Monday, September 26, 2011

Famous Aircraft of the World - P-47 Thunderbolt

Exactly where the Thunderbolt's story begins is rather difficult to establish, being linked as it is to such a number of projects originating from Seversky's stable. One could, perhaps, take the date of April 1939 as a good starting point, when Major Alexander Seversky lost majority control of his company with the arrival of Wallace Kellet as President of the company. During the subsequent reorganisation, even Seversky's name was removed, and the company renamed 'Republic Aviation Corporation'. Work in hand at that time included production of the P-35, the EP-106 (P-35 export version for Sweden) and development of the AP-4. The latter (designated XP-41) had originated from a United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) competition for a new fighter initiated the previous January. It featured a turbo-supercharger installed in the central fuselage and was powered by an R-1830-31 engine. Since emphasis at that time was being placed on low-level performance, the XP-40 emerged as the competition winner. However, an order for 13 aircraft under the designation YP-43 was placed on 12 May 1939 with Republic, mainly thanks to the excellent performance that the AP-4 had displayed during its trials.