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State Adds Indiana-Built WWII Plane To List Of Hoosier Emblems

John Romero

The P-47 Thunderbolt is clear for takeoff as Indiana’s new official state aircraft. Legislators unanimously voted during this year’s session to honor the only World War II aircraft manufactured in Indiana -- a decision that goes into effect next week.

Retired Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin, executive director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, says Thunderbolts were popular because of their versatility.

"This was an aircraft that was built to be rugged, to carry a lot of weight, yet it also had the speed to be an escort," Goodwin says. 

Hoosiers built nearly 7,000 Thunderbolts at the Republic Aviation plant in Evansville between 1942 and 1945. The Thunderbolt was retired after the war to make way for next-generation aircraft.