P-47D Serial Number 44-90460 (N9246B), named
"Hun Hunter XVI," owned by Neal Melton of Luttrell, Tennessee, USA, shows of its
muscular lines at the Yankee Air Museum Airshow in 2002. Photo courtesy of Richard Seaman.
History: The Thunderbolt was the most
famous of all the Republic aircraft in WWII. First flown on 6 May 1941, the P-47 was
designed as a (then) large, high-performance fighter/bomber, utilizing the large Pratt and
Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp engine to give it excellent performance and a large
load-carrying capability. The first deliveries of the P-47 took place in June 1942, when
the US Army Air Corps began flying it in the European Theater.
Though it was an excellent airplane, several improvements
were made as production continued, with each improvement adding power, maneuverability and
range. As the war progressed, the Thunderbolt, or "Jug," as it was
affectionately called, gained a reputation as a reliable and extremely tough airplane,
able to take incredible amounts of damage and still return its pilot home safely. P-47s
logged almost 2 million flight hours during the war, during which they were responsible
for the destruction of over 7,000 enemy aircraft in the air and on the ground in the
European Theater alone.
Later in the war, Jugs served as escort
fighters for B-29 bombers in the Pacific. Mostly, though, they excelled in
the ground-attack role, strafing and bombing their way across the
battlefields of Europe. Early versions of the P-47
had "razorback" fuselages, but later models (beginning near the
middle of the P-47D production run)
featured a bubble canopy which gave the pilot increased rearward visibility.
P-47s were also used during the war by the air forces of
Brazil, England, France, Mexico and the Soviet Union. Following the war, the Jug served
for nine more years in the US, flown by the Air National Guard. It continued to serve for
many additional years with the air forces of over 15 nations around the world.
Engine: 2535hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-59W Double Wasp radial
Weight: Empty 9,950 lbs., Maximum Takeoff 17,500 lbs.
Wing Span: 40ft. 9.25in.
Length: 36ft. 1.75in.
Height: 14ft. 8in.
Maximum Speed: 433 mph
Ceiling: 41,000 ft.
Range: 1900 miles with drop tanks
Eight 12.7mm (0.5 in.) wing-mounted
Up to 2500 lbs. of externally-mounted
bombs, rockets, or other free-fall ordinance
Number Built: 15,677
Number Still Airworthy:
AeroWeb P-47 Reference
Design Analysis of the
Joe Baugher's History of P-47
Kiwi Aircraft Images' P-47
Instructions for the P-47
P-47 Thunderbolt Pilot's Association
P-47 Image Archive
"Roaring Glory" P-47
USAF Museum P-47 Page
Zeno's Online Warbird Videos:
"How to Fly the Republic P-47..."
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