CAF P-47N Thunderbolt – Restoration Update – Spring 2023

The P-47's fuselage in its jig at CAF Airbase Georgia. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
United Fuel Cells

Last summer, we ran an article describing the arrival of the Commemorative Air Force’s partially rebuilt P-47N Thunderbolt at CAF Airbase Georgia. Since that date, the organization’s highly accomplished restoration team at Falcon Field in Peachtree City, Georgia has dug into the airframe. The following details describe some of what they have already accomplished in their quest to return the WWII fighter back to airworthy condition.

The P-47’s starboard wing in its stand. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)

Upon the airframe’s arrival, the team focused their attention initially upon inspecting, tagging and organizing everything which came with the project. One of the more significant tasks involved removing the undercarriage from the wings to get a closer look at the structure. This revealed some corrosion issues, which the team is presently addressing. They also determined that several stringers needed replacing. With the appropriate material now in house, the team has begun drilling the new stringers for installation.

Dennis Beach de-burring the freshly-drilled holes in the replacement stringer material. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)

Thanks to donations, CAF Airbase Georgia has been able to purchase parts for the project, including a pair of brake drums, the above-mentioned stringer material and a throttle quadrant specific to the P-47N. They also intend to order a set of engine cowlings from AirCorps Aviation as well, since the originals were badly damaged in the engine fire and subsequent forced landing back in March, 2002. Working with AirCorps makes perfect sense given that company’s stellar reputation and significant experience on type.

The P-47 fuselage and one of its wings in their cradles. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)

As for the immediate future, the restoration team will finish the wing repairs, and then build a set of test stands for the aircraft’s undercarriage.

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