Saturday, April 6, 2013

Electric Flight 07/2013

There are very few people who don't recognize the Chance Vought F4U Corsair, largely due to Its characteristically inverted gull wing design. The Corsair utilized the most powerful engine available at the time: the impressive Pratt & Whittney R-2800 Double Wasp, which produced 2,000 horsepower. Of course, immense power required an equally immense propeller. The designers of the plane were faced with a bit of a dilemma. They wanted to use an aft retracting landing gear, which benefited the folding wing design required for carrier operations, but to provide enough prop clearance, the gear struts would have been too long to fit within the designed wing chord. Their solution was to use an inverted gull wing, which raised the fuselage high enough to allow sufficient ground clearance for the propeller. The incredible power from that huge radial engine as well as its cutting edge aerodynamic advancements propelled the F4U into the history books as being the first single engine U.S. fighter to break the 400mph mark and into the hearts of airplane enthusiasts everywhere.