DAYTON, Ohio --
The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force continues to provide unique opportunities for visitors to get an up-close look inside a different aircraft from the collection each month on select days.
Visitors have a chance to peek inside the Republic P-47D Thunderbolt and Messerschmitt Bf 109G-10 on Saturday, Mar. 12 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Renowned for its ruggedness, firepower and speed, the massive Republic P-47 was one of the most famous and important United States Army Air Forces fighters during World War II. Produced in larger numbers than any other U.S. fighter, the Thunderbolt, affectionately nicknamed the "Jug" served as a bomber escort and as a very effective ground attack fighter.
The aircraft on display is a P-47D-40, which was built at the Republic plant in Evansville, Ind. In the late 1940s, it was transferred to the Peruvian air force. The aircraft came to the museum in 1981. It is painted as the P-47D-30 Five by Five flown by Col. Joseph Laughlin, commander of the 362nd Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, in early 1945.
During WWII, the Bf 109 was the backbone of the Luftwaffe fighter force, serving on all fronts and also in the air forces of its European allies. Even though the superior Fw 190 began to replace the Bf 109 in some units as early as the summer of 1941, production of the Bf 109 actually rose until the closing months of the war and it remained the most numerous Luftwaffe fighter. By war's end, Germany had built more than 30,000 Bf 109s. Production of the Bf 109 continued on after the war in Czechoslovakia until 1949 and in Spain until 1958. It remains to this day the most produced fighter in history.
Later this month, in honor of Vietnam Veterans Day, Southeast Asia War Gallery aircraft and exhibits will be showcased for “Plane Talks” on Saturday, Mar. 26 from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Visitors can view aircraft and exhibits that convey the U.S. Air Force's involvement in the conflict. Key air campaigns like Operations Rolling Thunder and Linebacker I and II include aircraft such as the huge B-52D Stratofortress and the iconic fighters F-4 Phantom II and F-105 Thunderchief. In addition, volunteer subject matter experts will be stationed near the aircraft or exhibit related to their expertise throughout the day.