1. #1
    Another question. Since the Hellcat and Corsair used the same engine, why did the Corsair require so much more maintenance? I read the Hellcat averaged 90% operational availability while the Corsair averaged only 60-70%.
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  2. #2
    Initially they did not have the same engines. The Hellcat had the R-2600 (1700 HP) engine. While the Corsair had the R-2800 (2100 HP engine). The Hellcat later was fitted with a 2000 HP R-2800 engine.

    I would imagine the difference would have to do on how well the engine was cooled and the environment it worked in. The Corsair was mostly land based on unimproved airstrips. I would imagine breathing all that sand etc was not too good for the engine.
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  3. #3
    Another thing to consider is that Corsair's flying from land bases not only had to deal with dust and debris, but their crews were overworked, hot, sick, and plagued by bugs until they started doing that DDT stuff. Since Hellcats saw more action from carriers than from land basese, they were being serviced by well fed, healthy mechanics who were far less likely to come under attack at random times and who could more easily work through the night.
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  4. #4
    SkyChimp's Avatar Senior Member
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    Originally posted by AFSG_Bulldog:
    Initially they did not have the same engines. The Hellcat had the R-2600 (1700 HP) engine. While the Corsair had the R-2800 (2100 HP engine). The Hellcat later was fitted with a 2000 HP R-2800 engine.

    I would imagine the difference would have to do on how well the engine was cooled and the environment it worked in. The Corsair was mostly land based on unimproved airstrips. I would imagine breathing all that sand etc was not too good for the engine.
    Only the first prototype Hellcate had the R-2600. All production planes had the P&W R-2800

    The Hellcat had the R-2800-10 and the Corsair had the R-2800-8. The only notable difference was that the -8 engine had updraft carburation, the -10 had downdraft carburation.
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  5. #5
    the -8 (Corsair's) updraft carburation was fed via a dual-intercooled second stage blower the Hellcat ( -10) didn't have. You can't leave that little tidbit out . . .


    -8 : 2000hp takeoff, 1650hp @ 21000
    -10: 2000hp takeoff, 1650hp @ 25000
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  6. #6
    horseback's Avatar Senior Member
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    It wasn't so much the Corsair engine as the Corsair itself. Vought was notorious for innovative designs; on the one hand, you get the latest and greatest; on the other hand, sometimes the latest and greatest doesn't quite work the way you imagined it.

    My maternal grandfather built FG-1s for Goodyear, and he always claimed that they (Goodyear) fixed half the engineering goofs that Vought missed in the initial design and production. That may have been company pride talking, but the fact was that the Corsair did not achieve full maturity until the F4U-4 design.

    The Hellcat, on the other hand, was easier to fly and master in the air, easier to maintain, and was essentially complete the day the first F6F-3 rolled off the production line. The improvements to the -5 Hellcat were mostly an improved engine from Pratt & Whitney, spring-tab ailerons and zero length rocket launching stubs, all developed outside of Grumman.

    Obviously, Grumman's design and production engineering staffs worked together a bit better than Vought's.

    cheers

    horseback
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  7. #7
    stansdds's Avatar Senior Member
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    The Corsair was a more complex design and you also have to remember that the Corsair operated from Pacific island bases. The runways were almost always made of crushed coral. Coral dust is very abrasive and would have been sucked into the engines and accelerated the normal wear processes. Resupplying island bases could also be spotty, so you had ground crews stripping used parts off of damaged Corsairs to keep the airworthy units flying. Used parts are just that, used, and may have little life remaining. All of this will combine to make for a poor record of flyable aircraft.
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  8. #8
    Although island atmospherics, support, and a flight line less secure / likely operating under greater threat certainly must all add to the difference, I would agree with Horseback's comment as the most significant contributor to the aircraft availability disparity:

    "It wasn't so much the Corsair engine as the Corsair itself. Vought was notorious for innovative designs; on the one hand, you get the latest and greatest; on the other hand, sometimes the latest and greatest doesn't quite work the way you imagined it."

    That is to say that the Corsair nose was pretty much WRAPPED tight around that P&W making any maintenance that much more of a knuckle buster for the mechanic in tighter areas with less access. This of course was done in the interest of performance - but there is a hidden trade off, and that is maintainability, which translates into dispatchability.
    This factor often remains overlooked in modern aircraft today.

    IMO the greatest contributor to the maintenance disparity was that the Hellcat was preceded by the Wildcat.
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  9. #9
    Oh, about those island bases . . . don't forget you can't groundloop on a carrier (or, for that matter, in the game). The pictures I recall of Corsairs in land base wrecking yards were almost always groundloop victims. Maybe many were battle-damage induced groundloops but this was a land-base operational factor that probably wasn't mitigated by carrier landing accidents.


    Been flyin tailwheels for 28 years.
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  10. #10
    R_Target's Avatar Senior Member
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    In Barret Tillman's Hellcat book it's noted that land-based Hellcats in the Solomon Islands had a higher in-commision rate that the Corsair also.
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