The work on the P-47 this month centered on the wings, as it has for a while. The leading edges are being riveted on permanently. Also progressing nicely are the cockpit installations. In another area of the restoration shop, main landing gear components are being inspected and restored to airworthiness.
Aaron has been working hard to install the various electrical components and instruments in the cockpit.
The prop control box, ground power plug receptacle, and the generator relay junction box, were the firewall forward components installed this month.
Various reinforcement panels were assembled and riveted on this month, but the main item of progress was riveting on the leading edges. They are the first portion of outer wing skin to be completed.
Lance has inspected several original landing gear strut assemblies and selected the best examples for restoration.
This month, the Evansville P-47 Foundation has been successful in their quest to return an Evansville built P-47 to its home city. P-47D-40RA Tarheel Hal was built in the Evansville factory and accepted by the USAAF on May 7, 1945. The foundation obtained the Thunderbolt from the Lone Star Flight Museum after many years of searching. Fundraising efforts to make the move permanent continue. To learn how to contribute, visit the Evansville P-47 website.
In light of their successful effort, I thought some photos from inside the Evansville factory would be appropriate.
The following photos were generously supplied by Harold Morgan of Evansville. Many were used in his highly recommended book Home Front Warriors: Building the P-47 and the LST Warship in Evansville, Indiana During World War II.
Before the Evansville production line was started, the first five P-47s were hand assembled.
The early P-47s required 22,927 man hours of labor and cost $68,750. By September of 1944, the man hours had been reduced to 6,290 and the cost to $45,699 per Thunderbolt.1
The Evansville factory produced 6,242 P-47 Thunderbolts during WWII.
Indiana designated the Republic Aviation P-47 Thunderbolt as the official state aircraft in 2015.
1 Harold Morgan, Home Front Warriors, Building the P-47 and the LST Warship in Evansville, Indiana During World War II. ( Publisher Harold Morgan, 2011) Mount Vernon, Indiana