|Pilot 1st Lt. William H. Sparks (survived) FL
Ditched June 21, 1944
Built by Republic at the Indiana Division of Republic Aviation in Evansville, IN. Constructor Number 1398. This aircraft was part of the first batch of 224 P-47s built at Evansville that left the factory in overall aluminum finish. Delivered to the U. S. Army. Disassembled and shipped overseas to Australia and reassembled.
On February 14, 1944 this P-47 took off from New Mexico Municipal Airport piloted by 2nd Lt. Ben G. Parsons Jr. on a ferry flight bound for Tuscon, Arizona. While taxing, this P-47 hit a soft spot while turning onto the runway and damaged the propeller. Afterwards, the engine, propeller and tail wheel were replaced. Later, this P-47 was disassembled and shipped to Oahu. Reassembled and assigned to the 7th Air Force based at Bellows Airfield.
Took off from Bellows Airfield at 15:33 on a training mission. Suffered total engine failure and ditched into the sea east of the airfield. Sparks survived without injury and returned to duty.
Wreckage remains roughly 1,000 yards off the shore. Machine guns and parts salvaged or removed postwar.
"A World War II Underwater Plane Wreck: The History of a P-47" by Whitney Petrey. May 2008
HQ 339th Sub-Depot Biggs Field, Texas "Extend of damage to airplane P-47 43-25601
War Department CO Office of Flying Safety RJ 19933, 22 June 1944
Thanks to Kenneth D. Wilson for constructor number
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January 5, 2018