Images & Observations

P-47G Thunderbolt “Spirit of Atlantic City”

Nikon D80 10-24mm @ 10mm ISO 800 1/20 f/8 Lr4; PsCS6

The P-47 was first introduced in 1942 and saw extensive service in both the European and Pacific theaters of World War II.  15,678 were manufactured and the last active duty aircraft was retired from the Peruvian Air Force in 1966.  The P-47 was big and heavy, and not as tightly maneuverable as other fighter aircraft at the time, but it could dive faster than other aircraft, could carry bombs and rockets, extended fuel tanks and was equipped with eight .50 caliber machine guns mounted in its wings.  The P-47 flew missions escorting bombers, fighting enemy interceptors and also was successful in air to ground warfare, disabling German armored vehicles including exploiting tank vulnerabilities with armor piercing, armor piercing-incendiary and armor piercing-tracer ammunition.  P-47 pilots also became skillful at skip-bombing train tunnels, sealing both ends of a tunnel and sealing German trains inside the tunnels.

This P-47G Thunderbolt is the last flying Thunderbolt with the “razorback: canopy configuration in existence, the razorback limited rear vision and was replaced in subsequent fighter aircraft with the “bubble” canopy.  The “Spirit of Atlantic City” was manufactured in 1944 by Grand Central Aircraft Company, Glendale, California.  Restored once at Kirtland Air Force Base (New Mexico) in 1958-1963 it was housed at various air museums and used in air shows.  On October 23, 1972 the aircraft crashed during a forced landing at an air show at Point Mugu, California and struck an earth embankment.  The “Spirit of Atlantic City” was then rebuilt in Chino, California and returned to flight in 1976 and remains in the flying collection of the Planes of Fame Air Museum, Chino, California.

Prints of this and other aircraft are available here: http://goo.gl/zZohQ .

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