The list of innovations of the project V-166B was not limited to the use of a powerful powerplant and wing of the original form. Much attention was paid to the drag reduction of the aircraft through fully retractable landing gear and the extensive use of spot welding instead of traditional riveting.
June 11, 1938, the Navy gave Chance Vought a firm order for the construction of one prototype of the fighter under the designation XF4U-1.
After the conclusion of contracts the company’s competitors started to build models and prototypes of their machines. In February 1938, the Navy representatives inspected the wooden models XF4U-1 and the XF5F-1. The firm Bell are not allowed to do the layout, and go directly to the Assembly of the prototype.
The first flight tests of its aircraft began firm Grumman. Her skilled fighter, driven by test pilot Bud Gilliam, took to the air on 1 April 1940. In this and subsequent flights the engine is overheating, which did not allow to test speed of the aircraft. However, in the rest of the XF5F-1 behaved pretty well.
During testing, the fighter was several times modified: lengthened bow, the changed landing gear doors, fairings were installed at the junction of the trailing edge of the wing and fuselage, and the sleeve screws installed different fairings. All of this though and have improved the aerodynamics and, consequently, increased the speed of flight, but in this case, the increased weight of the aircraft.
When engineers and engine builders have solved the problem of overheating, XF5F-1 showed outstanding speed characteristics. The maximum speed of horizontal flight was 616 km/h and in a dive the fighter was able to overclock up to 812,5 km/h. For such achievements in 1941, the press have dubbed the Skyrocket plane (“Air rocket”). A good nickname quickly caught on and is now considered the official name of the fighter.
But to adopt the “Air rocket” Grumman Navy refused. The main reasons for this decision were: the excess of weight of the aircraft in excess of the agreed contract, poor cockpit ventilation and the inability to proektirovaniya fuel tank in the wing box.
Firm Bell launched into flight testing your XFL-1 Airabonita euphonious name may 13, 1940. The first flight occurred accidentally during a high speed run. The car caught the wind, and the pilot Brian sparks decided not to risk it, then putting the car and began to climb.
In the air there was a problem. At an altitude of about 100 meters in wing suddenly opened compartments with inflatable bags that provide buoyancy of the aircraft during landing on water. The bags began to automatically inflate and, of course, broke away from the aircraft. Then it began to steadily rise the temperature of the engine – this “disease” is, apparently, passed on to the XFL-1 from P-39.
In subsequent flights, the pilots did not like the lack of stability of a fighter on the course and poor longitudinal balance. The engineers decided to correct the longitudinal balance of the temporary installation of cargo in the bow, but I got the sailors categorical refusal. Attempts to improve the situation by increasing the area of the tail tangible results were not given.
Heir of the most high-speed aircraft of the U.S. army on tests has a top speed of just 518,1 km/h. With such “achievements” and a whole bunch of shortcomings of the XFL-1 was excluded from the list of contenders for victory, with the infamous phrase: “not suitable as a carrier-based aircraft.” A contract with Bell has been cancelled.
Fighter XF4U-1 Vought Chance of the firm made its first flight on 29 may 1940. Test pilot Luma Bullard performed a few standard maneuvers and, having escaped from the airport, I began to disperse a car. At the speed of 370 km/h he felt a strong shock on the control knob and increasing the vibration of the aircraft. After reducing the speed of vibration and shocks stopped, but sharply increased efforts in the channel roll control. With great difficulty, Bullard landed a fighter. The inspection and analysis of the incident showed that the test was found in flight of the Flexural-Aileron flutter of the wing. Strong vibrations and oscillations began to destroy the wing so that the ailerons immediately tore off the trimmers. Dangerous flight lasted 38 minutes.
Crash F4U-1 while landing on aircraft carrier
By modifying the management system and balancing of the Aileron flutter was eliminated. Testing continued and has revealed several problems, chief of which was the overheating of the cylinder heads, the second “star”. In addition, the seamen demanded better spin characteristics of the aircraft – they wanted a fighter came out from the spin after the first round, although they had previously allowed the execution of two turns. All this delayed the process of finishing a prototype.
In the fifth flight of the second test pilot of the plane Boone Guyton due to running out of fuel made an emergency landing on the field for the game of Golf, located near the airport. After the recent heavy rains the field limp. Guyton was desperately trying to stop the car, which slid on mud and wet grass, but he did not succeed – and the fighter crashed into a tree. Durable construction saved the pilot’s life and in the shortest time possible to restore the damaged car. Two months later, XF4U-1 was again ready to fly.
In October 1940, the aircraft was examined by the Navy and the Air corps of the army (then called the U.S. air force). The military was pleased with the fighter. A particularly strong impression XF4U-1 made by the representative of the army of General Henry Arnold. Previously, he was an opponent of the installation of the air-cooled engine on the fighters and actively persuaded the firm Pratt & Whitney to develop new engines with liquid cooling. However, after familiarization with the aircraft Chance Vought Henry Arnold changed his mind and left the designers alone.
During the tests, the aircraft achieved a speed of 651,7 km/h, which was the highest rate among the US fighters of the time. In a dive XF4U-1 was overclocked to 885 km/h. the Other characteristics were not worse than other applicants. At takeoff weight of 4252 kg rate of climb at sea level was 13.2 m/s, service ceiling – 10 800 m. Takeoff distance in normal conditions was equal to 110 m, and with a head wind of 46 km/h (this is equivalent to approximately 25 knots – speed of an aircraft carrier during aircraft production) did not exceed 46 m.
Thus, the characteristics of the XF4U-1 was the best among the aircraft participating in the contest, and June 30, 1941, the Navy declared the Chance Vought fighter the winner. This was followed by an order for 584 production aircraft for carrier-based aircraft and aviation of the marine Corps of the United States. The fighter received the traditional title Chance Vought Corsair – giving names to their planes, the firm has always used the pirate terminology.
Production aircraft differed from the prototype. Eliminating the problem with changing alignment in the formulation of fuel in two wing tanks, the designers replaced it with a single fuselage. I had to move the cab back on 813 mm and transferred two machine guns from the bow in the wing. In addition, the cavities of the wing panels removed inflatable swimming bags and a bomb Bay for anti-aircraft bombs, and in the vacant place installed two 12.7-mm machine gun. And in the end improvements the cabin and most important the units covered in light armor plates with a total mass of 68 kg.
The first production Corsair with serial number 02153, equipped with an engine company Right R2800-8 power 1970 HP, took to the air on 25 June 1942. The fighter reached a max speed 638 km/h at an altitude of 7545 m and rate of climb of 15.23 m/s. the first series of Aircraft had a takeoff weight of 5388 kg, and the mass of the design was 4028 lbs. At the request of the Navy, in the course of serial production of the fuel tank capacity has been repeatedly increased, resulting in a takeoff weight of F4U-1 was brought to 6286 kg.
The official handover ceremony for the F4U-1 to the customer took place on 15 August. 7 September 1942 the first fighters entered service with squadrons VMF-124 aircraft of the marine corps. The deck units had to obtain machines immediately after passing the test fighter jets on an aircraft carrier.
A series of test flights of the fighter Corsair, conducted by Colonel Sam porter from the deck of the aircraft carrier CVE-26 Sangamon, began on 25 September 1942. It showed the complete inadequacy of the machine to the carrier-based. Bad visibility from the cockpit forward and down and the F4U tendency to roll on the left wing at high angles of attack, due to the high torque of a huge propeller, made landing a risky undertaking. Open the valves of the engine coolant flew drops of oil and settled on the windshield, further weakening the review. As a rule, touch the deck were conducted by the first left rack of the chassis, hard shock threw the Corsair up and the plane began to “porpoise”, skipping ropes arresting gear.
The Navy demanded from the company Chance Vought to develop a special program to improve the landing characteristics of a fighter. It lasted about a year. The designers have increased the stroke of shock absorbers of the main landing gear and improved visibility from the cab by extending the rear landing gear is 150 mm, then the Corsair a little down the nose.
That plane did not go on critical angles of attack during landing, the angle of release of the brake hook reduced from 75 to 60 degrees, and to compensate for the torque of screw Kiel F4U turned 2 degrees to the left. And get rid of the oil drips on the lamp managed by fixing the top sash of cooling on the hood in the closed position.
Serial aircraft were produced in accordance with these changes, already built and fine-tuned directly in the units of the factory teams.
F4U-1 went into service with two squadrons of carrier-based aircraft of VF-12 and VF-17. The formation of the first was completed in October 1942.
The pilots are required to master landing the Corsair on deck – and that’s despite the shortcomings of the fighter. During a training flight from the deck of escort aircraft carrier CVE-13 Core staff of VF-12 lost in accidents, seven pilots.
Some advancement has been achieved with the ship’s maintenance group. In particular, the mechanics of replacing the hard-molded tire tail wheel on soft tires. It kind of reduced the “jumping” F4U-1 landing, but the rubber inflatable tyres could not stand the load and torn. I had to return in place of the regular wheel. In the end, VF-12 off the ship and replaced the F4U-1 Corsair to the F6F Hellcat.
VF-17, assigned to the aircraft carrier CV-17 Bunker Hill, armed already improved F4U-1. This squadron was famous because the 23 may 1943 at full strength (25 aircraft) flying under the Brooklyn bridge, causing a big commotion. The first landing on the deck struck the battered crew. F4U jumped up in the air about six feet, and he from bumps burst both pneumatic main landing gear. But the design of the cars survived. The next four landings were successful. Intense workout lasted about a month. Usually to improve visibility on landing the pilots were pokazyvali under a couple of parachutes and came to the edge of the deck bend. Following the development of new technology, the unit lost four pilots on the landings and two or during the training of air combat from the collision of the planes in the air. To find some special method of landing on the deck the pilots and failed. However, VF-17 went into a combat zone. To improve the morale of the squadron pilots called Jolly Roger (Jolly Roger), in the uniform of the pilots introduced red scarves, and the aircraft was painted pirate flags.
Upon arrival at the pearl Harbor commanders made the decision to write off all F4U-1 to the shore. The pilots were offered a choice: transfer to the F6F or F4U to stay on, however all the pilots considered the Corsair a more powerful machine and chose to fly it.
The following modification of the aircraft was the F4U-1A fighter with a modified cockpit glass and cockpit equipment. To improve visibility when boarding the cab lifted 22 mm. From the F4U-1A of this modification, the maximum speed increased to 650 km/h. Increased maneuvering characteristics. On the F4U-1A has provided the possibility of suspension under the fuselage two additional fuel tanks with a total capacity of 736 l or bombs caliber 454 kg. the Use of external fuel tanks F4U allowed to stay in the air for up to 4.5 hours.
From November 1943 the Corsair started to equip the new engine, the R2800-8W with power of 2250 HP with water injection system. Simultaneously with the production of the F4U-1A was produced in several versions Corsair.
F4U-1B – option, built specifically for the UK, with a cropped 360 mm outer wing panels.
F4U-1C cannon modification. Armament consisted of four 20-mm guns M-2 with ammunition 120 rounds for each gun.
F4U-1D – strike fighter version of the F4U-1A. Plane could suspend two 727 kg bombs. The last machines of this modification were carried under the wing of 8 rockets. Takeoff weight reached 6442 kg Maximum speed by installing a more powerful engine decreased by 2 km/h.
F4U-1P – reconnaissance modification of the Corsair with the camera To-21, located in the outside compartment.
F4U-2 night fighter. Ordered the firm in the amount of 12 copies. The order is executed at the end of 1942 on the basis of the modification of the F4U-1. On the right wing of the plane F4U-2 set a container with an antenna of the radar AN/APS-6, with the machine removed two machine guns. Blocks of the radar station were in the outside compartment. The range of detection of air targets was 8 km.
In the second half of 1943, was carried out a radical modernization of the aircraft. The first copy of the updated Corsair with the designation XF4U-4A flew on 19 April 1944. The second sample with the designation F4U-4B took to the air July 12, 1944. The design of this machine has made many changes, which mainly touched upon the power plant. The flight speed of the fourth modification has reached 717 km/h Significantly reorganised its radio equipment and weapons.
Flight performance of aircraft Corsair
Fighter F4U-4 began to arrive in the combat units in 1945. Until the end of the war, the Americans managed to build the 1912 aircraft modifications. Most of the “fours” took part in the last battles in the Pacific theater of operations.
At the end of the war the machine gun armament was considered weak and, the company started the production of fighters F4U-4B, armed with four 20-mm guns M-3 with ammunition, 220 rounds per gun. The last letter “V” in the designation modifications testified in fact that these machines were intended for the Royal Navy. But, by coincidence, all 296 of cars remained in the carrier-based aircraft the United States under the official designation of the F4U-4C. However, this designation did not stick, and in parts of the cannon Corsair is still called the F4U-4B.
During 1945 the company released another 300 F4U-4B with a more rapid-fire guns T-31 and nine scout fighters F4U-4P with cameras K-21. Under the Central fuselage pylon all “fours” could be suspended an additional fuel tank or 454-kg bomb. Instead of bombs, the Corsair was carrying some heavy unguided rocket (SFC) Tiny Tim caliber 248-mm Warhead with a mass of 68 kg can cause serious damage to surface targets. In addition, under the wing of a fixed eight small pylons for 127-mm HVAR NUR. The location of the pylons was chosen so that the rocket does not interfere with the flight of the shells from the guns. Serial production of the F4U-4 was continued until 1947.
For training pilots of naval aviation the firm has offered a double modification of the Corsair, but the Navy showed no interest in her – “the spark” left in a single copy.
Fighter F4U Corsair was produced by other firms. Under the designation FG they were built by Goodyear. A F4U Corsair, manufactured by the firm of Brewster, received the designation F3A.
On the basis of the F4U-4 Vought firm developed several experimental aircraft:
F4U-4E – interceptor with radar AN/APS-4;
F4U-4N night interceptor with radar AN/ APS-6;
F4U-4K – drone with a radio system for use as a guided missile or target.
After the war, the firm Chance Vought, really busy working on a new jet aircraft, continued, nevertheless, to improve its releasing its next version – the F4U-5. The main goal of the designers was to increase flight speed, improve manageability, and visibility from the cockpit, as well as a reduction in structural mass. At first glance, F4U-5 differed little from the F4U-4, but in many ways it was a completely different plane.
First of all, he had a new engine R2800-32W power 2450 HP with two-stage supercharger. The installation of this engine required lengthening the engine compartment is 254 mm and changing the design of the air intakes instead of one the bottom like it was on the F4U-4, set two side stands the so-called “cheek”. The front air intakes were located at the “four and eight o’clock” from the Central axis of the engine. Setting the side air intakes led to the increase in movement of the fuselage for 205 mm. has Been completely redesigned fold of the cooling system of the engine on the skirt of the bonnet – before they were controlled manually, depending on the temperature of the engine, and now it was ruled by the automation, and the pilot can focus on piloting.
To improve visibility from the cockpit during takeoff and landing, the whole nose tipped down relative to the longitudinal axis by 2.75 degrees. At the same time it improved the longitudinal stability of the aircraft.
In addition, a significant alteration was subjected to the wing and aerodynamic controls of the aircraft – instead of the archaic percale them sheathed with thin sheets of aluminum. Horizontal tail is made of the newest, in those times, material-metalit patented by Vought firm. He was a kind of sandwich consisting of two aluminum sheets between which was laid a layer of ultra-light wood – balsa. The layers are glued together and molded in a large autoclave under high temperature and pressure. The puff material had exceptional rigidity and lightness.
On the ventral Central reinforced pylons F4U-5 can be suspended 908-kg bomb. The main built-in equipment has not changed and still consisted of four 20-mm cannons. Prototype Р4U-5 took to the air in December 1945. The new engine increased the maximum speed of the fighter to 725 km/h. the First production aircraft handed over to the Navy in 1947, the last in 1951. Just built a 223 machine. There were the following modifications of this aircraft:
Р4U-5N – night fighter for air defense aircraft carrier connections;
Р4U-5NL – polar night fighter variant;
In all there were 315 night fighters. The scouts built a much less – 30 aircraft.
Specifically for the war in Korea has been developed a simplified shock modification with reinforced armor – attack aircraft F4U-6 Corsair. In aircraft marine Corps aircraft received the designation AU-1.
The first AU-1 firm built on the production F4U-5NL. Attack aircraft made its first flight on 31 January 1951. Just built a 110 stormtroopers.
On the AU-1 was installed engine R2800-83WA capacity of 2800 HP Its single-stage turbocharger is not required two inlets, and they were removed.
Built-in armament consisted of four guns of M-3 with ammunition 215 shells. On all previous aircraft gun firing was conducted only in one shot from four guns. And AU-1 pilot can only shoot from two guns, which increased the duration of the shooting.
The plane had increased bookings bottom of the fuselage, consisting of 25 armor plates, and carried 1615 kg payload in three ventral and ten otkryla-out hardpoints.
Maximum takeoff weight reached 8800 kg. With outside foot speed AU-1 was reduced to 384 km/h.
For a French carrier-based aircraft firm Vought built Corsair plane 94 of the modification of the F4U-7. The design of put the glider from the F4U-4B, which is for improved visibility redesigned the cockpit. The basis of the power plant was the engine R2800-18W power of 2100 HP the First flight of the F4U-7 was held on July 2, 1952. Serial production began in late summer of 1952. Retraining of French pilots took place at NAS Oceana in Virginia. The first production vehicles entered service with squadron 14.F under the command of Pierre Mentee. The division was based in Tunisia. Another three squadrons permanently stationed on aircraft carriers Arromanches and La Fayette.
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