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"Chance Vought F4U Corsair Mishaps Part I" Topic

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Personal logo Editor in Chief Bill The Editor of TMP Fezian21 Jul 2021 3:42 p.m. PST

Crash photos on Inch High Guy's blog: link

FABET0121 Jul 2021 4:08 p.m. PST

The Corsair was sometimes called the "Ensign Eliminator". Inexperienced pilots (a some that were) were often caught off guard by the huge props torque, and he aircraft would flip.

Not unlike winding up the old balsa wood flying models with e the big rubber bands, which after winding up and placed on the ground, would dance, bounce and flip.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP21 Jul 2021 7:48 p.m. PST

A somewhat obscured forward vision contributed to many
mishaps as well and was the primary reason the Corsair
was not carrier-qualified initially.

IIRC, it was actually the Fleet Air Arm pilots who
developed the landing technique which proved to be
successful in carrier operations for the Corsair.

Zephyr121 Jul 2021 8:03 p.m. PST

Not just the big ones; Once saw a guy crash his (large) RC Corsair. He picked up the parts & said he was going to rebuild it & try again… ;-)

CVA31bhr22 Jul 2021 8:09 a.m. PST

Au contraire Ed Mohrmann. The US Navy carrier qualified 3 squadron on the F4U before the British started receiving Corsairs. All of the techniques like the curved approach had already been worked out by VF-12, VOF-1, and especially VF-17, who helped Vought develop and integrate the modifications that tamed the F4U. The Corsair was accepted as a carrier aircraft by the summer of 1943, but the Navy set their supply chain up to support Hellcats with the carriers. Yes, boring old logistics. But that has been misinterpreted as the Navy bouncing it off the carriers because it was "unsafe" The FAA learned the same lessons the same way when they started deck ops, but when they did, they were flying the Corsairs with the modifications the US Navy and Vought had integrated on the production lines. For more background, look at JOLLY ROGFERS , by VF-17 CO Tom Blackburn, or WHISTLING DEATH by Boone Guyton, who was the primary test pilot on Vought's F4U program.

Ed Mohrmann Supporting Member of TMP22 Jul 2021 11:41 a.m. PST

CVA31bhr I of course don't know 'cause I wasn't 'there'.

What I know the Corsair comes from an Uncle who flew with
VF17 while the squadron was operational in USS Bunker Hill
and remained with the squadron after it left the carrier
for land-based service on Guadalcanal and later further up
the Solomons chain.

Again I do not know since was not there but Uncle Jim
supposedly trained USMC pilots transitioning from Wildcats
into the Corsair during the Spring of 1944. He received
an administrative Bronze Star for his work in that area
I don't recall the Marine unit he helped to train but he
was very proud of the fact and claimed it was the first
Corsair-equipped unit to be carrier-based permanently.
My memory of his talking about it is the ship was
USS Essex.

CVA31bhr23 Jul 2021 6:32 a.m. PST

The transition would have been in 1943, since the fast F4Fs were in VMF-441. The first two VMFs to go onto carriers at the end of 1944 were VMF-124, which was the first Corsair unit to see combat, and VMF-213 Hellhawks, and they did go aboard ESSEX.

alexpainter16 Sep 2021 5:54 a.m. PST

After all the Corsair wasn't so bad,since at the end of the war pratically replaced the Hellcat in the front line sqns, at least until the arrive of the newer jets. And in Korea was employed as CAS/Night fighter until the end.

R Leonard10 Oct 2021 7:55 a.m. PST

CVA31bhr . . . that's a good handle, I like it. My father was XO of USS Bon Homme Richard from July 1955 to April 1956.

You are absolutely correct. Royal Navy resolution of supposed F4U problems, carrier landing or otherwise, is a history channel/internet myth.

In support of your comments, where might one suppose all those Royal Navy F4U pilots received their training, to include carrier qualifications? Who trained them?

We might do well to remember that all, that's right, ALL, of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm F4U squadrons received their airplanes and were trained, to include carrier qualifying, by USN aviators, at various naval air stations in the US and on US carriers. All, yes, all of them, all 19 of the FAA F4U squadrons accepted their aircraft and trained in the US for an average of about three months. All of them carrier qualified in US waters on US carriers and all this training was accomplished with USN instructors. The first FAA squadron destined for F4Us, 1830, arrived at NAS Quonset Point in June 1943. The rest began their training:
1831 in July 1943, NAS Quonset Point
1834 in July 1943 NAS Quonset Point
1833 in July 1943, NAS Quonset Point
1835 in August 1943, NAS Quonset Point
1836 in August 1943, NAS Quonset Point
1837 in September 1943, NAS Quonset Point
1838 in October 1943, NAS Brunswick
1841 in March 1944, NAS Brunswick
1842 in April 1944, NAS Brunswick
1843 in May 1944, NAS Brunswick
1845 in June 1944, NAS Brunswick
1846 in July 1944, NAS Brunswick
1848 in July 1944, NAS Brunswick
1850 in August 1944, NAS Brunswick
1849 in August 1944, NAS Brunswick
1851 in September 1944, NAS Brunswick
1852 in February 1945, NAS Brunswick
1853 in April 1945, NAS Brunswick

Doubters can check the FAA records. Most of what these squadrons were doing in the US is available on the internet, for example, see link

Most of these F4U RN developed landing practices and the usual follow-on, first to deploy on carriers, tales date from 1960s and 1970s published accounts which the internet, for all the bad things I can say about it, such as repeating these tales as dogma, now lets us see the data, which lets us put a stake in them.

One US naval aviator of my acquaintance – full disclosure, my father – who, after a couple of combat tours, carrier and land based, was director of VF training at ComFAirWest from Sept 1943 to Oct 1944, reported that the "crabbing" approach was the only way to land an F4U on a carrier and still keep the LSO in sight. Quoth: "It was the only way we knew how to do it and the only method that made sense. It was not something we felt needed comment." He first flew the F4U-1 at San Diego on November 3, 1943, after returning from a tour in the Solomons in VF-11 flying F4Fs (his first F6F flight was at Espiritu Santo on 14 July 1943, in a plane borrowed from VF-33 as the squadrons crossed paths to and from the combat area, some ratting about with F4Us, his adversary was one Ken Walsh . . . another story for later). Upon return to the states, he became director of fighter training at ComFAirWest where he was flying at least every other day, F6Fs, FMs, F4Us, even the occasional SBD, and sometimes three or four flights a day. Working from his pilot's logbook, his first flight in an F4U-1A was on 31 January 1944. After a couple of FCLP flights in the preceding days, his first actual carrier landing in an F4U, a -1A, was on February 24, 1944 aboard the CVE USS Altamaha, this in prep for the March 1944 RATO experiments. He would always say that the way to land the F4U on a carrier was obvious to anyone with any experience (he earned his wings in November 1940 and was already an ace) and had an inkling as to what he was doing and what needed to be done. The shape of the plane, the position of, and view from the cockpit, the need to keep the LSO in sight led one naturally to use wide and side approach, straightening out only at the last few seconds.

Still another naval aviator of my acquaintance, Bob Dosé one of the leaders in VF-12, an early USN F4U squadron (the members of which were outraged when they had to turn their F4Us over to the local CASU and draw F6Fs for the air group's first deployment), told me pretty much the same thing, the technique was obvious and was what they taught their pilots.

And let us not forget that, in spite of all the internet chatter to the contrary, the USN was operating F4Us in combat off carriers before anyone, ANYONE, else in January 1944 (vice the FAA debut of April 1944) and night fighters at that . . . see VF(N)-101.

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