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P-47D Thunderbolt

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BetaIcon.png This is a beta module.

This module is still being developed and may still be missing some features and equipment options. It is playable and most of the content is there, but some final touches and fixes for minor bugs are still in the works. It is probably safe to buy unless you crave absolute fidelity and/or very few bugs.

DCS P-47D 700x1000 v3.jpg
P-47D icon.png

Before the A-10 Thunderbolt II with its famous survivability and ridiculously large gun, there was the original: the P-47 Thunderbolt, famed for its survivability and ridiculously numerous guns. Also for its… ample frame, giving it the nickname the “Jug”. It is sometimes picked out as the beginning of the “bigger, faster, more heavily armed” trend that would characterise post-war aircraft developments for the next half-century, in spite of attempts (such as the F-16) to reverse course.

Very much unlike the A-10, however, the P-47 put a large focus on the fighter part of the equation, working double duty as a high-altitude escort aircraft, where it slowly supplanted the earlier P-38. This legendary aircraft is represented in DCS World with its bubble-canopied fighter-bomber ‘D’ variant.

Features

The P-47D Thunderbolt (model D-30) represented in DCS comes with:

  • A stonking great big turbocharged engine that is slightly less torque:y than the P-51D, but makes up for it by being more complex to manage, including multiple cooling systems and a couple extra engine levers to pull on.
  • A still rather messy mid-war-style cockpit layout, with a fair amount of hidden levers and dials in odd places.
  • Proper three-axis trim and simple toe brakes, making it easy to control both in the air and on the ground.
  • Eight(!) Browning M2 machine guns and three bomb hardpoints for lots of overkill.
  • Dive brakes for when trying to employ all that goodness makes you go too fast and compressibility locks up your controls.

Missing features

The P-47D is labelled as Early Access in the store, but on first sight it can be difficult to determine exactly what is missing since it already does most of what one would expect. Even so, there are things that still await full completion:

  • A full finalised 3D model and livery templates.
  • Proper weapon implementation of rockets and bombs, especially the bomb damage model.
  • Full force feedback implementation.

Flying the P‑47D Thunderbolt

The Jug as represented in DCS is very clearly a late-war variant, and the experience of flying it will be quite familiar to anyone who has flown the P-51D to any extent. It's a huge engine with wings, able to power itself out of a lot of awkward situations, and is for the most part very smooth-flying and easy to control. Even landing and manoeuvring on the ground is very similar to the Mustang due to having much the same wide-wheeled stance and sensible wheel-brake system.

It is when things get a bit more hairy that the two start to differentiate themselves. The P-47 does not exhibit the snap-roll tendencies of the P-51, but instead suffers from high-speed compressibility issues, much like the P-38 that it ended up replacing. It has an air-brake system of sorts to combat those control issues — an absolute necessity for the kind of dive-bombing attacks it was supposed to perform. The P-47 also sets itself apart in having a much more complex throttle quadrant and cooling system that has to be juggled properly to get the most out of the engine. For the most part, it follows the same general logic as the Mustang but the sheer amount of levers that can be pulled with the left hand requires a bit of mindfulness to not cook the engine at the most inopportune moment.

Cockpit overview

P‑47D Thunderbolt dashboard. P‑47D Thunderbolt cockpit.

Getting into the air

Like all full-sim aircraft, it has the RWinHome “cheat” keyboard shortcut that runs through the startup process for you, and the manual and Chuck's guide, linked below describe it in full.

The short version of it all is:

  • Make sure the parking brake is on, or you'll end up in a hedge somewhere.
  • Set up air filters, heating, and carburettor.
    (Some of the controls may be hidden behind the bomb arming levers and hard to see.)
  • Set up fuel flow and engine governor.
  • Hand-pump some pressure into the hydraulics system to set up engine cowl flaps and the regular flaps.
  • Electrics on, and engine cooling on.
  • Prime the engine and ask the ground crew to give you a hand, then tell them to stay clear of the prop.
  • Magnetos to “Both”, and then energize the starter for 15 seconds.
  • Flip starter switch to “Engage” and set fuel mix to “Full rich” as the engine catches.
  • Let the engine warm up while setting up all cockpit instruments.
  • Release the parking brake and try to find your way to the runway while still avoiding the aforementioned hedge.
  • Set flaps 20° (as indicated by the lines on the root of the flaps) and push the throttle to go-fast position, but not too go-fast &mdash: the P-47 is a big and heavy bird and will take its time to get off the ground. Trying to force the issue by throttling up just blows up the engine.

P‑47D Thunderbolt buzzing the white cliffs

Shooting something

While the massive engine in the Jug takes a bit of work to get going, getting something out of its eight Brownings is a mercifully quick and easy process.

  • Flip the gun safety switch to “Guns & Camera“ and turn up the gunsight rheostat on the electrics panel.
  • Use the sight range dial and throttle twist grip to set up the desired wingspan and attack range.
  • Choose between fixed and gyro sight using the tiny lever on the left side of the sight.

…and that's it.

Links and files

More information

P-47D Thunderbolt at the National Museum of the USAF
DCS World
Aircraft modules (full sim)

A‑10C Warthog · A‑10C II Tank Killer · AJS‑37 Viggen · AV‑8B NA Harrier · Bf 109 K‑4 Kurfürst · C‑101EB & CC Aviojet · Christen Eagle II · F‑5E‑3 Tiger II · F‑14A & B Tomcat · F‑16C Viper · F/A‑18C Hornet · F‑86F Sabre · Fw 190 A‑8 · Fw 190 D‑9 Dora · I‑16 · JF‑17 Thunder · L‑39C & ZA Albatros · MiG‑15bis · MiG‑19P “Farmer B” · MiG‑21bis · Mirage M‑2000C · P‑47D Thunderbolt · P‑51D Mustang · Spitfire L.F. Mk. IX · TF‑51D Mustang · Yak‑52