F4U Production in Indiana?

Tankerdude

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8
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Dec 31, 2022
I was born in 1947 in Evansville, Indiana. I believe my parents lived there from 1942 or so; my older sister was born there. My mother once told me that she sewed the fabric on F4U planes. My father mentioned being injured when an engine fell off a fork lift and injured him. It is common now for an aircraft to be made comprising a lot of subsystems made by various companies, but all of the pictures I see of F4U assembly appears to be the entire aircraft was build in one place. Of course the F4U had fabric folding wings, which she would have only known if she had been involved, so always assumed there was a factory in Evansville, but cannot find any evidence of that. Maybe Terra Haute, but that is 100 miles from Evansville and I really doubt they have 200 miles a day commute.

Would greatly appreciate anything regarding any WWII aircraft production in Evansville.
 

Tankerdude

Recruit
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Dec 31, 2022
Well, decided to search more broadly and discovered there was aircraft production in Evansville, but was the P-47, not the F4U. Also, the P-47 was all-metal except for the fabric horizontal tail surface. Production of the P-47 was touted as saving the Evansville economy. So guess I'm done, thanks for your attention.
 

Geoffrey Sinclair

Senior Airman
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Sep 30, 2021
Tried to see if I had anything on the suppliers to Vought for the Corsair but nothing, the WWII US aviation production system was quite dispersed. Things like supplying the Willow Run B-24 plant were 965 subcontractors located in 287 cities in 38 states gives an idea of the complexity involved in making World War II aircraft, and that what are often termed aircraft factories were mostly assembly plants. Most aircraft had fabric covered control surfaces and the Corsair had fabric covered outer wing panels. Republic had a major P-47 assembly plant at Evansville.

Unfortunately most subcontractors tend to be only mentioned in government reports when they do something good or bad. Like for example Vultee in Nashville, Tennessee reporting the failure of Intercontinental Aircraft of Miami, Florida to deliver inner wings on schedule will retard deliveries over the next sixty days. It is quite possible your mother worked for a subcontractor to Vought or even a supplier to the subcontractor and your father worked for Republic or someone shipping the engines.

Chance Vought at Stratford 45 to 50% of total worker hours per aircraft was by subcontractors. Goodyear slightly higher. Evansville was 65%
 

Tankerdude

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Dec 31, 2022
A wider answer than I was looking for; thanks for your research. I mostly just wanted to validate my memory of my Mom sewing fabric on an aircraft wing. I knew the Corsair folding wings were fabric so assume that to be the one. Turns out the Thunderbolt, though only the tail, had fabric and was indeed put together in Evansfille.

Not sure I will contribute much here. I am an aeronautical engineer and as a student engineer worked with the X-15, XB-70, and especially the M2-F2 at NASA Edwards so I have a lot of information but of a different era. I knew the X-1 crew chief and the inventor of the mach meter, but obviously nothing about WWII aircraft. However, I'll pass along that there was a very long debate as to if a prop-driven aircraft could or did break mach 1. Many swore they heard the boom of a prop aircraft over Rogers Dry Lake post-war. The consensus is that a prop aircraft cannot break the sound barrier, even at full power in a straight down dive, but that the propeller tips could, which would produce a boom.
 

tomo pauk

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Not sure I will contribute much here. I am an aeronautical engineer and as a student engineer worked with the X-15, XB-70, and especially the M2-F2 at NASA Edwards so I have a lot of information but of a different era. I knew the X-1 crew chief and the inventor of the mach meter, but obviously nothing about WWII aircraft.

I'd say that us forumites will appreciate any feedback you can provide :)
There are also the post-war and modern sections of the forums (wink, wink).
 

SaparotRob

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Not sure I will contribute much here. I am an aeronautical engineer and as a student engineer worked with the X-15, XB-70, and especially the M2-F2 at NASA Edwards so I have a lot of information but of a different era. I knew the X-1 crew chief and the inventor of the mach meter, but obviously nothing about WWII aircraft.
Welcome to the Forum. We'd love to hear about all the the aircraft you mentioned. We'd love to hear all stories about aeronautical and aerospace development.
Not knowing anything is my claim to fame here.
 

Conslaw

Senior Airman
606
422
Jan 22, 2009
Indianapolis, Indiana USA
Nearly half of all P-47s were built in Evansville, (The plant was built in a matter of months to build the P-47.) After the war, the plant was taken over by the Whirlpool corporation, and they made refrigerators there. Whirlpool largely moved its manufacturing overseas and closed the plant about 2010. It was subsequently turned into an office park called Park-41, subletting space to multiple tenants.
 

Tankerdude

Recruit
8
24
Dec 31, 2022
Wow, lots of responders. Here are my experiences that some may find interesting:

  • An eye witness to the Bruce Peterson M2-F2 crash, which is the opening video on "The Six Million Dollar Man." Little known fact: they also spliced in a few seconds of the HL-10, which was also a lifting body, but not the same shape.
  • Bruce survived and even flew again with one eye (eyelid ripped off, then infection killed the eye.) I have a piece of the honeycomb elevon from the crash with signatures from the three guys who flew it. But many stories of that crowd after the book / movie. Nearly all are dead now. I am 76.
  • If you are into personalities, I spent a total of 18 months at Dreyden FRC hanging with the pilots and operations types. Heard many of the stories the appeared in "The Right Stuff" but never met Armstrong myself.
  • Had a drink with Chuck Yeager years later; I was a KC-135 pilot in Viet Nam era.
  • Some unpublished information about the fatal X-15 crash by Mike Adams.
  • Almost scored the walnut wind tunnel model of the B-17. Man, I came "this close."

Should I post these at a different forum? I assume so.
 

John D. Voss

Airman
45
37
Aug 10, 2016
Keep in mind that the Corsair was produced in THREE different locations: Strattford, CT; Akron, OH and Warminster, PA. As commented above there were many suppliers producing not only parts but complete subassemblies e.g, tail sections, outer wings, etc. My father worked on the A-20 Havoc line in Santa Monica and commented that some of fuselage subsections were produced by "Pullman".... the railroad car firm. Northrop Aircraft Co produced wings for the PBY Catalina, etc, etc..

JDV
www.fuselagecodes.com
 

Tankerdude

Recruit
8
24
Dec 31, 2022
Favorite story: First day as a co-op student (Univ of Illinois) at Edwards FRC (I think the name Dryden came latter), I took a bus from Lancaster, where many of the civilians lived. The bus drove by a fenced off area where the wreckage of the XB-70, which killed Joe Walker (midair; they think Joe had a heart attack and slid into the '70); then past the fenced in wreckage of the delivery of the first FB-111 (landed with wings swept back, not out), so a bit of a concern to a new guy. As we went by some hangars there were many tall trucks parked around the area. I was told that was to shield the SR-71 "secret" plane from view. Later that day, USAF sky cops walked into the NASA office area and dropped all the shades and guarded them for about 20 minutes. I was told "They must be towing a Black Bird to North Base", the more secure area of Edwards. This was in January 1967. Then in April, for Armed Forces Day, there was an SR-71 on the ramp, with a portable stair case up to the cockpit where anyone could go but they had a Post-It note over the mach meter. Dozens of people walking all around taking pictures. There is a rumor I cannot track down that the SR-71 was originally designated the RS-71 but that President Johnson announced it as the SR-71 at the press announcement, so his error stuck. Never have been able to confirm or deny it.f

Then the gummit went after Revel for making a too much to scale model and claimed they must have received stolen plans to make it so accurately. Revel went in with dozens of photographs from Aviation Week And Space Technology and the calculations made from them to produce the model.
 

FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
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tomo pauk

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I'm a man of many flaws.
Spotting an good-looking member of the opposite sex, and spotting a man/woman that can contribute to this forum are not among these flaws. Thank you, T Tankerdude :)
 

Tankerdude

Recruit
8
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Dec 31, 2022
FlyboyJ, many thanks for this. I never worked on it, but my co-op roommate stayed on as a NASA engineer when he graduated and was the project manager when USAF gave a 71 to NASA at the end of their program. He experimented with putting tiny jets onto the upper / lower surfaces, affecting the boundary layer, to control instead of moving surfaces. I'm sending him your report tonight.
 

FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
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Apr 9, 2005
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FlyboyJ, many thanks for this. I never worked on it, but my co-op roommate stayed on as a NASA engineer when he graduated and was the project manager when USAF gave a 71 to NASA at the end of their program. He experimented with putting tiny jets onto the upper / lower surfaces, affecting the boundary layer, to control instead of moving surfaces. I'm sending him your report tonight.
I briefly worked around SR-71 and U-2 components early in my career when the USAF were pulling some of them out of mothballs.
 

Tankerdude

Recruit
8
24
Dec 31, 2022
I sat at Point 1 in a KC-135 at Kadena Air Base (Okinawa) in the 70s. There was a wing of them there. The 71 took off in front of us and half way down he rotated to true vertical and just disappeared like a doggone rocket. The JP6 had such a high flash point you could flip a cigarette into a puddle (plane leaked like crazy due to thermal effects when cool) and it would not ignite. Some KC-135s had separate tanks for the JP6, different tanks than regular tanker. They learned the hard way that the tail tank should be emptied every flight of the few pounds of JP7 in there, else it would grow alge.

JP7 I think now.
 
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