F4U-1

Discussion in 'Fighter Tactics' started by Waystin2, Dec 28, 2019.

  1. Waystin2

    Waystin2 Administrator
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    F4U-1


    Overview

    The F4U-1 is often seen to fit in slightly under the C/D models of Corsair in terms of capability but that isn't accurate. The reality is less clear because the F4U-1 is actually faster than the C/D models, feels lighter, and has vastly better range while maybe being just a little bit more forgiving and nimble. That said, describing any Corsair as forgiving is not accurate, they are prone to violent stalls, ground loops, and other general nastiness that will remind you from time to time why you need to respect the Corsair. Still, for an aircraft that is not often considered as popular, the F4U-1 is actually very capable and dangerous.

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    F4U-1
    Engine Performance

    There are so many ways to look at engine performance, but the F4U-1 is a real mixed bag. Top speed at sea-level is actually very good, 350mph at cruise adn 358mph with WEP. That's very good, as fast as a Spit XIV at sea-level or a P-51B, but the problem is getting to that top speed is painfully slow. The F4U-1 is poor when it comes to acceleration, it ranks in the bottom 1/3 of aircraft in the game at most altitude. So, basically, your top speed is good but getting there is a problem. Altitude improves speed though the acceleration remains about the same, the F4U-1 can manage 395mph at 19K while cruising with an top speed of 415mph at 20K with WEP. Those are very solid numbers. Climb rate is not good, only 2,700 ft/min and decreasing slowly with altitude gains. You certainly shouldn't plan to climb or accelerate away from anything except a bomber. Fuel duration is a world apart from other Corsairs at 43 minutes on internal fuel alone, with another 18 minutes worth in a drop tank if you so desire to load one. The reason for the long duration is the F4U-1 has wing tanks, left and right, along with the typical main tank, but more on this in the maneuvering discussions.

    Firepower

    Anything with .50's is good and the F4U-1 has six total with half packed nicely in each wing. Ammunition is well provided with 400 rounds/gun for four of the guns and 375 rounds/gun for the other two (of course balanced between the wings). The .50 cal is probably the easiest gun to use in the game with excellent ballistic properties and short flight times because of their high velocity. They also have excellent rates of fire so can quickly fill the enemy plane with hits. Convergence can be an issue in the F4U-1 as the guns are mounted outside the arc of a huge propellor. A point convergence, or small zone, are usually preferred at short-medium range. I think a lot of people push the convergence point out a little bit on anything with closely mounted .50s (the three in each wing are very closely grouped). External ordinance is restricted to a single fuselage mounting point with no option for rockets. The single external point can carry up to a 1,000lb bomb or a drop tank. The drop tank is not usually necessary so the bomb can be carried with little penalty in range (most aircraft need the drop tank for range, the F4U-1 doesn't).

    Maneuverability

    There is nothing light about the F4U-1, it is over 12,000lbs in weight, hence the somewhat lackluster acceleration performance. That said, once at speed, the F4U-1 is quite nimble and even when slower can be surprisingly agile. The F4U-1 is not a turn-fighter though and should be kept at mid-high speeds whenever possible. Roll rate is exceptional at all speeds and you should never really be concerned about overspeeding the aircraft in a dive. The F4U-1 thrives in a dive. The F4U-1 has an important balance issue though, it has two wing fuel tanks, unlike other Corsairs. Standard procedure should be to burn the left wing tank immediately after takeoff and then burn the right wing tank. The weight of fuel in these tanks seems to affect the overall handling of the aircraft and when burned really improves handling. Once light of fuel, the F4U-1 can give a lot of turners a scare though sustained turning robs the aircraft of important speed which it is unable to easily replace.

    Flying the F4U-1

    I've flown the F4U-1 and F4U-1D over the tours and I could probably be convinced to say the -1 is the better aircraft even though the popularity in the game doesn't show that. The -1D can certainly carry a higher load of ordinance but it also tends to be used like a pack-mule, full of fuel, with rockets and two bombs. The -1 tends to be used more as a fighter, maybe packing a single bomb and less than full fuel. The F4U-1 is not without some disadvantages though as compared to later Corsair models. It really is sluggish, in the bottom 1/3 of aircraft acceleration when the -1C and -1D are in the middle 1/3, and you can feel it. The -1 also has absolutely horrible cockpit views, the birdcage canopy is highly obstructed and it's easy to lose targets in the window frames. It's very easy to lose sight of an enemy and have difficulty reacquiring it quickly. Also be aware of the dreaded ground-loop. The Corsair in general is the poster child for this, an uncontrollable slewing of the plane when on the ground that snaps you around, usually flipping the plane or collapsing the landing gear in the process. When on the ground be very careful to monitor your speed and taxi slowly to avoid this. On landings, try and land as slowly as you can with full flaps, then pull back on the stick and get the tailwheel on the ground. This will help stabilize the aircraft before you apply your brakes. The torque of the engine even at low power settings can make you pay if you push the plane too far.

    Offensively, the F4U-1 is best used just like other Corsairs in the BnZ role. Keep it fast, dive from above, and snapshot your opponents before zooming back up to higher altitude safety. While the acceleration in the F4U-1 is not good, the mass makes for reasonable zoom performance. The large mass also allows you to hide energy effectively in speed. Many of the best Corsair pilots will intentionally dive to extreme speed, sometimes in excess of 500mph, in order to make themselves appear vulnerable at lower altitudes only to zoom up like a rocket. Roll-rate is impressive, almost on par with a 190, and roll reversals are crisp at speed. Vertical zooms or dives can yield very quick turns if you use your roll rate. Take snapshots whenever possible at reasonable ranges but don't expect instant kills unless you catch people in your convergence. The six .50's tend to chop pieces off aircraft quickly but not necessarily kill the enemy in a shot blast. They do throw a lot of lead out though and you are more likely to hand out damage. Remember that all Corsairs share the same icon (except the perked F4U-4) so an enemy will not know whether you are a -1, -1D, or -1C. They will likely respect you as if you are a -1C (those wicked cannons are lasers) but once close will be able to see you are a -1 because your colour is different (it's easy to see when close). Most people look for the yellow nose of the -1D but the -1 and -1C both have a blue nose and it's tough to tell those two apart. Not many people are willing to risk you being a -1C and allowing a Head-On. You can use flaps in brief extensions to improve turn-rate at mid-lower speeds though they add a lot of drag.

    Defensively, you need a plan and you need to know early when it is time to leave. The F4U-1 needs time to accelerate and leave, though once at good speed then it can leave some of the best turners behind easily. Shallow dives, or steep dives, can aid in acceleration while your roll rate can quickly throw an enemy aircraft off your heading and unable to follow. Scissors are also quite effective in the F4U-1 though they are a bit of a last resort (or should be). The F4U-1 can even drop flaps and gear at high speeds (over 300mph) in order to create massive drag and force overshoots. I don't know that there is another aircraft in the game that can extend the landing gear at the high speeds the Corsairs in general can. Make sure you are alert though, it's easy to lose aircraft to your rear in the F4U-1, the view to the back is pretty poor.
     
  2. Waystin2

    Waystin2 Administrator
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    Fighting the F4U-1


    You should always respect any Corsair you meet, even the F4U-1 which may appear as just another "early-war" aircraft. It is actually very deadly both in offensive and in defense.


    When encountering a Corsair, you should really try and evaluate his type and energy level. The Type is usually easy to tell, look for a yellow nose cowl which signifies the -1D. If it only has a blue cowl then it is either a -1 or -1C, and a quick look at the wing surface colour will show the difference. Always assume the opponent is in a -1C until you know otherwise as you need to give the -1C a little more room in your maneuvers. Also, look for very high closure speeds as an indication that the enemy is trying to dupe you into thinking he is lower and has less energy. Just like in a P-47, the Corsair can turn a very high speed low altitude target into one that almost instantly zooms 7,000ft straight up on you. Corsairs are otherwise similarily handled, decide which area of performance you may have an advantage and pressure the fight towards one which would be predominantly of that type. Something like a Spitfire should push for a slower turn-fight or one that slowly increases in altitude, exploiting the F4U's poor low speed handling and lack of climb/acceleration. Never fight in a downward spiral as this plays into the Corsairs favor. Take snap shots whenever possible but always leave enough energy in your reserve to make another pass (if the current one should miss). The Corsair can sometimes suck up enormous punishment and remain flying so if you blow all your advantage in one pass, you may hit the Corsair but not kill him. Nothing worse than getting shot down by a Corsair that you hit more than once but somehow remained flying/fighting. Remember the poor rear views he has also,come in slightly low if you can and attack from the rear belly area or switch areas of attack rapidly so the enemy has to maneuver around simply to watch what you are doing.


    Defensively, evaluate closely the energy position of a Corsair. Lowers ones usually shouldn't have the energy to climb up to you unless they are hiding it in high speed. Low Corsairs should not be a big problem though you certainly don't want to underestimate it close enough to allow them any sort of shot on you. A high Corsair can be a real problem though, he is likely to make fast passes only to zoom up to reposition and make another. You will inevitablly need to try and build up energy and leave yourself enough speed to ensure a good defensive maneuvering capacity. Don't allow the Corsair easy shots and don't Head-On one unless you are really desperate, it's likely certain death. Steep dives are not all that likely to work, nor scissors unless you can get the speeds slowed down. The Corsair has nasty stall habits so a low speed scissor or turning fight can be very difficult for the Corsair to follow. A smart Corsair driver will probably break off after 3-4 passes if he feels his energy situation is depleting and he's not seeing a shot opportunity he likes. You can also try and drag towards friendly forces as the average F4U-1 pilot tends to have a pretty large spacing between his attack runs.
     

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