The Air Museum’s Forgotten “Jug”

​The P47 Thunderbolt was a WWII fighter plane used by the US Army Air Corp and its allies throughout the war. Commonly referred to as the “Jug” it saw use in both the Pacific and European war theaters. Over 15,000 were built and were powered by the Pratt and Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp Radial engine (one of which is on display at The Pioneer Air Museum!). 

Most visitors, and even members, didn’t know the Air Museum once owned a 50% scale model of a P47. 

Sometime in the late 70s to early 80s a WWII Command B-17 pilot by the name of Leif R. Ostnes, while in Santa Rosa, California, undertook a project to construct a 50% scale replica of a P-47. It is believed that plans from War Aircraft Replicas International were used in the design. 

He was so impressed with the courage displayed by the fighter pilots that defended their B-17’s that he chose to build the P-47 in their honor. After Leif’s death in 1989, the plane made its way to Fairbanks and about 19 years ago was donated to the Pioneer Air Museum. 

As the museum had no space available to display or store the plane it was put on loan to Delta Greely Fliers Club, managed by Norm Cosgrove with the Delta Greely School District. Here the plane found a good home and was put to good use assisting in teaching aviation to local youth. See the video below.

Although the organization had plans to rebuild the plane, the COVID pandemic put those plans on the back burner. Since then, other issues have precluded further use of the plane by that organization. 

This prompted the return of the P47 to the Pioneer Air Museum. This spring on May 29th Bill Green volunteered his time and truck to haul the plane back to Fairbanks. With assistance from Steve Lundeen and Norm Cosgrove of Delta, we loaded the plane and it made a successful journey north. Museum staff had been working to locate a new home for the plane and soon found one. An aircraft restoration unit at Eielson Air Force Base accepted the plane as a project. Here the plane will be cleaned, restored as needed and displayed in a base facility.

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