The P-47 Thunderbolt “Tarheel Hal” Has Returned to Evansville Where it Was Built
There aren't many of the famous WWII fighter planes called the "Thunderbolt" left. 6,262 of over 15,000 WWII made p-47's were manufactured here in Evansville at the Republic Aviation plant. One of those big fighters that helped win the war for the Allies has made a safe trip home to the city where it was built in the last year of the war. It had been sitting on the tarmac in Houston, Texas, for several days revving up its 18 cylinder 2600 horsepower engine, waiting for the weather to break, which finally happened Saturday and the plane nicknamed "Tarheel Hal" headed home.
During the war, a low cloud ceiling didn't bother one of the world's biggest and most rugged fighters as it escorted bombers over Germany or destroyed Japanese ships in the Pacific; but no one was taking chances with this endangered species. "Tarheel Hal" is one of about 50 Thunderbolts that still exist in various flying conditions across the globe. Normally it would be in the Lonestar Flight Museum in Houston, but there has been a move begun in Indiana to get Hal back permanently where he was built in Evansville. He will be on display at the Evansville Wartime Museum beginning October 22.
You may want to take a look. Your grandparents may have made him.
The Wartime Museum is at 7503 Petersburg Road. Visit the museum here.