Tools of War
Goodyear FG-1D Corsair
Considered to be among the best carrier-based fighter planes of World War II, over 12,000 Corsairs were produced for a number of Allied countries starting in 1940. Originally designed by Chance Vought as the F4U, Goodyear manufactured the plane under license to Chance Vought at the height of production – the demand for the planes was overwhelming.
The single 2,000 horsepower, 18-cylinder Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine was incredibly powerful; combined with the 3 metre propeller, the Corsair was extremely fast and agile, with a top speed of well over 600 kilometres per hour. The wings folded up for travel on aircraft carriers, and angle upward even when unfolded. Corsairs built later in World War II could carry two 450 kilogram bombs, eight rockets under the wings, and had six .50 caliber machine guns built into the wings.
Some Japanese called Corsairs “Whispering Ghosts” as they often approached so quietly that there was little forewarning; they were also sometimes referred to as “Whistling Death” because of a whistling sound caused by air intake.
There is some dispute as to the call numbers of Hammy Gray’s Corsair – it was decided to paint the commemorative Corsair with number 115, one of the possible planes Gray may have flown on his last mission. His regular plane, featuring call number 119, was blocked between two damaged planes on the hanger deck.