P47 Thunderbolt

Another piece of fine American craftsmanship. This aircraft was one large fighter. In fact it was the largest, most expensive, and heaviest fighter powered by a single  propeller. It was nicknamed the “Jug”, short for Juggernaut, because it was such a monster. It weighed up to 8 tons fully loaded. This plane came towards the end of WW2, and laid a serious amount of smack down on both the Japanese and Germans.

It was powered by the Pratt and Whitney “double Wasp” radial (the same engine to power my favorite, the Corsair). The engine itself went through many versions, but the one that ended up in the Jug was by far the most advanced version, producing close to 3000 horsepower! It was turbocharged, inter-cooled, oil cooled and water injected. The motor was mounted in the nose and the cooling, air induction and carburation behind the cockpit, linked by a complicated array of plumbing.

Weaponry consisted of 8 Browning 50 cals, 4 in each wing. Other options were up to 2,500 pounds of bombs, and up to 10 unguided rockets.


The cockpit was considered very luxurious for the time. It had a large, comfortable seat and even air conditioning. If you want to see one up close, head to the New England Air Museum at Bradley Airport in CT!

Watch this video, it is a reminder of how complex these machines were. People think my bikes are hard to operate because of kickstarting, handshifting, priming, etc. Try memorizing this start procedure!





2 responses to “P47 Thunderbolt

  • Berend Brickman

    3000 hp… Man, that is one seriously bad-ass airplane… cool!

  • Alan Pietrovito

    Regardless what the internet bozos say, the P-47 was NEVER nick named “Juggernaut”. It was nick named “Jug” because it looked like a milk jug. Great airplane. Great photos too. BTW – a version of the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 “double Wasp” engine also powered many other fighter, bomber and transport aircraft including the F4U Corsair, F6F Hellcat, F7F Tigercat, F8F Bearcat, among others.

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