Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47 Update – October, 2020

Here is the latest update on the efforts to restore the Dakota Territory Air Museum's P-47D Thunderbolt 42-27609 at AirCorps Aviation in Bemidji, Minnesota. (photo by John LaTourelle)

Warbird Digest has just received the October, 2020 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!

The process of riveting the leading edge onto the wing has begun. (photo via AirCorps Aviation)


The work on the P-47 this month centered upon the wings, as it has done for a while now. The leading edges are being riveted on permanently. Also progressing nicely are the cockpit installations. In another area of the restoration shop, main landing gear components are undergoing inspection and restoration to airworthiness.


Aaron has been working hard to install various electrical components and instruments in the cockpit.

Firewall Forward

The prop control box, ground power plug receptacle, and the generator relay junction box, were the firewall forward components installed this month.


Various reinforcement panels were assembled and riveted onto the wings this month, but the main item of progress involved  riveting on the leading edges. They are the first portions of outer wing skin to be completed.

Landing Gear

Lance has inspected several original landing gear strut assemblies and selected the best examples for restoration.

Republic Aviation Factory, Evansville, Indiana

This month, the Evansville P-47 Foundation has been successful in their quest to return an Evansville-built P-47 back to the city of its birth in Indiana. P-47D-40RA 44-90368 Tarheel Hal was built in the Republic’s Evansville, Indiana factory and accepted by the USAAF on May 7, 1945. The foundation obtained this Thunderbolt from the Lone Star Flight Museum after many years of searching. Fundraising efforts to make the move permanent continue.

To learn how to contribute, visit the Evansville P-47 website HERE.

In light of their successful effort, I thought some photos from inside the Evansville factory would be appropriate. The following photos were generously supplied by Harold Morgan of Evansville. Many were used in his highly recommended book Home Front Warriors: Building the P-47 and the LST Warship in Evansville, Indiana During World War II.

The early P-47s required 22,927 man hours of labor and cost $68,750. By September of 1944, the man hours had been reduced to 6,290 and the cost to $45,699 per Thunderbolt. The Evansville factory produced 6,242 P-47 Thunderbolts during WWII. Indiana designated the Republic Aviation P-47 Thunderbolt as the official state aircraft in 2015.

And that’s all for this month. We wish to thank AirCorps Aviation, Chuck Cravens for making this report possible! We look forwards to bringing more restoration reports on progress with this rare machine in the coming months. Be safe, and be well


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