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Curtiss (Republic) P-47G-10-CU Thunderbolt/c/n 21953/42-25068/WZ-D/‘Snafu’/(G-CDVX)

Curtiss built Republic P-47G/42-25068 rolled off the Buffalo, New York production line in early 1944 and entered USAAF service in September 1944 with the 3rd Air Force at Tallahassee, Florida and was re-designated as a TP-47G for the training role it undertook with a number of Advanced Fighter Transition Units. Eventually Struck off Charge in June 1945 but in retirement P-47G/42-25068 continued its training role as it passed the Aero Industries Technical Institute at Oakland Airport, California in 1946 where it was used to teach hydraulic and electrical systems to aeronautical students. From 1952 to 1975 Jack Hardwick, a former Cleveland National Air Race pilot, was her new owner. During that time  P-47G/42-25068 was rented out from time top time and appeared in the 1953 film ‘Fighter Attack’ and to Flying Tiger as ground engine test rig. from 1955 it was stored in Jack Hardwicks yard at El Monte, CA, In 1975, TP-47G/42-25068 was acquired by Eagle Aviation, Tulsa, OK, where restoration begun before passing on to Hurley Boehlers/Sirrus Aviation, Tulsa, and then acquired by  Ray Stutsman, Elkhart, Indiana, in December 1979. TP-47G/42-25068 was registered as N42354 in May 1981 and then as N47DG, February 1982. N47DG had its first post restoration flight in April 1982 and flown as 28476/’Little Demon’ and won the Grand Champion Warbird trophy at Oshkosh in July that year before passing to the Lone Star Flight Museum, based at Galveston, Texas in 1987. In 1996 it was acquired by Flying A Services, North Weald and shipped to the UK and initially stored at Earls Colne and then moved, still in its container, to North Weald and then in 2004 to Greenham Common. With its US civil registration of N47DG expiring in July 2000, TP-47G/42-25068 was acquired and delivered to The Fighter Collection, still in its container, in June 2006. It acquired the UK registration of G-CDVX in February 2006. In September 2006, the fuselage was shipped to Chino, California for restoration and returned in July 2008. By November 2011, P-47G/42-25068 had been repainted as USAAF 225068/WZ-D/ ‘Snafu’ of the 84th Fighter Squadron as flown by Lt Severino B Calderon in late 1944. ‘Snafu’ had its second post restoration flight on the 15th June 2012.

15th June 2012

Following a rather wet and blustery morning with winds gusting to 30+ knots, the weather front cleared sufficiently during the early afternoon for ‘Snafu’ to be trundled outside the comfort of a warm and dry hangar and into the daylight although the wind remained rather blustery. Due to the Military Vehicle Show taking place on the Sunday, ‘Snafu’ was wheeled to a spot at the end of the western dispersal opposite the American Air Museum as the Jet Pan, opposite the TFC hangar, had been cordoned off for car parking for the weekend event. The pilot arrived in style in the company transport, a Second World War period ‘Follow Me’ airfield Jeep, while the engineers were tinkering away around ‘Snafu’ preparing it for flight. After a pre-flight check of the airframe, Stuart Goldspink climbed into the cockpit and the ground power unit was switched on and the large Pratt & Whitney R-2800-21 belched smoke from its exhaust and fired up. It sat firmly attached to the ground as engine power checks were carried out to see if the propeller was behaving properly following a re-balance. With the engine shut down the pilot chatted with the chief engineer and the ground crew topped up the engine oil and the Pratt & Whitney was fired up again, chocks removed and Stu Goldspink taxied the rather large fighter down to the eastern end of the of the airfield to take off from the hard runway. On landing it would be parking up at Crash Gate C, opposite the TFC hangar, so it was a quick dash from one end of the airfield to the other. As per normal with the war birds, there was a bit of an air test and practice aerobatics to the north of Duxford before returning for some spirited full on aerobatics over the airfield. The aircraft was brought in to land on the grass runway and rolled to a stop and was shut down as a precautionary measure following a minor technical issue that was quickly sorted out later on. ‘Snafu’ was towed back to the hangar with the pilot still in the cockpit and a big smile on his face having obviously enjoyed his little excursion in the P-47. All appears to be going well with ‘Snafu’ for its air show debut at Flying Legends.