Development of the F4U Corsair began in early 1938, headed-up by Vought Aircraft’s Chief Engineer, Rex Biesel. By May 1940, Vought had produced a prototype; the new fighter’s inverted gull wings gave the aircraft an unmistakably recognizable face when viewed head-on, and were designed to provide ground clearance for the massive 13-foot propeller. On the Corsair’s maiden flight, she broke the speed record for a single-seat fighter aircraft by exceeding 400 miles per hour in level flight. The Navy was sold on the speedy fighter and ordered Vought to begin production. Nearly 13,000 examples would be produced by the end of the F4U’s production run in 1952.