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More Corsair

Illustration for article titled More Corsair
Photo: Richard Bong

I’ve had this photo as a screensaver for a while. I’ve been looking at its a lot. What’s it about?

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The plane is a Vought F4U-1.

It’s on a Pacific Island during WWII.

The pilot is probably a Marine. The Marines mostly operated the Corsair off ground bases due to the plane’s challenging visibility during carrier landings.

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His Corsair got hit with a round of AA which blew a hole in her left elevator. The round came in from below at an angle, hit the torque tube and exploded blowing the fabric off the top of the elevator and putting a lot of holes in the rudder. [The Corsair was the last US plane to have fabric and dope covered control surfaces.] It being the Pacific and his enemy the Japanese, the round was possibly fired from a Type 96 25mm AA gun, an mediocre weapon based on a French Hotchkiss.

The pilot is clearly glad to be home. But his helmet and goggles are all crooked. Why? I think he landed and it being hot on whatever field that was [Henderson?] he did the natural thing and took off his fabric helmet. Then a photographer ran up for a shot. The photog probably said: “No, no put your gear back on. It will look better.…”. Lucky man. Well built Vought.

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