You are in an F4U Corsair, turning toward the carrier and preparing all the controls for a night carrier landing. You are dive-bombing the Japanese battleship Yamato. You are flying in the clouds on instruments -- and they seem to be lying to you. You are in combat and watch your best friend get shot down...
These are just a few of the stories in this book, written by the Corsair pilots who lived to tell the tales. All of these stories are true to the writers best recollections and reference material, such as pilot logbooks, squadron history, and accident reports.
If youve ever flown a bent wing Corsair, youll find stories here that will bring back memories, and you probably have your own true tales of trial and terror!
Or perhaps youre one of the many wannabees that were born too late to fly the World War II warbirds, and youd like to experience some vicarious thrills by reading about those who did.
The stories in this book -- all written by me or former Corsair pilots I personally know -- are bits and pieces of recollections from World War II and the Korean War period, when the Chance-Vought F4U and Goodyear FG Corsairs were considered the premier propeller-driven fighters and attack aircraft. Some Corsair history can be found in APPENDIX B.
Each of these stories is relatively stand-alone, not depending on previous stories, so some facts may be repeated. No particular chronological sequence is used, so you can pick up the book, flip it open and read any tale without wondering if youve missed an important earlier fact.
And if you like to read accident reports, there are four of my own (following Chapters 1 and 13), and 19 others in APPENDIX A, all from my Navy fighter squadron (VF-14 Tophatters) in the two years I was with them -- which gives you an idea of how treacherous the Corsair could be!
Then, if you are into electronics or computers and want a break from Trial and Terror! you might find some humor in APPENDIX C -- which has nothing whatever to do with Corsairs or flying!
Fred Crash Blechman
West Hills, California, November 1998