WarbirdsNews has just received the latest report from Chuck Cravens on the restoration of the Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47D Thunderbolt 42-27609 at AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota. We thought our readers would be very interested to see how the project has progressed since our last article on this important project. So without further ado, here it goes!
The view from the rear of the upper intercooler air exit opening shows how large they really are. (photo by Nic Johnson)
Assembly of one of the unique features of 42-27609 recently began. The 5th Air Force experimented in a number of ways to get more range out of their P-47s. One of these experiments included an extra fuel tank mounted in the turtledeck behind the pilot. It was called a Christmas tree tank, because its triangular shape resembled the well-known holiday decoration.
We also reached an even more important milestone as work began on the upper fuselage.
Christmas Tree Tank
The top of the tank would sit just under the peak of the “razorback” skin section immediately behind the pilot. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Lower Fuselage Finishing Touches
The part with the bearing in it is the inboard aileron hinge bracket. (photo by John LaTourelle)
AirCorps Archivist Ester Aube
The profile subject for July is Ester Aube, the woman behind AirCorps Library’s continued success.Ester comes to us from Montana, and is an indispensable part of AirCorps Aviation. She handles all of the archived manuals and engineering drawings for both the restoration shop and for the AirCorps Library website.When we need to look something up, Ester’s work at organizing all this material enormously speeds up the process.
The largest part of her job is digitizing these fragile 70 year old materials and it isn’t unusual for her to scan 30,000 pages in a single month. Through her work for the AirCorps Library, Ester has helped other organizations, like the Globe Swift Museum, digitally preserve their collections of original documents and drawings.Ester has a Bachelor of Science in art conservation with a minor in art history from the University of Delaware, making her uniquely qualified to handle the irreplaceable documents that warbird enthusiasts have sent her to digitize and preserve.
Ester’s favorite warbird is the P-40.
And that’s all for this month. WarbirdsNews wishes to thank AirCorps Aviation, Chuck Cravens (words) as well as John LaTourelle and Nic Johnson (images) for making this report possible! We look forwards to bringing more restoration reports on progress with this rare machine in the coming months.