High-Speed Low Level Ground Attack Display
The Pratt and Whitney XR-2800 Double Wasp engine selected for the Corsair required a large diameter propeller, which in turn would require very long landing gear units. As the aircraft was to be used in carrier operations, this was not suitable as landings would frequently be heavy, and could easily damage the landing gear. To avoid this, the highly characteristic 'inverted gull wing' design was developed, which kept the prop away from the ground, and allowed the landing gear to be as short as possible.In June 1942 the first production batch of Corsairs were delivered to the US Navy, who almost immediately deemed the aircraft unsuitable for carrier operations. Thus it was primarily land based units, including those of the US Marines, who first made use of the type. The Marine Corps VMF-124 squadron was the first operational unit to take the Corsair into action, at Guadalcanal in February 1943. By April 1943 the now significantly modified aircraft was in operation with the US Navy, and from June that year a considerable number of Corsairs saw service with the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm as well. The RNZAF started to re-equip with Corsairs in 1944, and these replaced the service's Curtiss P-40 Kittyhawks which had been operational in the Pacific Theatre during 1942-1943.
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This aircraft (NZ5648) was saved from the (in)famous Rukuhia scrapyard in the late 1950's, and by 1966 had been restored to a taxiable condition. In this state it was displayed at the opening of the Hamilton Airport in 1966 (New Zealand). Over the next 16 years it spent time at MOTAT in Auckland, and then was sold to the USA, where it was restored to an airworthy condition and flew once more in 1982.After spending some twelve years based in the UK with the Old Flying Machine Company, the aircraft returned to New Zealand in 2004, and is now based at Hood Aerodrome in Masterton with the Old Stick And Rudder Company.