Rare WW II P-47 Restoration

Rare WW II P-47 Restoration

The Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Georgia is acquiring a rare World War II P-47 Thunderbolt as a long-term restoration project. The P-47 will join the noteworthy Airbase fleet of operating aircraft, including its SBD Dauntless, P-51 Mustang, FG-1D Corsair, and P-63 Kingcobra.

Weighing 10,000 pounds empty, the Thunderbolt was the largest single fighter built during War. The aircraft was effective as a short-to-medium range escort fighter in high-altitude air-to-air combat and ground attack in both the European and Pacific theaters. 15,636 Thunderbolts were built by Republic Aviation between 1941-1945, but only four remain flying today. The aircraft coming to Airbase Georgia did not see fighting during the War, but it was used effectively in Nicaragua and Guatemala in the 1950s. It was the last of its type to record an aerial victory, during a dispute between Nicaragua and Costa Rica in 1955.

The CAF acquired the aircraft and brought it to the United States as part of its early fleet building prior to 1970. It was heavily damaged when it caught fire during takeoff about 10 years ago, severely burning part of the fuselage and the right wing. The P-47 had been undergoing preliminary renovation at the CAF SoCal Wing in California. The rebuilt sections and parts will be shipped to Airbase Georgia to complete the restoration over the coming few years.

“Our mechanics will utilize their skills to restore and replace parts, fabricate when necessary, and eventually complete the P-47 by adding an engine and modern avionics,” said Airbase leader Joel Perkins. “This will require painstaking work, but the final product will be a magnificent warbird that will serve the mission of the CAF and be in demand for airshows around the country.”

Updated: March 23, 2022 — 1:09 PM
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