Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47D Thunderbolt Comes to Life!

Image via AirCorps Aviation
Aircorps Art Dec 2019

On Wednesday, under a beautifully sunny Minnesota sky, the Dakota Territory Air Museum’s P-47D Thunderbolt 42-27609 performed its first engine run under the experienced supervision of veteran warbird pilot Bernie Vasquez. As our regular readers will know, AirCorps Aviation has been restoring this aircraft for several years now at their facility in Bemidji, Minnesota. An aircraft’s first engine run is always an important marker during its restoration, so we asked AirCorps Aviation’s Senior VP of Sales and Marketing to give us his impressions of today’s achievement…

At AirCorps Aviation we have been blessed to work with great people and for great people over these eleven years. Efforts like this P-47 don’t just happen by chance. There are plenty of days that aren’t easy. Restorations like this both humble and challenge you. The glamour of an engine run that was nearly flawless captured in the video looks much easier than it appears, as is the case with most things in the warbird industry.”  Eric told us. “As we continue to expand our restoration abilities and explore the idea of what makes a restoration excellent, we need to recognize the people, shops, institutions, and community that helped make this restoration possible.

Running the R-2800-59 was a major milestone in the restoration of P-47D 42-27609. This engine, the Double Wasp, is an eighteen-cylinder, double-row radial weighing approximately 2,350 pounds. The cylinder bore is 5.75 inches and the piston stroke is 6 inches. The cylinder volume swept by all 18 pistons combined is 2,804 cubic inches. To give you an idea of the sheer size of these cylinders, you must consider that, at 155.7 cubic inches (2.55 liters), each cylinder displaces slightly more than the entire 4 cylinder engine powering a standard family automobile such as a Toyota Camry or Ford Fusion!

To learn more about AirCorps Aviation and their projects, visit www.aircorpsaviation.com



  1. Was this P-47 built at the Evansville, Indiana by chance? That is my Birthplace, the P-47 has a special place in my heart!

  2. Beautiful-Just beautiful. Now 50 gear swings or so and check everything 25 times and some taxi tests and then let it rip. Great job. Good luck with the rest of the restoration

  3. i just finish to see this wonderful first engine run,and leet me tell you this is just pure warbird art in pure form!!,one thing that i really want to see in more detail was the restoration of the beautiful and extremely important Curtiss electric propeller that in the latest report was not fully show(?),that is very important i think as much as the restoration itself because of the extremely importance (and today extremely rarity) of the Curtiss eletric propeller in the development of the p-47,beside that i can´t wait until the first flight!!,that is not far away!!,just a wonderful report! thank you so much for bring to us this magnificent restoration in the form of this very detailed and very well written report´s that i enjoy every month since the very first one! time flys!!,thank you so much!!

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