Republic P-47D Thunderbolt 'Nellie' - Duxford Air Festival 2018
Fighter Aviation Engineering Ltd's Republic P-47D Thunderbolt, 'Nellie', G-THUN, flown by Stuart Goldspink, is seen here opening the first day of the Duxford Air Festival 2018. This P-47D wears the WW2 markings of a US Army Air Force P-47 nicknamed 'Nellie', of the 48th Fighter Group, 492nd Fighter Squadron, coded “F4″ and with the identifying character “J”. The squadron markings have a distinctive red checkerboard nose with red nose band and red rudder. 492 FS were equipped with P-47′s in early 1944, flying their first combat missions in the type in April 1944. The squadron moved into Europe after assisting with the Normandy invasions with bombing and ground attack. The present day USAF squadron is now based at RAF Lakenheath flying the F-15E Strike Eagle. The P-47 Thunderbolt is nicknamed the “Jug” (because its profile was similar to that of a common milk jug of the 1940s). The largest and heaviest single-seater piston-engined fighter in history, (it weighs in at seven tons and is heavier than even a Bristol Blenheim or a Bristol Beaufighter). It is the most numerous American fighter ever produced. It was a hugely successful high altitude escort and a formidable ground attack aircraft. The 15,000+ Thunderbolts produced and used in WW2, saw service in every theatre of operations except Alaska. By the end of 1944 it equipped 31 USAAF groups and served with many other Allied Air Forces, including the RAF who took 830 machines. The P-47’s adoption in Latin America led, eventually, to its survival in relatively large numbers, being openly stored in a number of areas, allowing recovery of both airframes and associated spares. To produce a Jug in 1945 would have cost $85,000 – a sum which today wouldn’t even get you a major overhaul. This P-47D Thunderbolt was built in 1945 at Republic’s Evansville factory in Indiana. Serial No. 45-49192 the aircraft was built originally as a P-47D-40-RA. Detail of its service with the USAAF is not known, although it did serve with the Air Training Command during the last few months of the War, and was eventually stored at Tinker AFB in Oklahoma with the Air Material Command. It was restored to full operational status at Hensley Field in Texas in 1952, after the Rio Pact had been signed by the USA, and was assigned to the Military Assistance Program in September of that year. In 1953 it formed part of a group of P47s which found their way to the Peruvian Air Force, who paid the princely sum of one dollar for each of the 25 aircraft it took from the USA. In the hands of the grateful Peruvians it gave good service until 1967, initially as a front line fighter and then as a fighter trainer, and having had an all over silver paint scheme applied. Six Thunderbolts, number 119 among them, were stored in the open at the Piura Air Base until 1969 when, after long and difficult negotiations, aviation historian and enthusiast Ed Jurist was able to recover them, with over 45 tons of spares, to the USA. Each of the aircraft was given a new FAA registration, this machine being allocated N47DD wearing the colours of a 12th Air Force machine, from the 86th Fighter Group, 527th Fighter Squadron, Italy during WW2. After passing through a number of other owners in the USA the aircraft came to the UK with The Fighter Collection at Duxford in January 1986. The aircraft was named 'No Guts No Glory' whilst in the UK with The Fighter Collection, until being sold to Claire Aviation Inc and shipped back to the USA in March 2007. It has recently returned to the UK during early 2018 and is now operated by Fighter Aviation Engineering LTD in it's new guise. Video and Audio content is Copyright © 2017 S Keeler This video and audio material may not be reproduced in any form (except as the videos Youtube embedded video option on any other website), without written permission.
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