…Unique Systems Knowledge…


Even normal operations in a warbird require procedures and systems knowledge you don’t see on a Cessna or Columbia. “Every power change in a fighter requires rudder trim. You use rudder trim more than elevator trim on these airplanes,” Rozendaal advises. We learned that climbing into the Corsair is complex enough; put your left foot on a slot in the flap, left hand to a slot in the fuselage, right foot to a hidden step in the wing, left foot up to that same step, and then swing your legs over and into the cockpit. For everyone’s sake, don’t slip while you do this. (The cockpit is ten feet off the ground.) Otherwise, Rozendaal says of the Corsair: “It’s a straightforward airplane to fly.”

What was it like to fly a Corsair for the first time? “Once I finally got up the nerve to move the stick on the Corsair, I realized it was just like a big RV-4.” Rozendaal owns an RV-4 so he felt right at home. “The Hellcat flies like a Cub — just look at that big, fat wing … it’s an honest, forgiving airplane. But it isn’t fast … Navy airplanes didn’t have to be fast. They just had to get above the ships and wait for the enemy to come to them.” On better days, they’d later have to get stopped on a ship. Super Corsairs were Navy planes designed to climb fast, though. The “Super” part refers to the 3000-plus-horsepower 28-cylinder R-4360 up front. The engine has seven magnetos on a rotary switch to help diagnose a problem. It idles with the prop at almost zero pitch since any more pitch sends the Super Corsair taxiing. Only 10 of them were built as Kamikaze killers. “It could still win a time-to-climb [contest] in its class,” Rozendaal opines.