Generous donors helped Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Airbase Georgia exceed its holiday campaign for its newest project, a Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter aircraft. The goal was $15,000 for an engine mount, but donations exceeded $25,000 so far. The extra money allowed the purchase of a rare set of brakes unique to this aircraft.
“This response shows the tremendous interest out there for a historic plane like the Thunderbolt,” said Airbase Leader Joel Perkins. “Much more will be needed to get this restoration project to completion over the next few years, but we are grateful for this overwhelming start. The CAF holiday campaign runs through the end of January, so we welcome any additional donations to cover essential components necessary to return this P-47 to the air.” (To make a contribution, go to P-47 Thunderbolt.)
More than 15,000 Thunderbolts were built during World War II, but only about 13 remain airworthy in the U.S. today. This P-47 is one of the original aircraft acquired by CAF founder Lloyd P. Nolen in 1963. The restoration ahead for the Thunderbolt is extensive, requiring thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of work and materials.
Airbase Georgia already is working to complete the wings and reassemble one of the flaps. To expedite the project, Airbase Georgia has engaged a respected warbird restoration company to repair or replace belly skins, cowlings, and cowl flaps. Other fittings and parts will be made by volunteers in Airbase Georgia’s well-equipped machine shop.
“The P-47 is one of the iconic airplanes of the Second World War, a highly acclaimed fighter known for its combat effectiveness,” said Perkins. “With strong financial support, our skilled mechanics can return this amazing warbird to the air for all to enjoy. This is an opportunity for any person or organization to play a role in preserving this important piece of American history and to honor the contributions of all veterans who defended our freedom during World War II.”
To support this restoration, visit airbasegeorgia.org