An Aeronautical Engineer's View….The Vought F4U Corsair and its Contemporaries

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Review Author(s)
Book Author(s)
Thomas Brinkman
Provided by: Thomas Brinkman
Past edition and current edition covers

Editor: This review updated 24 July 2011 with book author's e-mail address corrected

This is the 6th edition of this publication, published in 2010 and printed in May 2011. I reviewed the 5th Edition, published in January 2009. For those of you who may have missed the previous review I will include some of the original comments in this updated review.

When the previous An Aeronautical Engineer’s View….The Vought F4U Corsair and its Contemporaries first arrived for my review I scanned through the pages and the only picture I found was that of the author. I need reference pictures, lots of pictures, of the Corsair, wheel wells, the cockpit, details, markings and so on. I thrive on line drawings. Nonetheless I had an obligation to review the publication, and the only way to do that was to read it.

This publication is in a soft cover, 8 ½” by 11”, twelve chapters, and a 98 page format, increased from the previous 75 pages. The revised cover has color plans and side views of the recognizable P-38 Lightning, P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang, F6F Hellcat and a head-on view of the F4U Corsair. The revised cover is more striking than the previous publication, and borders on having eye candy appeal. This recent publication has a more polished appearance. In addition, the author has included several of his personal aircraft and aircraft model images in the appendix section.


The author addresses the design criterion and development of the United States 2nd generation fighters of World War II. Today, most, if not all, modern aircraft are designed with a computer, along with flight simulations to address flight characteristics. Many are assisted in actual flight by computers (look as the B-2: could not fly without computers). The “modern” aircraft designed in the late 30’s were designed by guys with brush cuts, wing tip shoes, white socks, slide rules and pocket protectors. Does anyone know what a slide rule is, andhow to use it?? The test pilots that flew their planes for the first time put their fate in the hands of the engineers and the technology available at the time.

This publication contains many unknown (to me at least) fascinating and interesting facts about the United States’ 2ndgeneration fighters. These are the aircraft that many of us love and enjoy reproducing in modeling form. Although the Corsair is the focus of this effort, the author also offers some insight into the other major USAAF and Navy, the Supermarine Spitfire, the Mitsubishi Zero and The Messerschmitt Bf-109. Regarding the Corsair, the large propeller (13’-4” diameter) required the vertical fin to be offset two degrees to the left, one wing was slightly shorter than the other, and the dihedral of one wing was slightly less. The Corsair production run was eleven years. I knew about none of this.

The “slowest” Corsair was the prototype at 405 mph (!!) and the fastest was the F4U-5 at 469 mph. Climb rates for the various aircraft, as well as performance at altitudes are discussed.

What makes an aircraft great or not so great? What allowed the Royal Navy to utilize the Corsair on their carriers long before the US Navy? What were some of the flight characteristics? What modifications were made to improve the design? Read the book to find out.


When I read the author’s credentials my first thought was “Man, is this going to be dull and boring!!” It took me about four hours to read the book, and that was in one hour stretches as time permitted. It was not dull and boring at all, but rather quite informative. There is some very interesting information contained within the pages of this publication. The author’s writing style is easy to read, and when technical terms are used an explanation is offered to help with the reader understanding of the subject. There is no doubt the author did his homework.

My earlier criticism was the lack of reference photos and line drawings for some of the lesser known or recognized features and details for the aircraft. This current issue includes several of the authors own images from the Wanaka NZ International Air Shows from recent years. Included are many real aircraft and the author’s models.

This publication is loaded with very interesting facts and information from cover-to-cover. Boring and dull? Not at all! Recommended reading for those who are interested in learning more of the technical details about the design, development, attributes and short-comings of the second generation war planes of the United States during World War II this publication offers some interesting reading.

My review copy was signed by the author. Thanks to Thomas Brinkman for the opportunity to re-review this publication, an obvious true labor of love. If those modelers with inclinations toward the more technical and engineering aspects of World War II aircraft who want to know more about the F4U Corsair this is the book for them.

Copies may be obtained directly from the author, Tom Brinkman at Or, contact the author for a list of other sources for this book. Those of you that visit the Oshkosh Air Venture Show will find Tom Brinkman offering seminars and book signings.

Recommended for sure!


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