Chance Vought F4U-4 Corsair


This was probably the best fighter plane of the war once it was in the air. Due to its incredible prop size which molded its wing design, it was considered too dangerous for carriers until the British came up with a proper approach solution. When it was in the air though, nothing had it beat. 'Whistling Death' was the nickname given to it by the Japanese, who feared it over any other plane in our arsenal, including the P51 and others that were believed to only be used in the European Theatre of the war.

I think that the only real way to assess whether one fighter was better than another is to get the impressions of the enemy. Which one did they watch out for or fear? The Japanese feared the Corsair, who did the Germans, Americans, British/Aussies/Kiwis, etc watch out for? Knowing this, perhaps then we could discuss the various attributes of those aircraft. Having said this, I love the Corsair F4U-4!

In head to head documents from the period, the F4U out fly the P-51 & F6F in every respect and was second only to the P-51 in top speed. A testiment to its flying ability, it was still in production until 1953. Long after any other piston engined fighter of WWII production ended. I think the F4U fought in the theater that best suited its fighting style but in my opinion was the best fighter of WWII.

Although more difficult to fly due to technical issues, those pilots that learned how to fly this plane were virtually unbeatable in a dog fight. High degree of maneuverability at high speeds. The only plane that could beat it was the Zero, at low speeds.

"Whistling Death." The name struck fear into Japanese pilots, the bent wing hog nosed Corsair. Later, it would be dreaded by North Korean and Chinese footsoldiers in Korea. The faster brother of the F6F Hellcat, which also used a super tough and reliable R2800 Pratt and Whitney, the Corsair was not chosen as the primary navy plane as it was difficult to land on carriers (a reputation so bad even experienced pilots had trouble with it, and it became known as the "Rookie Eliminator" among newer pilots), which may have been its only disadvantage. However, it truly shined with the Marines, and many of its flaws disappeared with the F4U-4 modification. The Corsair was deadly as a fast fighter, and could also haul rockets and bombs for ground attack missions, which it continued to do successfully in the Korean War (fun fact: in Korea, a MiG-15 attempted to engage in a turning dogfight with a ground attack Corsair, and the MiG ended up getting shot down by said Corsair). ...more

Fast, strong, could take so much punishment, carry multitude of armaments for many different functions. Only real weakness was landing on carriers. Could just flat out do EVERYTHING well.
Hellcat, P-51, right up there with, but one on one I'd rather be in a Corsair.
Truth is without any of these three we'd been in deep trouble.

All planes on this list were excellent planes. But the Corsair not only was excellent but it is also beautiful. One of (if not the) my favorite planes of all time!

Corsair was the superior plane to almost all in this list. If you needed long range support, then take the Mustang. Corsair actually had better armor than the Thunderbolt. Had the Corsair gone to Europe, statistics would have been far greater than the Thunderbolt. The corsair had to be reinforce for carrier landings which made it even heavier. Had this plane been rigged for European theater and no carrier landings, look out. According to American pilots I have spoken to, the Corsair handled better at high speeds than the Mustang. In head to head testing with a captured Fockwolfe 190, the Corsair could outclimb the Fockwolfe to 30k feet beating it by approximately 60 seconds. Also, the ME 109 wasn't a top five plane. Perhaps it was a top ten plane based on longevity in the war. Fockwolfe was a much better plane than the ME 109. Also, the ME 109 was very hard to land and had poor visibility. I read that 1/3rd of the ME 109 fatalaties were a result of landing accidents... How true that ...more

"Whistling death" to the Japanese. Carried a huge amount of anti surface weapons though it was a fighter that did its job really well.

Japanese called it whistling death was just as fast as mustang was in production longer than mustang

Known as the "Whistling Death" and in one case shot down a Mig-15 in the Korean war where it served as close air support.

Late model Corsairs were faster than P51's but lacked the range and service ceiling of the P51.

This plane has made a kill over a jet - Dhs106

Aside from carrier landing problems, this aircraft helped turn the tide in the air.

One of the best military aircraft of all time. Japanese pilots feared it the most!

Pound for pound best fighter of WWII and the prettiest

Scared the Japanese to death. In fact, they called it the "Whistling Death"

The F4U-4 is my favourite plane because it was on the movie planes

By far the best all around plane.

Where is the grumman hellcat on the list

New Zealanders flew in this fighter with the British Pacific Fleet (second largest contributor of pilots after the Brits) and with the Americans in the Pacific. A favourite of the Kiwis.

Hard to beat the gull winged fighter

The Corsair was the most versatile of all the carrier aircraft, and it was the fastest carrier plane if the war. It was also one of the only planes used from both land and sea by the U.S.

A sleek, well designed airplane.

Faster and better range than the spitfire. Spitfire only had.30 cal guns as against.50 cal for corsair which stayed in service until 1950's