Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47 Update – October, 2018

The Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47D Thunderbolt 42-27609 is progressing well in its restoration at AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota. Here is the latest report from Chuck Cravens on the aircraft's present status. (photo by John LaTourelle)

WarbirdsNews has just received the October, 2018 report from Chuck Cravens concerning 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!

This very large passageway is the carburetor and intercooler air intake duct. The strangely shaped structure is the main cool air intake to the intercooler. The upper end in this image leads forward to the air intake at the bottom of the cowl. The smaller opening on the right leads back to the air cleaner just ahead of the turbine. The large opening face down on the table is where the duct attaches to the intercooler. (photo by John LaTourelle)


A restoration like this one requires repeated fitting, trial assembly, disassembly for painting, and eventually permanent reassembly. This month was all about details as the guys take care of final touches before disassembling the upper fuselage for deburring and paint. Once this is finished, the next step will be permanent reassembly. 

Ducts, Turbos and Intercooler 

We’ve shown many images of the ducting and intercooler because they are part of a very complex system that will be made functional in this P-47 restoration. The turbo-supercharger system was responsible for the stellar high altitude performance of the Thunderbolt. 

The intercooler exit doors have been fitted. They have enough paint on them to identify them as coming from a P-47 still in service after January 14, 1947. On that date, the red stripe was ordered to be added to the bar section of the insignia. It was most likely an Air National Guard P-47 unit. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The exit doors on both sides of the fuselage have the red paint. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The image of Randy, Chad and the entire forward fuselage from tail cone joint to the firewall gives an idea of the complexity of this restoration. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The right side of the fuselage clearly shows how Republic designed the assembly to be done in upper and lower halves. The completed, permanently riveted lower half contrasts sharply with the unskinned structural members of the upper portion. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Here we have the rear face of the intercooler and the ducting diagram. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The forward side of the intercooler faces the corrugated zinc chromated main fuel tank covers. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The ducting to the exit doors as it appears from the rear of the fuselage. (photo by John LaTourelle)
This angle shows the same ducting connecting the intercooler and the exit doors from above. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The turbo-supercharger housing section is remarkably large, like most P-47 parts are! (photo by John LaTourelle)
Rob is putting finishing touches on the upper intercooler ducting. (photo by John LaTourelle)
We appear to have our ducts in a row! (photo by John LaTourelle)
This detail shot shows the support brace for the radio shelf. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The intercooler exit door control shaft bracket is clecoed together, the shaft is visible at the bottom. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The same bracket viewed from the exterior side of the fuselage. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Up close to the bracket we can see the historically accurate 40’s Alclad logo applied to the aluminum. Alclad was an Alcoa Aluminum product. The AN-A-13 ALCLAD logo is applied after the modern logo has been stripped from the new aluminum stock. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Reynolds Aluminum’s WWII logo naturally differed from the Alcoa Alclad logo and both vendors supplied material for the P-47. Their version of aluminum alloy sheet with an unalloyed 100% aluminum outer layer to fight corrosion was called Pureclad. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The red circled F 138 digits are inspector stamps. (photo by John LaTourelle)
This is an upper fuselage baffle at the upper crosstie station. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The part number is clearly stamped on this casting. It is the support assembly for the pilot’s hydraulic controls. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The inspection stamps attest to the bolts having been properly torqued on this section of the lower firewall. Each inspection stamp that would have been used in the Evansville plant is faithfully duplicated in the restoration. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Viewed from the exterior, this boxlike structure is a panel assembly, cockpit wall-right hand lower rear. (photo by John LaTourelle)
89F11132 is the bottom fuselage frame at station #285. The green ring is the turbo-supercharger mounting ring. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Randy works at fitting a section of a fuselage longeron. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Skin sections are fitted and clecoed to the forward section of the “razorback”. (photo by John LaTourelle)
The opposite side shows in this photo. The triangular structure with the forging at the top is the rollover protection assembly. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Chad works on a piece of skin located on the upper fuselage in front of the cockpit. (photo by John LaTourelle)
Chad fits the skin to the forward top fuselage frame. (photo by John LaTourelle)
One of the fuel filler openings is visible in the lower center of this image. (photo by John LaTourelle)

Bonus Images

And that’s all for this month. We wish to thank AirCorps Aviation, Chuck Cravens (words) as well as John LaTourelle (images) for making this report possible! We look forwards to bringing more restoration reports on progress with this rare machine in the coming months.

Is the P-47 Thunderbolt your favorite airplane? Make sure to purchase issue #73 of Warbird Digest featuring the beautiful “Dottie Mae”

Issue #73

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