The Goodyear FG-1D Corsair stands as an enduring symbol of aviation excellence, embodying the spirit of innovation and prowess that characterized World War II-era fighter planes. Read about the rich history of the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair, exploring its design, role in combat, and efforts to preserve its legacy. Add Goodyear FG-1D Corsair PlaneTags to your collection on January 25, 2024.
The Goodyear FG-1D Corsair is a renowned World War II-era fighter aircraft that emerged as a critical player in the Allied forces' air campaigns. Developed as a variant of the Vought F4U Corsair, it was manufactured by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation during the war to meet the escalating demand for high-performance fighter planes. The FG-1D Corsair is easily distinguishable by its distinctive gull-wing design and housed a potent Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine, which provided exceptional speed and altitude capabilities. Of the more than 12,586 total Corsairs built, 4,007 were produced by Goodyear, to the same specifications as Vought’s Corsairs.
The first FG-1D Corsair flew in February 1943, with deliveries beginning in April 1943. Primarily utilized by the United States Navy and Marine Corps, the Corsair became synonymous with its versatility, excelling in both air-to-air combat and ground-attack missions. Its combat service extended beyond World War II, with the Corsair continuing to serve in various conflicts and even transitioning to post-war civilian use, solidifying its status as an iconic and enduring symbol of aviation history.
The origins of the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair are rooted in the urgent need for fighter aircraft during World War II. As the conflict escalated, the demand for high-performance fighter planes soared, prompting the collaboration of unlikely partners. Goodyear, primarily recognized for its expertise in tire manufacturing, pivoted to address the wartime needs and entered into a unique partnership to produce the Vought F4U Corsair.
The Vought F4U Corsair, initially developed by Chance Vought Aircraft, gained notoriety for its exceptional speed and high-altitude performance. Recognizing the urgent need for additional manufacturing capacity, Goodyear was selected as one of the alternate manufacturers alongside Vought and Brewster. This collaboration resulted in the birth of the Goodyear FG-1 Corsair series, called Corsair Mk IV by the Fleet Air Arm of the Royal Navy.
Goodyear brought its industrial prowess to the table, adapting its manufacturing facilities to produce the Corsair at scale. The company's commitment to innovation and efficiency played a pivotal role in the success of the FG-1D Corsair, contributing significantly to the Allied forces' air superiority during the latter stages of the war. See this list for Goodyear's contributions to the World War II mission.
The company's factories were retooled to accommodate the production of these complex machines, exemplifying Goodyear's flexibility and industrial might. By the war's end, Goodyear had not only contributed to the Allied victory through its production of Corsairs but had also diversified its manufacturing capabilities, laying the groundwork for its post-war expansion into aerospace and other industries. This period marked a significant chapter in Goodyear's history, showcasing its commitment to innovation and its pivotal role in supporting national defense efforts.
One of its most distinctive features of the innovative design of the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair is the instantly recognizable gull-wing configuration, which not only provided the necessary ground clearance for the massive 13 foot, 4 inch propeller but also contributed to improved pilot visibility during carrier landings. The aircraft's design was optimized for high-speed performance and agility, traits crucial for its role as a fighter plane.
At the heart of the FG-1D Corsair's prowess was its powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine. This radial engine, known for its reliability and impressive output, propelled the Corsair to speeds exceeding 400 mph and gave it a formidable edge in dogfights. The combination of the unique design elements and the robust engine made the Corsair a standout among its contemporaries.
In addition to its aerodynamic prowess, the Corsair was armed with an array of weaponry, typically featuring six .50 caliber machine guns. This lethal armament, coupled with the aircraft's ability to carry bombs and rockets, made it a versatile platform capable of both air-to-air combat and ground-attack missions. The marriage of advanced design and cutting-edge technology in the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair contributed significantly to its success on the battlefield and solidified its place as an iconic fighter aircraft in aviation history.
The Goodyear FG-1D Corsair played a pivotal role in some of the most significant aerial battles of World War II, particularly in the Pacific theater. Renowned for its exceptional speed and maneuverability, the Corsair became a key asset for the United States Navy and Marine Corps in their efforts against the formidable Japanese air forces. Its ability to outpace and outmaneuver adversaries made it a formidable opponent in dogfights, earning it the nickname "Whistling Death" among Japanese aviators.
The Corsair's combat effectiveness was not limited to air-to-air engagements; it also proved highly adept in ground-attack missions. Its capacity to carry a substantial payload of bombs and rockets made it a versatile asset for supporting Allied ground forces, earning the respect and admiration of those who relied on its air cover. Notable for its service in battles such as Okinawa and Iwo Jima, the Corsair played a crucial role in securing Allied air superiority in the Pacific, contributing significantly to the ultimate victory in the region. The legacy of the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair is indelibly marked by its combat prowess and the courage of the pilots who flew this iconic aircraft into the heat of battle.
Following its illustrious wartime service, the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair found a second act in the post-war era, showcasing its adaptability and enduring appeal. While the Corsair underwent gradual retirement from active military service, it continued to serve in various naval air arms, with some models even seeing action during the Korean War. However, its influence extended beyond the military domain, as surplus Corsairs found new life in civilian hands, utilized for tasks ranging from crop dusting to air racing.
The legacy of the Goodyear FG-1D Corsair endures not only through its continued service but also in its impact on subsequent generations of fighter planes. The lessons learned from its design and combat experiences contributed to the evolution of aviation technology. Today, the Corsair is celebrated in aviation museums worldwide, preserving its historic significance and allowing enthusiasts to appreciate the engineering marvel that played a crucial role in shaping the course of aerial warfare. The Goodyear FG-1D Corsair remains a symbol of resilience, adaptability, and the indomitable spirit of aviation during a transformative period in history.
BuNo 92460, a Goodyear FG-1D Corsair, took its maiden flight in July 1945 and was accepted by the U.S. Navy on July 22. Too late for World War II combat service, instead 92460 was assigned to squadron VMF 314, where it was used for training. It was stored at NAS Litchfield Park, Arizona in 1957.
The squadron's World War II logo. By JJLatWiki - http://www.bluejacket.com/usmc/insignia/av/vmf314_insig.jpg, Public Domain, Link
Marine Fighting Squadron 314 (VMF-314), the "Black Knights," flew the Corsair during World War II. The squadron was commissioned on February 1, 1943, at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina. VMF-314 began flying the Corsair, one of the most capable carrier-based fighter-bombers of the era, during its combat operations in the Pacific Theater.
The Corsair was renowned for its distinctive gull-wing design, powerful engine, and excellent performance characteristics. VMF-314 utilized the Corsair effectively in various roles, including air superiority missions, close air support, and ground-attack operations against Japanese forces.
The squadron's use of the Corsair was part of the broader deployment of this aircraft by Marine Corps and Navy units in the Pacific, where its capabilities were well-suited to the demands of the island-hopping campaigns. The Corsair's range, firepower, and durability made it a formidable tool in the hands of VMF-314 pilots, contributing significantly to their success in aerial combat and support of ground forces.
After World War II, as military aviation transitioned toward jet-powered aircraft, VMF-314 also evolved, shifting to newer, more advanced aircraft in the post-war era. However, their time flying the Corsair remains a notable chapter in the squadron's distinguished history.
The next leg of its journey was to Central America, as part of U.S. military aid to El Salvador. It was given the number FAS 217 and served with Fuerza Armada de El Salvador beginning in 1957.
It found its way back to U.S. soil in 1969, stripped of parts and in pieces but ready to be displayed as a memorial to the men and women who built and flew the Corsair, at the Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford, Connecticut. It stood on a special pedestal at the airport for nearly 40 years, beginning in 1971. In July 2008, now weathered and corroded after decades in the element, it was removed from its display and is now being restored by Connecticut Air and Space Center. Read more about BuNo 92460 on Pacific Wrecks .
The Connecticut Air and Space Center stands as a testament to the rich aviation history of the region. CASC is headquartered at the former Stratford Army Engine Plant complex, the same research and design hangar where all experimental testing was performed between 1944 and 1948 by Chance Vought. One of its most ambitious and captivating projects involves the meticulous restoration of BuNo 92460 . The project serves as both a labor of love and a dedication to preserving a piece of aviation history for future generations.
The skins removed during the restoration have been provided to MotoArt to preserve as Corsair PlaneTags, which will bring awareness and funds to the restoration project. A substantial portion of each sale contributes to bringing this vintage aircraft back to its former glory and supports CASC's overall efforts to preserve aviation history.
CASC provided MotoArt with the skins that were removed from the aircraft during the restoration. MotoArt PlaneTags owner Dave Hall explains the dilemma the team faced when creating the Corsair PlaneTags.
"There was very little original material," explains Hall. "A lot of it was skin that was added or replaced at the time the Corsair was mounted on the pedestal at the Sikorsky Memorial Airport." Using the newer pieces would have allowed the team to create more Goodyear Corsair PlaneTags, but ultimately Hall decided that it was important to use only the original skin. "The newer skin also tells this Corsair's story and maybe someday we'll get to share it too," says Hall.
Goodyear FG-1D PlaneTags are a very limited edition of about 300, and will be released on Thursday, January 25, 2024 at 12pm PST on planetags.com and the PlaneTags app.