WarbirdsNews has just received the September, 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!
During late July and early September restoration emphasis in the AirCorps shop was centered on the intercooler system and its complicated ducting, along with continuing the assembly of the upper fuselage structure. During the month, we were contacted about a possible lead on the squadron assignment. While it remains tentative, if more information can be confirmed I will write about it in subsequent updates.
Each added component, frame, and skin section drives home the fact that the P-47 was the largest single engined fighter of WWII. The size and shape of its massive fuselage was heavily influenced by components of the General Electric super/turbocharging system, the Harrison intercooler, and all the ducting that was necessary to make them both function efficiently.
The rollover structure and the structural frame for the fuselage forward of the cockpit were just some of the projects undertaken this month as the upper fuselage goes together.
It is easy to see how much space the Harrison intercooler and associated ducting takes up, and why this system had so much to do with the Thunderbolt’s size and shape.
Inspection and restoration of parts needed in upcoming steps goes on as always. Another critical task is design and fabrication of the wing jig that will be needed after the fuselage is essentially complete. Steve Wold, of our CAD engineering department, shared his work on that wing fixture. It isn’t complete yet, but rather a work in progress.
Lance disassembles and inspects a tail wheel strut. (photo by John LaTourelle)LANCE SUMSTAD, Airframe Component Repair
Our profile subject this time is Lance Sumstad.
Lance is a relatively new face in the restoration shop. His background is varied and interesting and his skills are a welcome addition to the restoration crew at AirCorps Aviation.
Lance was a B-52G crew chief and currently is a licensed outstation A&P mechanic. He owned his own welding and manufacturing business making a wide variety of products including truck utility bodies, trailers, and specialized ice fishing trailer/houses that can be lowered onto the ice surface by rotating the wheel assemblies. Lance also worked as a production manager at a laser and powdercoating business, and designed production equipment for Mann Lake, LTD a beekeeping supply company.
Akeley, Minnesota is where Lance and his wife Sheri call home. They have a grown son and daughter and are blessed with 5 grandchildren The Air Force runs in the family, both of the Sumstad offspring also served.
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”