Transcription

Chance Vought/LTVHistoryTABLE OF CONTENTSCHAPTER IChance M. VoughtThe Company, Astoria, New YorkThe VE SeriesThe MysteryThe UO SeriesThe02U CorsairsThe Company, Long Island City, New YorkCHAPTER IIThe Company, East Hartford, ConnecticutThe SU SeriesThe SB SeriesThe SB2U VindicatorCHAPTER IIIThe Company, Stratford, Connecticut1 Page

Vought-Sikorsky DaysThe OS2U KingfisherThe Kingfisher-Fisher of MenThe Zero?CHAPTER IVThe F4U CorsairVought's Corsair “TechRep”Corsairs in CombatThe Corsair and the CarrierMore F4UsThe Sweetheart of OkinawaValor, Courage, and BraveryTheF2GThe RecordThe Corsairs ContinueCHAPTER VA. The XTBU-I Sea WolfThe XF5U-l "Flying Pancake”The F6U PirateCHAPTER VI .The Company, Grand Prairie, TexasThe F7U CutlassReturn of the CorsairMissiles and Things2 Page

The F-8CrusaderCHAPTER VIIA Time of ChangeTEMCOTheXC-142AThe A-7 Corsair IITime of TransitionThe Company in the SeventiesAPPENDIX I Chronology of Vought Aeronautics and its . Chief Executives, 1917-1970APPEND IX II Vought Aeronautics Aircraft, 1917-1970APPENDIX III The Chronological Development of the Vought F4U CorsairAPPENDIX IV Vought F-8 Crusader StatisticsAPPENDIX V Aircraft Vought Aeronautics Modified, Reconditioned or Helped BuildAPPENDIX VI Bibliography and other acknowledgements3 Page

CHAPTER 1CHANCE VOUGHTThe early history of Vought Aeronautics is in part the biography of its founder - Chance MiltonVought, pioneer pilot, aeronautical engineer, and aircraft manufacturer whose company bore hisname.Chauncey Milton Vought* was born February 26, 1890, in New York City to the well-to-do andsocially accepted Vought family, known and respected for design and production of qualitysailing and power boats.Chance Vought's early education was in the New York City public school system. Upongraduation, he entered the Pratt Institute of Brooklyn, but transferred to New York Universityand later to the University of Pennsylvania in search of the best engineering courses.In 1910, he left school and was hired by Harold F. McCormick of McCormick Reapers. Workingin the Chicago office, Chance Vought soon became head of the Experimental DevelopmentDepartment. During his stay with McCormick, Chance Vought's keen interest in aviation greweven greater as McCormick was one of early aviation's enthusiastic supporters.In 1911, the Lillie Aviation Company opened a flying school at nearby Cicero Field. One of theirfirst students was Chance Vought who learned to fly at the controls of a Wright Brothers "VinFiz" biplane. Upon graduation, in August 1912, he received FAI License No. 156.*As a young man he signed himself as C. Milton Vought and then C. M. Vought before decidingon Chance.Chance Vought's redesign of an old Wright pusher-type aircraft into a more modern tractor-typeaircraft so impressed Max Lillie, star pupil and loyal advocate of the Wright Brothers andVoughtfs recent instructor, that he asked Vought to join the Lillie Aviation School as aeroengineer and pilot Chance Vought accepted the offer and also joined the Aero Club of Illinoiswhich had its headquarters at the Cicero Field.Leaving McCormick Reapers also meant that Chance Vought would have to leave the Chicagoarea as the Lillie Aviation School was moving to Fort Sam Houston, Texas, to assist in flighttraining of Army aviation personnel. During his stay in San Antonio, Chance Vought ofteninstructed student pilots and was appointed by the Aero Club of America to act as an officialobserver during any attempts to set aviation records at the San Antonio Field.In 1913, the Lillie Aviation School returned to Chicago and Cicero Field. When the Schoolbusiness began to decline,Chance Vought became consulting engineer for the Aero Club ofIllinois. Then late in 1913, showing his versatility, Chance Vought became editor of anAmerican aviation weekly magazine "Aero and Hydro." As editor, he learned of an opportunityto design an aircraft for William Mayo, president of the Mayo Radiator Works, a subsidiary ofthe Simplex Automobile Company, which was considering building an experimental aircraft.4 Page

Chance Vought became the design engineer for Mayo Radiator Works, and in 1914 the VoughtMayo-Simplex, the first aircraft completely designed by Chance Vought, made its appearance.So well had Vought designed his first aircraft that after 200 flights, many of which tested thelimits of the aircraft, not one single alteration to the original blueprint was found necessary.The Vought-Mayo-S implex aircraft was sold to the British as an advanced training plane. In1915, the Simplex Aircraft Company was formed to build more Vought-designed aircraft ByAugust 1915, two other Vought-designed military biplanes were being constructed; both weresingle-seat tractor-scouts with a design speed of 110 miles per hour.In the previous year, Chance Vought had also designed an aircraft for the Aero Club of Illinoisthat was to be an entry in the 1914Gordon Bennett Race. The race was later cancelled as a resultof the growing threat of war in Europe.When the Wright Company of Dayton, Ohio, merged with the Martin Company in 1915, theWright-Martin Company was formed. In 1916, the new, expanding company purchased theSimplex Aircraft Company from the Simplex Automobile Company.The former Simplex plant was to manufacture the Hispano-Suiza engine in the U. S., and ChanceVought was transferred to the Wright-Martin Dayton office to design a new trainer for thisengine. Vought's subsequent design became known as the famous Wright-Martin Model Vmilitary biplane, and saw service as a trainer with the British.When America entered World War I in February 1917, Chance Vought served as consultingengineer to the Bureau of Aircraft Production in Washington, D. C., and at the EngineeringDivision of the Army Air Corps at McCook Field, in Dayton, Ohio.During these years, Chance Vought married Miss Ena Lewis of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, whoasked only that Vought design the aircraft and not fly them. When Vought gave up flying toaccept his new responsibilities, his father-in-law, BirdseyeB. Lewis, offered to back ChanceVought in an aircraft company and put up the finances necessary for formation of the Lewis andVought Corporation. The new Company was officially formed on June 18, 1917.In 1918, the Bureau of Aircraft Production, under the leadership of John D. Ryan, asked the newLewis and Vought Company to build a training aircraft better than the British Avro. Six monthslater, the first Lewis-Vought aircraft, the VE-7, was finished.In 1922, the Lewis and Vought Corporation was dissolved and reformed as the Chance VoughtCorporation with Chance's father George, President.Chance Vought remained Chairman of the Board and his wife, Ena Lewis Vought, continued asthe Company's secretary-treasurer.By 1924, Vought had designed 12 different types of aircraft in nine years, and he was only 34years old. 1 n 1925 or 1926, Frederick Rentschler, an executive of Pratt & Whitney, askedVought's opinion of an aircooied engine. Vought's response was so enthusiastic that he spoke ofdesigning an aircraft around the new engine and encouraged Rentschler in this project, pointing5 Page

out that Admiral William A. Moffett of the U. S. Navy and his engine section head, CommanderEugene E. Wilson, liked the idea of private industry supplying new designs to the services. Soonafter came the development of the revolutionary air-cooled Pratt & Whitney Wasp engine whichappeared simultaneously with the first Vought Corsair.In July 1929, the Chance Vought Corporation was absorbed and made a subsidiary of the UnitedAircraft and Transport Corporation, bringing together such aircraft pioneering personalities asChance Vought, Frederick B. Rentschler, William E. Boeing, Thomas F. Hamilton, and Igor A.Sikorsky. , Recalling these years and others the former Navy Commander Eugene Wilson, who has been aPresident of both United Aircraft and Transport Corporation and Chance Vought Corporation,said this of Chance Vought:"He was one of the foremost figures in American aeronautics. A pioneer pilot, he was strikinglysuccessful, measured in terms of finance. He made outstanding contributions in the field ofdesign."Chance Vought loved the theatre and the life of New York. He watched the city's passing showwith amused tolerance, clearly recognizing the realities behind the scenes. Artistic by nature, heappreciated and loved fine technique in the shop, on the stage, or in sports. Frank and forceful inpersonality, he used picturesque language, particularly in exposition of hypocrisy and sham. Inconflict he quickly sensed maneuvering behind the lines and won his battles by direct attack, inwhich his disarming frankness exposed his opponent's weakness."A host of friends loved him for his personality and admired his genius.His closest friends had many proofs of his devotion and loyalty and were proud of his regard.Strong personal pride influenced his every act. He was that rare combination of outstandingability and colorful personality which remains intensely human and real. When he died ofsepticemia in Southampton, Long Island, July 25, 1930, he left a niche in American aviation lifewhich no one else could fill because there was none other like him. He was a man among men,loved and respected by his employees."THE COMPANY, ASTORIA, NEW YORKWhen the Lewis and Vought Corporation was formed in 1917, the facilities were located on thethird floor of a building that was manufacturing women's shoes. The building was the GarsideBuilding located on the corner of Webster and 7th Avenue, Astoria, New York. In 1918 theLewis and Vought Corporation transferred to better facilities in Long Island City, New York.Situated in Long Island City, New York, both the Lewis and Vought Corporation and itssuccessor, the Chance Vought Corporation, established prominent positions in the Americanaircraft industry as outstanding manufacturers of two-place advanced training and observationaircraft for the services.6 Page

Among these aircraft, the Navy two-seaters, especially designed for catapult from battleships andscout cruisers as well as for operation from aircraft carriers, were most widely associated withthe Vought name and reputation.THE VE SERIESThe first aircraft built by the new company was the Model VE-7 produced in 1918, and known asthe "Bluebird." It was an easy winner in the U. S. Army Aviation competition for trainingaircraft conducted that year. Comments made by aviation authorities of that period, and still onfile today, are sufficient proof of the esteem in which the first Vought air-craft were held by themen who flew them.Brigadier General William Mitchell, the famous first American prophet of air power, said: "ThisVought machine, a training type, has all of the air qualities of the single-seater. . . machines andwill out-maneuver the French Spad, the Nieuport, and the English SE-5".Lieutenant Colonel V. E. Clark, a former technical head of U.S. Army Aviation, declared: "TheVE-7 designed by the Chance M. Vought Company unquestionably is the finest training airplaneyet produced and the only airplane ever designed to be a real production job."The VE-7 was powered by the Hispano water-cooled engine. The aircraft construction wasentirely of wood, fabric covered.A number of VE-7s were delivered to the Army before the close of World War I and proved tobe one of the most popular and widely used two-seater advanced training aircraft. With amachine gun mounted on the fuselage ahead of the cockpit, the VE-7SF served as a single-seatfighter. On October 17, 1922, the first air takeoff from an aircraft carrier was made by a VE-7SFfrom the converted collier USS Langley. Navy contracts for the VE-7 were eventually so heavythat the Long Island City plant couldn't meet demanding schedules and many models were builtunder contract at the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia.A VE-8 single-seat fighter was tested at AAcCook Field, Dayton, Ohio, but proved too heavy foroperational effectiveness. Two VE-8 aircraft were built; one was a static aircraft and the otherwas the flight test aircraftThe Navy version for the VE-7 underwent such extensive modification for development as acatapult seaplane that it was redesignated the VE-9.The VE-9 model developed for the Navy was standardized for advanced training and gunnerypurposes. It was further developed into the convertible landing type and used as the originalcatapult aircraft of the Navy for observation and gunnery-spotting. When the USS Langley wascommissioned as the Navy's first aircraft carrier, it was equipped with VE-9s fitted with arrestinggear for deck landings.While the VE-9 was establishing records for reliability of operation and literally becoming theguinea pig for the proponents of carrier aviation, Chance Vought kept his engineers busydeveloping other new aircraft concepts. In 1919, Vought introduced his model VE-10flying boat.7 Page

It was a three-seater with many novel features. Developed as a postwar flying boat forsportsman, it was tested by the Navy for special purposes.THE MYSTERY AIRCRAFTThe "Mystery Aircraft11 has often been mistakingly identified as a Vought-designed aircraft.Although the Chance Vought Corporation did assist in its manufacture, it was not a Voughtdesign. In 1922, the Wright Aeronautical Corporation, one of the major builders of aircraftengines, produced to the orders of the Navy Department, an experimental monoplane which wasthe highest powered single-engined monoplane produced to that time. The aircraft was flown inthe 1922 Pulitzer Race, where it was labelled the Navy "Mystery," since its characteristics wereso carefully guarded.The Navy "Mystery" was built, mainly to the designs of the Naval Bureau of Aeronautics, by theWright Aeronautical Corporation in the factory occupied by the Chance Vought Corporation. Itwas intended as a flying laboratory for the new 650 horsepower Wright engine, to enable theNaval authorities to determine the aircraft's worth under the severe conditions of a high speedrace.The Navy-Wright, as the "Mystery" was later called, was a tractor monoplane which featured asmall auxiliary wing just above the landing gear, called a "sesquiplane."THE UO SERIES*In 1923, the Chance Vought Corporation produced a new model - the UO-1, a U. S. Navy twoplace observation aircraft equipped with a 220 horsepower Wright air-cooled engine, andconvertible to either a landplane or seaplane. Of wood and fabric construction, the UO-1 servedthe Navy with conspicuous success. It was one of the first aircraft to be catapulted from abattleship and was the first to be issued in quantity to the U. S. Fleet. Between 1923 and 1926,various models of the UO-1 were in production and were powered with the latest Wrightengines. One model, the UO-4, was manufactured for, and the first aircraft purchased by the U.S. Coast Guard.Developed as a replacement type for the VE series, the UO-1 was adopted by the U.S. Navy asthe exclusive two-seater seaplane equipment for the new catapult-equipped scout cruisers and thebattleships of the Fleet. It was also used for deck-landing work on the USS Langley. The U. S.Naval Reserve air stations received UO-ls for advanced flight operations and special training.The 15 first-class battleships of the battle fleets were each equipped with one or more UO-ls. Inaddition, two or more UO-ls were used aboard each of the new scout cruisers comprising theNavy's scouting fleets.In July 1929, the UO-1 became the first aircraft in the U. S. to hook onto a dirigible in flight.Transporting passengers to and from dirigibles was not an uncommon mission for the UO-1.Later, Curtis Sparrow-hawks were stowed inside the dirigibles which operated as aircraft carriersin the sky.8 Page

Variants of the UO-1 were produced between 1922 and the early 1930s. In January 1927, asingle-seat model appeared as the FU-1 training fighter. Ordered originally as the UO-3, themodel designation was changed to FU-1 to conform to the intended tactical use. Late in 1928, 18FU-ls were converted to two-seat FU-2 trainers and featured dual controls for better visibilityduring carrier operations.Powered with a Wright J-4 engine, the UO-1 landplane had a top speed of 134 miles per hour atsea level. It could reach an altitude of 8,600 feet in ten minutes and had a service ceiling of18,500 feet. Enough fuel was carried on board for a four-hour flight.THE 02U CORSAIRThe original Vought Corsair- the 02U-1- was designed and built for the Navy in 1926 and provedto be one of the most useful and versatile military aircraft ever produced. Convertible aslandplane, seaplane, or amphibians, the02U series aircraft gained a memorable spot in the historyof military aviation. They established four world's records, were exported to 13 countries, andwere the first aircraft ever used by an organized aircraft unit to conduct an independent andunsupported attack against fortified positions.The incident took place at Chipote, Nicaragua in 1928. Here is the report filed by Major R. E.Rowel I, Commander of the U.S. Marine Air Squadrons: ".three days after they (Corsairs)arrived,we had them over the front. They were a great success from the beginning. I have flownnothing else since they came. I have been hit five times by Sandino (the rebel commander) andonce by a turkey buzzard, but the little ship still puts out. .Sandino had from 1,000to 1,500 men,well armed and well led, dug in on an immense mountain over 3,000 feet high. They had plentyof machine guns and plenty of ammunition and it would have taken a full regiment of troops tocarry the position and we would have suffered severe casualties in so doing. We had only fourCorsairs available when I received the order to attack the position. We went after them withfragmentation and fifty-pound bombs, fixed and flexible guns, and then finished them withinfantry hand grenades. I only planned the first attack as a preliminary affair, believing that thestrength of the enemy and the small number of planes would require at least three attacks tofinish the job. We made a swift approach from an unexpected direction, attacking in twocolumns without reconnoitering. I led the attack on the right flank and was met by a barrage ofincendiary sky rockets. We came down with the front guns wide open and opened up with lightbombs from about 600 feet. The rifle and machine gun fire / was heavy and most of us stoppedsome bullets. The planes following came in with the heavier bombs. After the second dive theenemy broke cover and there was a wild stampede. After that, the party was wild and furious,and when we got through the place was badly messed up. On the following day, the mountainwas devoid of bandits. According to Sandino!s own statement, his entire army deserted himexcept for about 150 of his old reliables. It all sounds like a fantastic story, but is neverthelesstrue."As a result of a later incident in the Nicaraguan Campaign, the first Medal of Honor to a Marinepilot was awarded Lt. C. F. Schilt for "repeatedly landing in the midst of enemy fire to evacuatewounded ground forces. " Lt. Schilt!s evacuation of 18 seriously wounded troops from Quilali,Nicaragua, took ten landings into a quickly prepared and very rough ; field that was only 70 feetwide and 300 feet long. The landings and the takeoffs were all under continuous fire from heavy9 Page

machine guns., Schilt's comment, "Only a Corsair could do it!", was to be echoed in the yearsahead.The Vought 02U-1 was the first service aircraft to use the 425 horsepower Pratt & WhitneyWasp air-cooled engine.Several models of the early Corsair were developed. One, the 02U-2, was a jack-of-all-trades. Ithad a tactical flexibility which enabled it to be converted readily, almost overnight, to performnumerous functions. It could take off from an aircraft carrier as a defensive fighter; it could becatapulted from battleships and cruisers as an amphibian; and could land on the carriers forreservicing. I