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F4U vs. P-51 essay

Aviation Discuss F4U vs. P-51 essay in the World War II - Aviation forums; Originally Posted by syscom3 I wonder what the loss rate for the Corsair would be if it had to fight ...

  1. #16
    Senior Member comiso90's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by syscom3 View Post
    I wonder what the loss rate for the Corsair would be if it had to fight the far more deadly and dangerous pilots and aircraft of the LW?
    I've often wondered the same thing. The pilots would adopt strategies and tactics that help out the F4U. I'm sure the corsair would account well for itself.

    Certainly, it wouldn't fair any worse then the P-47 which carved a very important niche.



    .

  2. #17
    Senior Member kool kitty89's Avatar
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    The P-51 could operate from a carrier:

    A P-51H (44-64420) was borrowed by the US Navy In August of 1945 for trials to determine the type's suitability as a carrier-based fighter. The earlier P-51D had been deemed to be unsuitable because of the lack of adequate rudder control at low speeds, especially at high angles of attack. The tests proved that the P-51H did indeed provide adeuqte rudder control, but since the war was already over, the possibility of a carrier-based P-51H was not considered any further. A second P-51H 44-64192 was acquired by the Navy in 1948 for tests of various aerofoil shapes at transonic speeds at the Grumman Aircraft Corporation. While in Navy service, the plane became BuNo 09064. After the tests were over in 1952, the plane was transferred to the Air National Guard.


    The P-47 could take more damage (the Corsair had voulnerable oil coolers and wooden/fabric areas on most models) and had a higher critical dive speed and aerodynamicly cleaner design. The P-47 had all metal control surfaces with "blunt nosed" ailerons which gave excelent high speed control performance. (critical Mach of >.82) It had a heavier armament and ammo load. The P-47 had better visibillity over its shorter nose and better overall visibillity with a bubbletop canopy at a slight expense to piot protection. (about equal with a malcolm hood)

    The F4U could carry 2000 lbs more bombs and had better climb at most altitudes. The F4U could out-turn both the P-51 and P-47 with it's thick high-lift wing. The P-47 could disengage at will in a dive-- except below 10,000 ft. (when there wasn't enough altitude)


    I perfer both craft to the P-51 due to durrabillity and overall versitility and both could range about as far as the P-51D (2000+ miles maximum) with max external fuel -albeit they needed ~50% more than the Mustang- the P-47D-25 could carry a maximum fuel load of 780 US gallons (with 2x 150 gal and 1x 110 gal droptank) for a range of 2,100 miles with a 10.2 hour endurance. (206 mph and an escort radius of ~900 miles with ~30 min of combat)

    See: http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.o...ical-chart.jpg for the P-47's range

    I don't have figures for the F4U's maximum range.

    Also here's another essay on the F4U: Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair
    Last edited by kool kitty89; 02-27-2008 at 10:00 PM.

  3. #18
    Pacific Historian syscom3's Avatar
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    Didnt the Corsair have its best performance figures below 25,000 ft while the P47 and P51 have its best performance above that altitude?
    "Pilot to copilot..... what are those mountain goats doing up here in the clouds?"

  4. #19
    Senior Member Thorlifter's Avatar
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    I believe that's correct Sys.

    So, you got a B. That's ok. I think we can all live with that.

  5. #20
    Senior Member kool kitty89's Avatar
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    The P-51D had best (speed) performance at ~25,000 ft iirc as well and the P-47C and early D wich had a lower rev limit on their turbos (~18,000 rpm).

    It should also be noted that the P-47's wing pylons cut 15 mph off the top speed (though early pylons cut up to 45 mph!!! though these weren't introduced on production models) but the added load and range these provided was well worth it. The P-51's wing racks cut only ~10 mph off top speed)

    One other disadvantage of the P-51 was that it looked much more like LW fighters than any other US or RAF fighter.


    It should also be noted that the P-47D's engine (both 2800-63 and 59 being virtualy identical) were cleared for 2,600 hp with 70" Hg (2,535 at 65" max climb) WEP at 2,700 rpm with 100/150 grade fuel and water-injection, Bringing top speed up to 444 mph at 23,500 ft (critical altitude for 70" boost) and a max climb of 3280 ft/min at 10,000 ft with 65" at 13,230 lbs. Up from 3100 ft/min with 56" giving 2,300 hp.

    SEE http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.o...-47-66inch.jpg

    and P-47 Performance Tests
    Last edited by kool kitty89; 02-28-2008 at 05:23 PM.

  6. #21
    Senior Member renrich's Avatar
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    Comparing the P51 versus the F4U is great fun. I have participated in that exercise many times. Both were premier AC in WW2. The P51 has had the best PR agent, whoever that is, because according to popular thinking it was the best fighter in WW2. However comparing the Corsair to the Mustang is kind of like comparing the Morgan horse to a Thoroughbred. Depends on what you are needing it for. If you are going on a race track with a jockey you want a Thoroughbred, if you are going harness racing you want a Morgan. If you want a fighter bomber you want a Corsair, if you want an escort fighter, you want a Mustang. They are both somewhat interchangeable but they both have their strong points. On balance if only one fighter could have been produced in WW2 by the US, it would have to be the Corsair because of it's carrier capability. To have made the Mustang truly carrier capable much of it's performance would have been lost. On top of that the Navy would have turned it down because of the liquid cooled engine.

  7. #22
    Senior Member davparlr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by renrich View Post
    Comparing the P51 versus the F4U is great fun. I have participated in that exercise many times. Both were premier AC in WW2. The P51 has had the best PR agent, whoever that is, because according to popular thinking it was the best fighter in WW2. However comparing the Corsair to the Mustang is kind of like comparing the Morgan horse to a Thoroughbred. Depends on what you are needing it for. If you are going on a race track with a jockey you want a Thoroughbred, if you are going harness racing you want a Morgan. If you want a fighter bomber you want a Corsair, if you want an escort fighter, you want a Mustang. They are both somewhat interchangeable but they both have their strong points. On balance if only one fighter could have been produced in WW2 by the US, it would have to be the Corsair because of it's carrier capability. To have made the Mustang truly carrier capable much of it's performance would have been lost. On top of that the Navy would have turned it down because of the liquid cooled engine.
    Very astute observation. I agree completely.

  8. #23
    Senior Member Sgt. Pappy's Avatar
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    in terms of how the F4U would perform in the ETO and MTO, I think it would have performed somewhat like the P-38/47 did in terms of success.

    In the PTO, the F4U and P-38 were the top notch aircraft of their respective Corps but in the ETO, the P-38 sorta died... flew improperly. It was maneuvered more with impulse than technique. In the MTO, its unparalleled zoom, dive and acceleration were used to a good extent to fight. In the MTO during escort missions, especially early on, the P-38F, G, and to some extent the H variants really did not compare well to the quick climbing/accelerating German aircraft.

    In the PTO, the P-38 had all the speed, climb and high altitude performance. The F4U, being used mostly as a BnZ role in the PTO, would not have been able to fight the 109's (particularly the 109's) while the other extremely fast hot rod aircraft like the P-51 or well turning planes like the Spitfire could fight the 109's more easily. If anything, the Corsair would have been similar in fighting performance to the P-47. Neither of the planes had the best climb/acceleration in the world, but the P-47 dove well and was tough as tungsten nails. The Corsair, was more maneuverable than the P-51 or P-47 and though couldn't turn as fast as the P-38, could turn much tighter.

    The F4U was tricky to fly and stalled nastily while the P-38 had very difficult systems to manage. But being similar in performance to the P-47, yet arguably harder to fly, I've come to conclude that an F4U would perform like a P-38/47, though it would likely be sent for Hurricane-like ground attack missions, with the ability, to some extent, perform Spitfire-esque defense missions since its high-altitude performance does not parallel that of either the turbo-charged P-38/47.
    Last edited by Sgt. Pappy; 03-02-2008 at 12:19 AM.
    "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few..." - Winston Churchill

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    Senior Member renrich's Avatar
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    One of the problems with comparing different AC, especially the premier fighters, P51, P47, P38, F4U, F6F, Fw 190 and BF109(maybe a few others) is that the airplanes evolved during the war and the different models were optimized for various missions. P47B and C were range limited, P47N had good range. P51B had good performance, problematical armament, poor visibility. The P51D had slightly less performance but much better in the other factors. Early F4U1s had poor visibility, carrier landing problems, nasty stall characteristics, etc. Later F4Us largely solved all those problems. Additionally, AC were tailored for specific types of missions. FW190s early on had good performance down low, not so good up high. A BF109 with two mgs and one cannon was an agile dogfighter. A BF109 with gondolas and many cannon was good against bombers, not so good in a dogfight. F4U1D was optimized for the fighter bomber role. F4U4 could still do the fighter bomber deal but was really fitted for knocking down kamikazes high and low. The Navy fighters were not optimized for high altitude performance because the ships they were protecting were literally at sea level and high altitude bombers were not much of a threat. It was no accident that the fastest premier US fighter at sea level in WW2 was probably the F4U4. The point here is that to say this AC or that airplane was superior to another needs to be qualified by defining the mission the airplane is meant to carry out. A 1945 version P47N with its wings full of fuel and a full ammo load might be uncomfortable low and slow against an old A6M5. One misconception I believe is that Navy fighters could not fight at high altitudes. They weren't optimised for that but a Corsair( it was not a F4U4 because it had a 3 blade prop) caught a Dinah recon plane over Okinawa at 38000 ft and because his guns were frozen made several runs and chewed off the Dinah's tail with his prop. That shows that it could fight at high altitudes and it had enough performance to catch up more than once.
    Last edited by renrich; 03-02-2008 at 04:34 PM.

  10. #25
    Pacific Historian syscom3's Avatar
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    "..It was maneuvered more with impulse than technique....."

    "...while the P-38 had very difficult systems to manage....."

    What did that mean?
    "Pilot to copilot..... what are those mountain goats doing up here in the clouds?"

  11. #26
    Senior Member drgondog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sgt. Pappy View Post
    in terms of how the F4U would perform in the ETO and MTO, I think it would have performed somewhat like the P-38/47 did in terms of success.

    As it was in general, more agile than both and had a greater range than the contemporary models of the P47C and D - it probably would have done very well indeed

    In the PTO, the F4U and P-38 were the top notch aircraft of their respective Corps but in the ETO, the P-38 sorta died... flew improperly. It was maneuvered more with impulse than technique. In the MTO, its unparalleled zoom, dive and acceleration were used to a good extent to fight. In the MTO during escort missions, especially early on, the P-38F, G, and to some extent the H variants really did not compare well to the quick climbing/accelerating German aircraft.

    On the other hand the P-38L solved all the previous operational problems except compressibility w/o dive brakes... and the dive brakes enabled excellent div control, albeit at slower speeds than the others in comparison.

    In the PTO, the P-38 had all the speed, climb and high altitude performance. The F4U, being used mostly as a BnZ role in the PTO, would not have been able to fight the 109's (particularly the 109's) while the other extremely fast hot rod aircraft like the P-51 or well turning planes like the Spitfire could fight the 109's more easily. If anything, the Corsair would have been similar in fighting performance to the P-47. Neither of the planes had the best climb/acceleration in the world, but the P-47 dove well and was tough as tungsten nails. The Corsair, was more maneuverable than the P-51 or P-47 and though couldn't turn as fast as the P-38, could turn much tighter.

    ??? the F4U was as good or slightly better Model for Model as the P-51, turned tighter than both the P-47 and P-38 and accelerated sligtly faster depending on the altitude than the Mustang. Until above 25,000 feet the choice between and F4U and Mustang would have been personal choice - not clear cut superiority between either

    The F4U was tricky to fly and stalled nastily while the P-38 had very difficult systems to manage. But being similar in performance to the P-47, yet arguably harder to fly, I've come to conclude that an F4U would perform like a P-38/47, though it would likely be sent for Hurricane-like ground attack missions, with the ability, to some extent, perform Spitfire-esque defense missions since its high-altitude performance does not parallel that of either the turbo-charged P-38/47.
    At the altitudes of interest, namely 30,000 feet and below where top cover for escorted bombers was conducted, the F4U performed very well in comparison to all of the prime ETO fighters. The F4U-4 was slower at 30,000 feet than the P-51B/D and P-47D but at the end of the day, would have outperformed both the Fw 190A and Me 109G's in the same areas a Mustang did.

    The Me 109G would have climbed better in a tight climbing turn and the Fw 190 would have outrolled it below 350 mph (or thereabouts). I suspect the F4U-4 would have been a slightly better dogfighter than the Mustang below 15,000 feet and better than all the P-47D's

  12. #27
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    Good job with the essay!

    Iíll throw out something on comparisons. Flying an aircraft vs fighting with it. An aircraft may be great to fly but how is it to fight with? For an example the Mustang by all accounts was a joy to fly. However with a full bag of gas in the internal tank it was more difficult to handle in a dogfight.

    Of course Iím still partial to the Hellcat
    No Plan Survives First Contact with the Enemy.

  13. #28
    Senior Member magnocain's Avatar
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    Thanks guys!

    I also wanted to cause some controversy and alternate opinions, as I am the most informed person I have met.
    Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets.
    --Napoleon Bonaparte--

  14. #29
    Senior Member kool kitty89's Avatar
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    The P-47D was longer ranged than many realize, The P-47D-25 (65 gal increased internal capacity over earlier models) could manage 2,100 mi with 780 US gallons at 206 mph. (this was with 2x 150 gal wing tanks and a 110 gal belly tank)

    But with the P-47C and many early D models, wing pylons and plumbing were not fitted and the max external fuel load was with a 200 gal conformal laminated paper drop tank on the belly. (which was not used once wing tanks were available since it was unpressurized and dangerous to land with, though a 200 gal steel belly tank was used late in the war and the Pacific P-47s had custom made "big and ugly" 200 gal wing tanks) With the 200 gal tank plus the 305 gal internal the P-47 could manage but 1,400 mi, similar to the P-40 with drop tank of the same time.

    Pacific P-47's also used 165 gal P-38 tanks as wing tanks. (note belly tank capasity was limited due to clearance not weight issues, hence why large flat tubs were used for high capacities -otherwise a 75 or 110 gal tank is all it could hold)

    see: http://www.wwiiaircraftperformance.o...ical-chart.jpg

    However, I don't have figures for the F4U.

  15. #30
    Pacific Historian syscom3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by magnocain View Post
    I also wanted to cause some controversy and alternate opinions, as I am the most informed person I have met.
    "Pilot to copilot..... what are those mountain goats doing up here in the clouds?"

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