The F4U-1 Corsair was one of the greatest combat aircraft of World War II. Development of this Navy Fighter began in 1938, the first prototype flying in May 29, 1940. It was the first U.S. fighter to exceed 400 MPH, out performing all other American aircraft at that time. From the first production F4U-1 of 1942 to the last F4U-6 built ten years later, 12,571 Corsairs came off the production line. The F4U Corsair has a wingspan of 41', a length of 33'4" and stands 15' 7" high. The plane weighs 8,982 pounds empty, with a maximum-takeoff weight of 10,500 pounds.
Entering action in 1943 with land based U.S. Marine squadrons stationed in the Solomon Islands, the Corsair swiftly gained air supremacy in the Pacific Theater. Cleared for U.S. Navy carrier operations late in 1944, variants of the F4U-1 were also used by the Royal Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force during the war. The Corsair returned to active duty in 1950, serving throughout the Korean War as a ground-support aircraft.