Vought Corsair

The Corsair belonging to Vintage Wings of Canada.



The Vought Corsair was probably the best American naval fighter of the Second World War. First flown in 1939, the Corsair was characterized by its inverted gull, upward folding wings. This feature enabled a large diameter propeller while reducing the length of the undercarriage. Equipped with a powerful radial engine, the type was progressively improved and served with many nations for the next 30 years. Although, early operational experience proved the aircraft was not the easiest design to land on a carrier deck, the Royal Navy was anxious to introduce the aircraft into service under Lend-Lease arrangements. First used by the RN on the Tirpitz raids in 1943, the design also quickly gained favour with the British fleet in the Pacific.  In the closing months of the war, July and August 1945, RN Corsair squadrons, Nos 1841 and 1842, from the aircraft carrier HMS Formidable, carried the war to the Japanese mainland by conducting strikes against the Tokyo region. On August 9, 1945, in the course of a shipping strike against in Onagawa Bay, Lieutenant Robert Hampton (Hammy) Gray of the Royal Canadian Volunteer Naval Reserve, flying a Corsair, won a posthumous Victoria Cross. Pressing home an attack on a Japanese destroyer in spite of intense anti-aircraft fire, his aircraft was struck repeatedly. He still scored a direct hit, sinking the destroyer, but then fatally crashed. He became the only Second World War member of the Royal Canadian Navy to win the highest decoration of the British Commonwealth.

Technical Specifications

Specifications (Mk IV)


Manufacturer Vought Aircraft Ltd
Crew / Passenger One pilot
Powerplant One 2,250 horsepower Pratt & Whitney R-2800-8 Double Wasp radial piston engine
Maximum speed 415 miles per hour (668 kilometres per hour)
Cruising Speed 261 miles per hour (420 kilometres per hour)
Service Ceiling 34,000 feet (10,363 metres) 
Range 1,562 miles (2,514 kilometres)
Empty weight 9,100 pounds (4,128 kilograms)   
Maximum takeoff weight 12,100 pounds (5,488 kilograms)            
Span 39 feet 8 inches (12.09 metres)    
Length 33 feet 4 inches (10.16 metres)                  
Height 15 feet 1 inch (4.60 metres)
Wing area 305 square feet (28.33 metres)
Armament Four 0.5 inch (12.7 millimetre) machine guns in the wings plus provisions for up to 2,000 pounds (907 kilograms) in bombs, rockets or fuel tanks
Cost Unknown


Date modified: