had their wingtips clipped by 8&quot per wing to enable storage in the reduce hangars of British carriers.

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: Space Shuttle Enterprise (starboard view)

Image by Chris Devers

See much more photographs of this, and the Wikipedia article.

Specifics, quoting from Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum | Space Shuttle Enterprise:

Rockwell International Corporation

Nation of Origin:
United States of America

All round: 57 ft. tall x 122 ft. lengthy x 78 ft. wing span, 150,000 lb.
(1737.36 x 3718.57 x 2377.44cm, 68039.6kg)

Aluminum airframe and body with some fiberglass attributes payload bay doors are graphite epoxy composite thermal tiles are simulated (polyurethane foam) except for test samples of actual tiles and thermal blankets.

The initial Space Shuttle orbiter, &quotEnterprise,&quot is a full-scale test vehicle employed for flights in the atmosphere and tests on the ground it is not equipped for spaceflight. Though the airframe and flight control elements are like those of the Shuttles flown in space, this car has no propulsion program and only simulated thermal tiles due to the fact these attributes had been not required for atmospheric and ground tests. &quotEnterprise&quot was rolled out at Rockwell International’s assembly facility in Palmdale, California, in 1976. In 1977, it entered service for a nine-month-extended strategy-and-landing test flight system. Thereafter it was utilised for vibration tests and fit checks at NASA centers, and it also appeared in the 1983 Paris Air Show and the 1984 World’s Fair in New Orleans. In 1985, NASA transferred &quotEnterprise&quot to the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.

Transferred from National Aeronautics and Space Administration

• • •

Quoting from Wikipedia | Space Shuttle Enterprise:

The Space Shuttle Enterprise (NASA Orbiter Automobile Designation: OV-101) was the very first Space Shuttle orbiter. It was constructed for NASA as element of the Space Shuttle program to execute test flights in the atmosphere. It was constructed without having engines or a functional heat shield, and was therefore not capable of spaceflight.

Originally, Enterprise had been intended to be refitted for orbital flight, which would have created it the second space shuttle to fly soon after Columbia. Even so, during the construction of Columbia, information of the final style changed, particularly with regard to the weight of the fuselage and wings. Refitting Enterprise for spaceflight would have involved dismantling the orbiter and returning the sections to subcontractors across the country. As this was an pricey proposition, it was determined to be significantly less expensive to develop Challenger around a physique frame (STA-099) that had been designed as a test post. Similarly, Enterprise was deemed for refit to replace Challenger following the latter was destroyed, but Endeavour was constructed from structural spares instead.


Construction started on the very first orbiter on June four, 1974. Designated OV-101, it was originally planned to be named Constitution and unveiled on Constitution Day, September 17, 1976. A create-in campaign by Trekkies to President Gerald Ford asked that the orbiter be named after the Starship Enterprise, featured on the television show Star Trek. Although Ford did not mention the campaign, the president—who throughout Globe War II had served on the aircraft carrier USS&nbspMonterey&nbsp(CVL-26) that served with USS&nbspEnterprise&nbsp(CV-6)—said that he was &quotpartial to the name&quot and overrode NASA officials.

The design of OV-101 was not the exact same as that planned for OV-102, the first flight model the tail was constructed differently, and it did not have the interfaces to mount OMS pods. A big number of subsystems—ranging from main engines to radar equipment—were not installed on this vehicle, but the capacity to add them in the future was retained. As an alternative of a thermal protection program, its surface was mostly fiberglass.

In mid-1976, the orbiter was utilized for ground vibration tests, permitting engineers to evaluate information from an actual flight vehicle with theoretical models.

On September 17, 1976, Enterprise was rolled out of Rockwell’s plant at Palmdale, California. In recognition of its fictional namesake, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry and most of the principal cast of the original series of Star Trek have been on hand at the dedication ceremony.

Method and landing tests (ALT)

Major write-up: Strategy and Landing Tests

On January 31, 1977, it was taken by road to Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, to commence operational testing.

Although at NASA Dryden, Enterprise was used by NASA for a range of ground and flight tests intended to validate elements of the shuttle plan. The initial nine-month testing period was referred to by the acronym ALT, for &quotApproach and Landing Test&quot. These tests incorporated a maiden &quotflight&quot on February 18, 1977 atop a Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) to measure structural loads and ground handling and braking traits of the mated method. Ground tests of all orbiter subsystems have been carried out to verify functionality prior to atmospheric flight.

The mated Enterprise/SCA combination was then subjected to five test flights with Enterprise unmanned and unactivated. The objective of these test flights was to measure the flight qualities of the mated mixture. These tests were followed with three test flights with Enterprise manned to test the shuttle flight manage systems.

Enterprise underwent five cost-free flights where the craft separated from the SCA and was landed beneath astronaut handle. These tests verified the flight qualities of the orbiter style and were carried out below numerous aerodynamic and weight configurations. On the fifth and final glider flight, pilot-induced oscillation issues have been revealed, which had to be addressed ahead of the very first orbital launch occurred.

On August 12, 1977, the space shuttle Enterprise flew on its personal for the initial time.

Preparation for STS-1

Following the ALT plan, Enterprise was ferried among several NASA facilities to configure the craft for vibration testing. In June 1979, it was mated with an external tank and solid rocket boosters (known as a boilerplate configuration) and tested in a launch configuration at Kennedy Space Center Launch Pad 39A.


With the completion of vital testing, Enterprise was partially disassembled to allow specific elements to be reused in other shuttles, then underwent an international tour visiting France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Canada, and the U.S. states of California, Alabama, and Louisiana (in the course of the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition). It was also used to match-check the never-utilised shuttle launch pad at Vandenberg AFB, California. Lastly, on November 18, 1985, Enterprise was ferried to Washington, D.C., where it became property of the Smithsonian Institution.


Soon after the Challenger disaster, NASA regarded as employing Enterprise as a replacement. However refitting the shuttle with all of the necessary gear required for it to be utilized in space was considered, but alternatively it was decided to use spares constructed at the identical time as Discovery and Atlantis to develop Endeavour.


In 2003, right after the breakup of Columbia in the course of re-entry, the Columbia Accident Investigation Board performed tests at Southwest Research Institute, which used an air gun to shoot foam blocks of similar size, mass and speed to that which struck Columbia at a test structure which mechanically replicated the orbiter wing major edge. They removed a fiberglass panel from Enterprise’s wing to perform analysis of the material and attached it to the test structure, then shot a foam block at it. Even though the panel was not broken as a outcome of the test, the influence was sufficient to permanently deform a seal. As the reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC) panel on Columbia was 2.five occasions weaker, this recommended that the RCC major edge would have been shattered. Further tests on the fiberglass had been canceled in order not to threat damaging the test apparatus, and a panel from Discovery was tested to determine the effects of the foam on a similarly-aged RCC leading edge. On July 7, 2003, a foam influence test designed a hole 41&nbspcm by 42.five&nbspcm (16.1&nbspinches by 16.7&nbspinches) in the protective RCC panel. The tests clearly demonstrated that a foam impact of the sort Columbia sustained could seriously breach the protective RCC panels on the wing leading edge.

The board determined that the probable trigger of the accident was that the foam effect triggered a breach of a reinforced carbon-carbon panel along the major edge of Columbia’s left wing, permitting hot gases generated for the duration of re-entry to enter the wing and trigger structural collapse. This caused Columbia to spin out of handle, breaking up with the loss of the entire crew.

Museum exhibit

Enterprise was stored at the Smithsonian’s hangar at Washington Dulles International Airport just before it was restored and moved to the newly constructed Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum‘s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport, where it has been the centerpiece of the space collection. On April 12, 2011, NASA announced that Space Shuttle Discovery, the most traveled orbiter in the fleet, will be added to the collection when the Shuttle fleet is retired. When that occurs, Enterprise will be moved to the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum in New York City, to a newly constructed hangar adjacent to the museum. In preparation for the anticipated relocation, engineers evaluated the vehicle in early 2010 and determined that it was secure to fly on the Shuttle Carrier Aircraft after once more.