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F-47 Squadron History [Airacobra] [Lightning] [Thunderbolt] [Blenheim]

"Esquadra de F-47" was the name of the P-47D equipped portuguese squadron, which took operational status as a training unit, aimed to fill the gap between piston fighters and jets, under the fighter pilot training program. After the US Air Force became independent from the US Army, the designation of fighter aircraft changed from P for Pursuit to F for Fighter, hence the F-47D designation for the portuguese Thunderbolts.

Located at "Base Aérea Nº2" and "Base Aérea Nº3", Ota and Tancos, fifty planes, wartime models 30-RA and 30-RE, were flown during the 1952-56 period untill the unit operational end, caused by the increasing number of T-33A aircraft and qualified instructors, moved the pilots directly to the F-84G bypassing the Republic Industries built fighter.

Misloved by some, the Thunderbolt took an important role for too many pilots later on becoming the F-84 equipped "20ª" and "21ª Esquadras", from the "Grupo de Caça da Ota" of the "Força Aérea Portuguesa".

The OK (virtual) Squadron fly portuguese marked P-47Ds and honour the "Esquadra de F-47".

The P-47D-25-RE model

One Pratt and Whitney R-2800-59 Double Wasp eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial, war emergency power of 2535 hp. Maximum speed was 429 mph at 30,000 feet, 406 mph at 20,000 feet, 375 mph at 10,000 feet, 350 mph at sea level. Initial climb rate was 2780 feet per minute. Climb rate at 30,000 feet was 1575 feet per minute. Service ceiling was 40,000 feet, and range was 950 miles at 10,000 feet. Range with maximum external fuel was 1800 miles at 10,000 feet at 195 mph. Weights were 10,700 pounds empty, 14,600 pounds normal loaded, and 17,500 pounds maximum. Dimensions were wingspan 40 feet 9 3/8 inches, length 36 feet 1 3/4 inches, height 14 feet 7 inches, and wing area 300 square feet.

The P-47D-27-RE model

Added dorsal fin just ahead of the rudder to cope with the directional instability as a result of the loss of aft keel area. This innovation successfully restored the stability.

The P-47D-30-RE model

Fitted underwing zero-length launching stubs for a total of ten five-inch HVAR rockets.
Fitted new blunt-nosed ailerons to improve controllability at these high speeds.
Fitted electrically-operated dive recovery flap on the undersurfaces of each wing in order to help in dive recovery at high speeds.

Evansville-built P-47Ds were only distinguished from Farmingdale-built P-47Ds by the use of the RA manufacturer letter code rather than RE. CU models were built by Curtiss.

Further info can be found at The Aviation Hobbysite or at the Forca Aerea Portuguesa official site.

photos "Mais Alto"
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