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Why did F4U-1 Corsairs have stripes?

Originally published under Ask Mr. History. Published Online: August 07, 2012 
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Every time I see a picture of an F4U Corsair, they frequently have white stripes in front of the cockpit windscreen. These appear to surround the fuel tank and maybe are tape of some kind. Can you tell me their purpose?

Thanks, 
Bob Hewitt

? ? ?

Dear Mr. Hewitt,

Among the many problems that turned up in operational F4U-1 Corsairs was a leaky fuel tank, which was located between the pilot and the engine for the most favorable center of gravity. Corsair pilots I spoke to said that a virtually universal practice to keep the windshield clean was to seal the fuselage panels with strips of white tape. The oil on the cowling flaps also leaked, spattering the windshield and also affecting visibility, hence the upper cowling gills were fixed shut and they were eliminated entirely on later models.

Sincerely,

 

Jon Guttman
Research Director
Weider History Group
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