1997 32¢ Chance Vought F4U Corsair
Classic American Aircraft
Issue Date: July 19, 1997
City: Dayton, OH
Printed By: Stamp Venturers
Printing Method: Photogravure
Initially dubbed a failure, the Vought Corsair eventually proved its superiority over the Grumman Wildcat, becoming the most important naval attack fighter of World War II. In fact, by 1943 all Pacific-based Marine fighter squadrons had been re-equipped with the Corsair. And as testament to its outstanding service, this fighter remained in production for 13 years.
Conceived in 1938, the Corsair’s design started with the basic idea of marrying the most powerful engine available – the new 2000-hp Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp – with the smallest compatible airframe. The use of this engine, whose greater power necessitated the largest propeller of any contemporary fighter, resulted in adopting an inverted gull wing. This unique feature kept the main landing gear legs reasonably short, while allowing adequate ground clearance for the air crew.
Early trial flights not only revealed a number of problems, but also promised great potential. At 404 mph, the Corsair was the first US fighter to exceed 400 mph. With its distinctive engine note and high “kill ratio” it soon earned the nickname “Whistling Death” from its Japanese opponents. In the Pacific Theater alone, the Corsair shot down 2,140 enemy aircraft with only 189 losses, earning a reputation as the very best of its kind.