Thunderbolt Down


It’s been a rather eventful weekend here in New York City, which included the ditching of a vintage Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter in the Hudson River. The pilot and plane were involved in a photo shoot and practicing for an aerobatic exercise at the Bethpage Air Show on Long Island, NY, when he experienced mechanical problems and forced to set his plane down in the water. While NYPD divers were able to retrieve the plane from the bottom of the river, the pilot, William Gordon, of Key West, FL, wasn’t so fortunate, drowning before he could release the cinches holding him to his seat.

The P-47 Thunderbolt was the heaviest single-engine fighter plane used by Allied forces in World War II, which contributed to its quick sinking. The aircraft first went into service in 1942 with the 56th Fighter Group based on Long Island. The American Airpower Museum at Republic Airport on Long Island was going to honor the plane’s 75th anniversary of coming into service this weekend at the air show. The P-47, known as “Jacky’s Revenge,” was supposed to fly in this weekend’s airshow.

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