Aircraft Comparison By

P-51 Mustang vs F4U Corsair

The P-51 versus the F4U Corsair: World War II’s two great fighter planes. Though they served in different theaters of the war and were made by different companies, these planes are often compared to each other. Here we will look at their specs and see how they compare.

Aircraft: North American P-51 Mustang Vought F4U Corsair
North American P 51 Mustang INA Macon Belle
Chance Vought F4U 4 Corsair
Country: United States United States
Manufactured: from: 1940 to: 1945 from: 1942 to: 1953
Price: $0.59 million $ million
Avionics: - -
Engine: 1x Packard (Rolls Royce) V-1650-7 Merlin 1x Pratt & Whitney R-2800-18W Radial Engine
Engine Type: Piston other: Other
Power: 1,720 horsepower 2,400 horsepower
Max Cruise Speed: 383 knots
709 Km/h
388 knots
719 Km/h
Approach Speed (Vref): 87 knots 77 knots
Travel Range: 1,434 Nautical Miles
2,656 Kilometers
880 Nautical Miles
1,630 Kilometers
Fuel Economy: - -
Service Ceiling: 41,900 feet 41,500 feet
Rate of Climb: 3200 feet / minute
16.26metre / second
4360 feet / minute
22.15metre / second
Take Off Distance: 366 metre
1,200.77 feet
220 metre
721.78 feet
Landing Distance: 457 metre
1,499.33 feet
232 metre
761.15 feet
Max Take Off Weight: 5,490 Kg
12,103 lbs
6,592 Kg
14,533 lbs
Max Landing Weight: 5,490 Kg
12,103 lbs
Max Payload: 910 Kg
2,006 lbs
2,000 Kg
4,409 lbs
Fuel Tank Capacity: 269 gallon
1,018 litre
534 gallon
2,021 litre
Baggage Volume: - -
Seats - Economy: 1 seats 1 seats
Seats - Business Class: - -
Seats - First Class: - -
Cabin Height: - -
Cabin Width: - -
Cabin Length: - -
Exterior Length: 9.8 metre
32.15 feet
10.26 metre
33.66 feet
Tail Height: 4.08 metre - 13.39 feet 4.5 metre - 14.76 feet
Fuselage Diameter: 0.9 metre
2.95 feet
1.3 metre
4.27 feet
Wing Span / Rotor Diameter: 11.28 metre
37.01 feet
12.5 metre
41.01 feet
Wing Tips: No Winglets No Winglets
More Info: North American P-51 Mustang Vought F4U Corsair
Data presented is for entertainment purposes and should not be used operationally.

North American P-51 Mustang

The P-51 Mustang was one of World War II’s most successful fighter planes. Its sleek design and powerful engine allowed it to soar above enemy planes, quickly taking them down with its significant firepower.

But what made the P-51 stand out was its ability to escort bomber planes deep into enemy territory. Previous fighter planes did not have enough fuel capacity for such long missions, but adding drop tanks to the P-51 solved this issue.

The P-51’s impressive range and speed made it a valuable asset in Europe and the Pacific theater, leading to widespread use by Allied forces. Its effectiveness in combat even led to some German pilots having a $5,000 bounty placed on any downed P-51 pilot.

Years after the war, the P-51 continues to be regarded as one of the best fighter planes in history.

Why was the P-51 developed and built?

The P-51 Mustang was developed in response to the growing need for a capable bomber escort during World War II. The aircraft utilized a reliable engine and had internal space for a larger fuel tank, enabling it to accompany bombers on long-range missions.

This became increasingly important as Allied forces began bombing campaigns targeting Germany’s industrial centers. Without fighter escorts, bombers were vulnerable to attack from enemy fighters. The P-51 proved the perfect solution, demonstrating exceptional performance in air-to-air combat and ground attack missions.

Its success in battle earned it the name “the deadliest fighter of World War II” by historian and aircraft expert Richard P.Hallion.

What purpose did the P-51 serve?

There are several purposes that the P-51 Mustang served during its time. One of the most important was acting as a bomber escort, providing cover for the bombers and engaging enemy fighters.

The P-51 was also used in ground attack missions, utilizing its powerful armament to take out enemy targets on the ground. In addition, the P-51 served as a reconnaissance plane, gathering information on enemy positions and activity.

The aircraft continued to be used by the US Air Force until the late 1950s, when it was finally retired from active service. Even today, the P-51 remains a popular choice for private collectors and vintage aircraft enthusiasts.

Vought F4U Corsair

The F4U Corsair first took flight in December 1942 and quickly became a valuable asset to the United States Navy and Marine Corps during World War II. With its ability to carry significant explosive ordnance, the F4U served as both a fighter and bomber, effectively supporting ground troops in combat.

The F4U’s distinctive inverted gullwing design improved stability during high-speed maneuvers and allowed for more enormous wings with greater fuel capacity and extended range. In addition, the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation created a variant of the Corsair known as the F2G that was optimized for air races and aerobatic displays.

Despite its retirement from active military service in the 1960s, the legacy of the F4U Corsair lives on through restored and actively flown models at air shows across the country.

Why was the F4U developed and built?

The F4U Corsair was first developed for the United States Navy in 1938 as a carrier-based fighter plane. It initially had significant design issues, including a long nose that blocked visibility for the pilot.

However, it proved an incredibly effective fighter plane and was ultimately adopted by the Navy, Marine Corps, and even several Allied nations during World War II. Its unique inverted gull wing design allowed for shorter takeoff distances on aircraft carriers, making it well-suited for naval battles.

It also proved to be highly maneuverable in dogfights with enemy planes. The F4U continued to see use in the Korean War and even played a role in the Vietnam War before retiring in 1968.

Despite its initial flaws, the F4U Corsair’s capabilities earned it a reputation as one of the best fighters of World War II.

What purpose did the F4U serve?

The F4U Corsair served a variety of purposes during its time in service. It was primarily used as a fighter plane, engaging enemy aircraft in dogfights. It was also used as a bomber, supporting ground troops with its large bomb load. In addition, the F4U served as a recon plane, gathering information on enemy activity.

The Corsair continued to see use in the Korean War and even played a role in the Vietnam War before retiring in 1968. Even today, restored and actively flown models of the F4U can be seen at air shows across the country.

How are the P-51 and F-4U different?

In terms of appearance, the P-51 and F-4U are strikingly different. The P-51 is sleek and slender, with a long nose and short wings. The F-4U, on the other hand, is bulkier and more muscular, with its iconic inverted gull wing design.

But these variations go beyond mere aesthetics – they also serve functional purposes.

The P-51’s longer nose allowed for better aerodynamic performance at high speeds, making it a formidable opponent in dogfights during World War II. Meanwhile, the F-4U’s gull-wing design allowed for shorter takeoff distances on aircraft carriers, making it a valuable asset in naval battles during the Korean War. Regarding engine power, the P-51 had a single Merlin engine, while the F-4U had two Pratt & Whitney engines.

And although both could carry an impressive array of weapons, the F-4U had an additional cannon mounted beneath its hood – giving it even more firepower than its counterpart.

Ultimately, each aircraft served its purpose effectively in different theaters and conflicts, showcasing the value of diversity in military tactics and technology.

How are the P-51 and F4U similar?

The P-51 and F4U are American fighter planes from the World War II era.

Both were designed for high speed and maneuverability in aerial combat, with the F-4U being a slight edge in speed and the P-51 having a more extended range due to its ability to carry extra fuel in its external drop tanks.

Both planes were used extensively by the United States Navy, Army Air Forces, and other allied nations.

In addition, both planes had notable successes against enemy forces during the war, with the P-51’s escort missions over Germany playing a significant role in Allied victory and the F-4U’s prowess as a ground attack aircraft helping turn the tide in battles such as Guadalcanal.

What’s better about the P-51?

One of the main differences between the P-51 and other airplanes is:

Laminar flow wing:

It uses a laminar flow wing. This wing type is engineered to have an extremely smooth surface, reducing drag and allowing for faster flying speeds.


Regarding development and urban planning, the P-51 zoning designation has some clear advantages over traditional single-use zoning. P-51 allows for mixed-use buildings, where commercial and residential units can exist within the same structure. This maximizes space in densely populated areas and encourages walkability by providing residents with immediate access to stores, restaurants, and other amenities.


The P-51 was initially equipped with a British Merlin engine but later switched to the American Packard-built version. The Packard engine produced over 1,490 horsepower, giving the P-51 a top speed of 443 mph.

This power allowed it to outperform many rival planes and escort American bombers on long-range missions deep into enemy territory.

The P-51 also featured a unique design that allowed for better cooling and increased airflow to the engine. These improvements allowed the P-51 to sustain high speeds for more extended periods and outmaneuver competitors in dogfights. 

What’s better about F-4U?

Several things make the F-4U more advantageous, such as:


The F-4U featured a 20 mm M61A1 Vulcan cannon beneath its hood, giving it a significant firepower advantage over the P-51.

This cannon could fire up to 6,000 rounds per minute and effectively against ground targets and enemy aircraft.

Short takeoff distance:

Another key advantage of the F-4U was its shorter takeoff distance. Its gull-wing design made this possible, allowing for a more compact engine layout and other vital components.

This made the F-4U better suited for aircraft carriers, as it could take off from shorter runways and land in tighter spaces.


The P-51 and F4U were highly effective fighter planes during World War II. Each had unique strengths that made it advantageous in different situations.

The P-51 was best known for its long range and high speed, while the F4U excelled in close-quarters combat and had a shorter takeoff distance.

Ultimately, each aircraft served its purpose effectively in different theaters and conflicts, showcasing the value of diversity in military tactics and technology.

About the Author

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With a passion for aviation, as well as surfing and scanning the web, Rocco is in his element analyzing aircraft data and the differences and similarities between aircraft.