The Commemorative Air Force has just announced that they have selected the organization’s Southern California Wing in Camarillo, California as the new home for their Republic P-47N Thunderbolt 44-89136. The aircraft has been in storage for some time now, as it was involved in a serious accident in March, 2002. The freshly-rebuilt engine caught fire shortly after takeoff, forcing a hasty, and heavy, forced landing. Thankfully, the pilot survived, although not without injury. However, the aircraft sustained significant impact and fire damage though, necessitating an expensive rebuild.
The P-47 has already undergone a significant amount of work since the accident, as can be seen in the lead image, although there is much still to do. Due to financial constraints, the project has been on hold for some time now, but the aircraft has received renewed interest in recent years, with a series of fund-raising efforts. Her future seems even brighter now that CAF Headquarters has chosen the ‘SoCal’ Wing to complete the restoration. The aircraft is currently in a CAF hangar in Dallas, but will move out to Camarillo for the rebuild later this year. While other CAF units were considered for this project, the SoCal Wing is a good choice, as they have both the resources and experience to pursue the project to a successful completion. Once she is flying again, the SoCal Wing will fly the Thunderbolt at air shows alongside the other warbirds in their substantial fleet. It will be great to see her back in the air again, and for those of you interested in contributing to this project, please do click HERE.
History: While this particular P-47 arrived too late to see service overseas in WWII, it does have a fairly interesting post-war service history with the Guatemalan Air Force, which we shared HERE in a great story on WarbirdsNews in December, 2016.