Bowman. First flown in 1940, the prototype Vought F4U Corsair instantly became the fastest fighter in the world and the fastest U.S. aircraft of any description. Powered by a huge 18-cylinder Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp engine, driving an enormous 13 feet 4 inch propeller, the first Corsairs were capable of 417mph. This figure would rise to nearly 450mph in later versions. Production began in 1941, not only by Vought but also by Goodyear and Brewster, and the F4U entered service with the US Navy in September 1942. The aircraft subsequently came to be extensively used from land and sea by the U.S. Marines, Royal Navy, and Royal New Zealand Air Force. Famous squadrons like VMF-214 "Black Sheep" and VF-17 "Jolly Rogers," along with many others, maintained total ascendancy over the Japanese for the rest of the war - a remarkable achievement for a single type. 128 pages, 120 photos, 7½"x 9½", softcover.