Thunderbolt Thursday

P-47D-11-RE Thunderbolt aircraft Serial 42-75452 of the 374th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, based at Bottisham Airfield, England

P-47D-11-RE Thunderbolt aircraft Serial 42-75452 of the 374th Fighter Squadron, 361st Fighter Group, based at Bottisham Airfield, England

It’s been a while since the last Thunderbolt Thursday.  Since we’re off tomorrow for Good Friday, does that make this Thunderbolt Thursday: Friday Came Early Edition?

In case I don’t get around to posting anything for a bit, have a Happy Easter!

Following the leader while social distancing

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Flying under radar control with a B-66 Destroyer, Air Force F-105 Thunderchief pilots bomb a military target through low clouds over the southern panhandle of North Viet Nam. June 14, 1966

Everybody be safe out there!

Not so bonza Ghostrider, the pattern is full

The Australian counterparts to Maverick and Iceman.  Or would that be Icebloke?

Source: Melbourne hawks in review

Here we see a pair of McDonnell Douglas A4G Skyhawks of the Royal Australian Navy Fleet Air Arm 805 Squadron (VF-805) coming in low and hot over the RAN’s only operable aircraft carrier of the time, HMAS Melbourne (R21) sometime in the 1970s.

While the RAN FAA traces its lineage back to the Great War, it was only after WWII that it was able to stand up fixed-wing carrier squadrons, flying Hawker Sea Fury’s in Korea. After a brief interlude in Sea Venoms, 805 Squadron picked up their Seahawks in 1968.

The two ‘Hawks shown above were part of 21 A-4s operated by the RAN between 1967-84 with #887 eventually transferring to New Zealand from where she was sold in 2012 to Draken International (where she still flies as a contract aggressor in Florida). As for #888, she crashed in 1979 but her pilot, a U.S. Navy aviator on exchange duty, was rescued.

P-63 Kingcobra: post-WWII service

A successor to the P-39 Airacobra, the Bell P-63 Kingcobra never saw combat in American colors but was heavily exported via Lend-Lease during WWII, and was used on three continents after the conflict.

The prototype P-63 first flew on 7 December 1942, the one-year anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack. The single-seat P-63 was 33′ long with a 38′ wingspan. It was powered by an Allison V-1710 liquid-cooled engine with a two-stage turbocharger. The ceiling was 43,000′ and the average combat radius was 450 NM.

Other than being larger and more sleek than the P-39, the P-63 shared it’s general shape. Improvements were the restoration of the turbocharger which had been deleted from the Airacobra, new laminar flow wings, a new tail for better stability, and a high-performance A64 11’7″ 4-bladed steel propeller. Except for the rudder, all of the P-39’s fabric surfaces were replaced by metal on the P-63.

Read the rest here: P-63 Kingcobra: post-WWII service

Thunderbolt Thursday

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RAF P-47 Thunderbolt MkIIs

I don’t know if this is a wartime picture or postwar.  They appear to have non-SEAC roundels and fin flash (for those that don’t know, South East Asia Command did away with the standard red in the national markings to avoid being mistaken for the Hinomaru of Japan)  but from what I’ve read, other than an Operational Training Unit in Egypt very few Jugs were used by the RAF outside of the PTO.  And the ones used in the PTO were primarily used in Burma.