Chino, CA. – On Saturday, March 2, 2013 at 10:00am to 12:00 noon, Planes of Fame Air Museum hosts its monthly Living History Event. Open to the public, the Museum doors open at 9:00am. The theme for March 2 is the “Little Friends/Bomber Escorts”, featuring the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The featured speaker is Sandy Ross, Lt. Colonel (Ret.), a P-47 pilot during the WW2. Following the presentation, the P-47 will perform a demonstration flight. At 12:00 noon, following the presentation, there will also be a Membership Sponsored raffle flight.
Lt. Colonel (Ret.) Sandy Ross was a Cal Aero Academy student graduate. After pilot training during WW2, Sandy transitioned to the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter at Strother Field, Kansas. Assigned to the European theater of operations, Sandy received orders to train for combat at Atcham Field in Shrewsbury, England. In June of 1944, he was assigned to the 390th Fighter Squadron (366th Fighter Group) stationed at airfield A-70 near Laon-Couvron, France, following the invasion of Normandy. As a P-47 fighter pilot, Sandy Ross is credited with downing two German Fw 190 fighters and completed 51 combat missions. One of those downings saved the life of his wingman (the squadron leader). Sandy was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for this victory and for other mission accomplishments. After the war, Sandy left active duty and transitioned to the reserves. He became a helicopter pilot, flying the H-23 Raven, with the Army National Guard and later switched to the Army Reserve. Sandy is a past president of the P-47 Pilots Association.
The P-47 Thunderbolt was, quite literally, designed around its powerplant. Unofficially known as the “Jug”, it had a Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engine up front, with a turbosupercharger located in the lower fuselage behind the wing. The engine produced so much power that the P-47 became the first U.S. fighter to incorporate a four-bladed propeller. A grand total of 15,660 P-47 Thunderbolts produced for the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II. Later versions could carry more fuel and were fitted with drop tanks; these aircraft were used as escort fighters in both Europe and the Pacific. “In Europe during the critical first three months of 1944 when the German aircraft industry and Berlin were heavily attacked, the P-47 shot down more German fighters than did the P-51 (570 out of 873), and shot down approximately 900 of the 1,983 claimed during the first six months of 1944. In Europe, Thunderbolts flew more sorties (423,435) than P-51s, P-38s and P-40s combined. Indeed, it was the P-47 which broke the back of the Luftwaffe in the critical period of January–May 1944.” (see USAF Historical Study 70." Tactical Operations of the Eighth Air Force 6 June 1944 to 8 May 1945, Appendix 3, p. 241.)
The museum's P-47G is painted in the markings of the P-47G flown by Walker "Bud" Mahurin, a member of the 56th Fighter Group with 21 kills in the P-47.
About Planes of Fame Air Museum
The Planes of Fame Air Museum, founded in 1957 by Edward Maloney, is where aviation history lives. It is the oldest independently operated aviation museum in the United States. The museum collection spans the history of manned flight from the Chanute Hang Glider of 1896 to the space age Apollo Capsule. The mission of Planes of Fame Air Museum is to preserve aviation history, inspire interest in aviation, educate the public, and honor aviation pioneers and veterans. The Museum sponsors regular events in the form of inspirational experiences, educational presentations, flight demonstrations, and air shows in fulfillment of this mission. Photos available upon request. Visit the Planes of Fame Air Museum website www.planesoffame.org and our Facebook page.