F4U-4 Corsair Black Sheep Wood Model Plane
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The F4U incorporated the largest engine available at the time, the 2,000 hp (1,490 kW) 18-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp radial. To extract as much power as possible, a relatively large, 13 feet 4 inches (4.1 m) Hamilton Standard Hydromatic three-blade propeller was used. To accommodate a folding wing, the designers considered retracting the main landing gear rearward, but for the chord of wing selected, it was difficult to fit undercarriage struts long enough to provide sufficient clearance for the large propeller. Their solution was an inverted gull wing, a similar layout to the one used by Germany's Junkers Ju 87 dive bomber, considerably shortening the length of the main gear legs. The anhedral of the wing's center-section also permitted the wing and fuselage to meet at the optimum angle for minimizing drag, without the need for wing root fairings. Offsetting these benefits, the bent wing was more difficult to construct and weighed more than a straight one.
The Corsair's aerodynamics were an advance over those of contemporary naval fighters. The F4U was the first U.S. Navy airplane to feature landing gear that retracted fully, in a similar manner to that of the Curtiss P-40 in that the oleo struts rotated through 90° during retraction, with the wheel atop the lower end of the strut; a pair of rectangular doors completely enclosed the wheel wells, leaving a completely streamlined wing. The oil coolers were mounted in the center-section of the wings, alongside of the supercharger air intakes, and used openings in the leading edges of the wings, rather than protruding scoops. The large fuselage panels were made of magnesium and were attached to the frames with the newly-developed technique of spot welding, thus mostly eliminating the use of rivets. While employing this new technology, the Corsair was also the last American-produced fighter aircraft to feature fabric as the skinning for the top and bottom of each outer wing, aft of the main spar and armament bays, and for the ailerons, elevators and rudder. In addition, the elevators were constructed from plywood. Even with its streamlining and high speed abilities, with full flap deployment of 60°, the Corsair could fly slowly enough for carrier landings.