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Sunday, November 2, 2014

V-354 Two PlaceTrainer

     In late 1945, the concept of a Two Place Trainer version of the F4U was in discussion between Vought and the Bureau of Aeronautics. The potential program was given a Vought number of V-354.

The trainer is a conversion of the F4U-1D from a single place to two place aircraft. The airframes converted would be from surplus US Navy stocks, there would be no new build airframes. By late January 1946 the Navy had ordered 50 F4U-1Ds held for possible use in the program. 

To convert a F4U-1D into a Two Place Trainer the fuselage front section would be exchanged for one containing two full sized cockpits. The single large fuel cell would be traded for four smaller fuel cells. The new fuel cells would be located under the cockpits (2) and one each in the outer wing panels. The outer wing fuel cells would displace two of the machine guns and ammunition from each wing leaving the aircraft with only two guns, one in each wing. The aircraft would retain full arresting and catapulting provisions to support aircraft carrier operations. Lastly, the V-354 would retain the same engine, bomb and rocket provisions as a standard F4U-1D.

Money was approved for the conversion of one aircraft for a mock-up and in May 1946 it was inspected and approved. 

Money was allocated for the conversions in July 1946. It was also determined that with the current level of engineering work on the V-346 (Cutlass) there was no capacity in-house to take on the Corsair Trainer conversions. 

The Navy department attempted to have the work performed by Naval Aircraft Factory or possibly Goodyear Aircraft. Eventually it was decided to obtain a proposal from Edo Aircraft that had sufficient capacity at the time to accomplish the project.

As Edo was preparing the proposal to perform the engineering work and manufacturing of two prototypes in mid August 1946, the feeling was the current spending reductions and a tight budget from President Truman might have a negative affect on the project.

By early December 1946 the project was cancelled due to a slashing of Navy Department funding. The Navy retained interest but it was gradually shifting to a two seat jet aircraft instead of the propeller driven Corsair.

As a result, there was only a mock-up of the Corsair Two Place Trainer ever assembled.

Reference material from the Vought Aircraft Historic Foundation Archives, National Archives RG72

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