Aircraft Resource Center


Super Kingfisher  

by Bill Harr


Silly Week 2007

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It is mid 1940. FDR has instructed the Department of Defense to upgrade all military hardware in the event that the U.S. gets involved in the war. The Navy begins to upgrade all aircraft, including those used for reconnaissance. It is known at this time that the Navy's primary shipboard reconnaissance aircraft, the OS2U kingfisher is approaching obsolescence. Having manufactured the Kingfisher, Vought Corp. initiates the production of an aircraft far superior to the Kingfisher in every aspect.

The XF4U-1S "Super Kingfisher" is an entirely new design based on Vought's F4U-1 Corsair that is now entering production. The XF4U-1S is a Corsair airframe modified for catapult deployment from battleships and large cruisers. The landing gear is deleted and replaced with two large pontoon floats. Without the need for a tail wheel an additional tailfin is added to the bottom of the aircraft to improve vertical handling and yaw. The Super Kingfisher is powered by a massive Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18 radial engine, generating 2100 HP. With a much improved power to weight ratio the Super Kingfisher can easily carry a Mark -IX torpedo or 2000 lbs of bombs, giving the Super kingfisher the added punch of an attack aircraft. Additionally, The XF4U-1S carries two lethal wing mounted 20mm canons. The XF4U-1s is equipped with a large four blade propeller. This prop will not become standard on the Corsair until the introduction of the F4U-4 in 1944.

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The XF4U-1S is capable of speeds in excess of 400 mph, making it the fastest reconnaissance aircraft of World War II. However, due to the Navy's dire need for the F4U Corsair fighter, production of the Super Kingfisher is halted, leaving the OS2U kingfisher to soldier on for the duration of the conflict. Plans to resurrect the Super Kingfisher after the war's end are scrapped entirely with the advent of the shipboard helicopter.


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Photos and text by Bill Harr

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