The heavy‐gunned and armor‐plated Corsair is credited with turning the tide of the Pacific air war. Its distinctive multi‐angled “bent” wings, long snout and massive propeller was roughly equal in speed to the Japanese Zero. The Corsair’s blue scheme and tail-hook implied it was a carrier‐based aircraft. However, the cockpit, located behind the big radial engine and wings, made it difficult to see the carrier deck to land. The plane tended to bounce or stall, if pilots were lucky enough to feel their way to the deck!
Land‐based Marine units like “Pappy” Boyington’s “Black Sheep Squadron” proved more successful landing the Corsair on island airstrips. A redesign that raised the pilot seat and replaced the struts, reducing the bounce enabled the Corsair to be cleared by the Navy for carrier use.