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Wed, Jan 25, 2023

CAF Fundraises Repairs to P-47N

Warbird Restoration Proceeds With Repairs to Wings, Flaps Thanks to Generous Supporters

The Commemorative Air Force successfully fundraised for the restoration of their Republic P47 Thunderbolt, bringing in $38,552 - 193% of their $20,000 goal.

The money will go to purchase a new engine mount, as well as a new set of brakes for the aircraft. Now that the P47 has been out of production for more than half a century, suitable replacement parts are few and far between, lost to warehouses and collectors around the world. While more than 15,000 of the sturdy fighters were built during the second world war, barely a baker’s dozen remain airworthy in the USA today. It’s an unfortunate fate for one of the USAAC’s most successful aircraft, the fame of the victory years somewhat usurped by the younger, sleeker P-51 as the quintessential American WWII fighter. Once complete, this build will help to demonstrate to audiences just what was so premium about the P-47 in its day, from the roaring  The CAF’s Thunderbolt was one of the first acquired by CAF founder Lloyd P. Nolen in 1963, currently under restoration withAirCorps Aviation to bring her back to her prime.

The bird in question wears her wartime livery and nickname: “Lil’ Meaties Meat Chopper”, as she sported under Lieutenant Oscar Francis Perdomo, the last aviator to make ace in a day during WWII. The P-47N was assigned to the FS/507th Flight Group, based on Ie Shima in 1945. Like many aircraft her age, the P47 is a ways off from fighting shape, estimated to require thousands of hours of work and a multiple of that number in dollars. Airbase Georgia, her home field, is already hard at work completing the wings and repairing the aged flaps, with the experts deftly bringing the belly skins, cowlings, and cowl flaps back to life. Where possible, personnel at Airbase Georgia are making use of the location’s well-equipped machine shop, making as many parts in-house as they can. 

“This response shows the tremendous interest out there for an historic plane like the Thunderbolt,” said Airbase Leader Joel Perkins. “Much more will be needed to get this restoration project to completion over the next few years, but we are grateful for this overwhelming start." 

“The P-47 is one of the iconic airplanes of the Second World War, a highly acclaimed fighter known for its combat effectiveness,” said Perkins. “With strong financial support, our skilled mechanics can return this amazing warbird to the air for all to enjoy. This is an opportunity for any person or organization to play a role in preserving this important piece of American history and to honor the contributions of all veterans who defended our freedom during World War II.”

FMI: www.commemorativeairforce.org

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