Texas Flying Legends Museum – P-47D Restoration Update – April/May 2018

Here is the April/May 2018 restoration update on Texas Flying Legends Museum's P-47D Thunderbolt at AirCorps Aviation. This aircraft's left side main tank bay shows in the foreground of the fuselage structure with the auxiliary tank bay behind. (photo by John LaTourelle)

WarbirdsNews has just received the latest report from Chuck Cravens on the restoration of Texas Flying Legends 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!

Texas Flying Legends P-47D-23RA – April/May 2018 Report

By Chuck Cravens

This month work continued on the tank bay and pilot floor areas we reported on in last month’s update. They are complicated and time-consuming parts of the P-47 fuselage, in large part because of the multiple corrugated parts that must be formed. 

The work involves fitting, trimming, and trial assembly. Once the structure has been initially put together with clecos and everything is correct, much of it has to be disassembled and sent to paint for a zinc chromate coating. 

This piece will have round head rivets and will be covered with a liner to protect the rubber self-sealing tank in a couple ways. It helps with chafing wear, but it also has an interesting name that leads to its other function: it is called anti-flowering covering. The flowering it refers to is the petal-shaped metal fingers surrounding shell hole damage. Those metal shards are sharp, of course, and would damage or even puncture the tank. The liner resists the “petals” coming in contact with the tank itself. 

The anti-flowering tank bay liner was made by Firestone Tire and Rubber and is described in engineering drawings as having been constructed of “2 Ply Plasite”. Plasite was an early low-pressure laminate form of fiberglass. 

The upper skin of the main fuel tank bay lower panel rests on a protective cloth after the zinc chromate has been applied. (photo by John LaTourelle)
This is the bottom side of the main
fuel tank bay lower panel. (photo by John LaTourelle)

Aaron Prince: Technician Profile

Aaron Prince. (photo by John LaTourelle)

This month we profile Aaron Prince, who appears in the updates frequently. Aaron hails from Geigertown, PA, which is about an hour west of Philadelphia. 

Aaron earned his A+P license at Pennsylvania College of Technology and comes to us from Mark Dinest’s MD Aero, where he also was restoring warbirds. There he worked on Ron Fagen’s award winning SNJ. 

Aaron works on all facets of our restorations but he specializes in wiring and electronics installation. 


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

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