Hoosier Spirit II Flies Through Indiana Senate

Indiana is set to have a new state aircraft, following senate approval of House Bill 1197.

Posted: Mar 29, 2021 6:01 PM
Updated: Mar 30, 2021 8:36 AM

Evansville will soon be home to the Hoosier Spirit II, the state's official aircraft.

A bill that has now passed both the House and Senate, looks to make the state aircraft a little more unique. Currently, the P-47 Thunderbolt, a specific type of WWII plane is recognized by the state in that honor.

But several lawmakers, including Senator James Tomes, have lead an effort to rename the Evansville Wartime Museum's Tarheel Hal, a P-47 Thunderbolt built in the River City, to the Hoosier Spirit II.

That specific aircraft would then be recognized as the official plane for the state of Indiana if House Bill 1197 is signed by Gov. Holcomb.

During World War II, more than 6,300 P-47s were built in Evansville by the Republican Aviation Plant.

"These planes were momentous for Indiana during World War II and they've contributed greatly to our country's history," said Sen. Vaneta Becker who also sponsored the bill. "The Hoosier Spirit II honors those who served our state and country, and we are forever grateful for their sacrifice and dedication."

The Tarheel Hal returned to the museum in October of 2020. Right now, the Evansville P-47 Foundation is raising money to repaint the aircraft to better reflect its history.

If renamed and designated the official state aircraft, the Hoosier Spirit II will remain housed in the Vanderburgh County facility.

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