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Thunder Builders Group

Thunder Wings

 

1975: Thunder Wings, div Thunder Development Inc, Scottsdale AZ.
 
In the late 1970s, "Thunder Wings" was a company that originated in Vancouver B.C. by Wolfe Nottelman. According to Wolfe, through his connections, he obtained a government grant of 1.5 million. He contracted a company in Scottsdale, Arizona to develop flying prototypes of the FW-190, Spitfire and P-40. They had done some work on a "secret" project of a fighter trainer with a cheap buzz-jet engine of their own design. At the time of the contract it looked like everything would be OK. It was stipulated that the money must be spent in Canada so the US company opened an office in Vancouver. After they obtained the money, they transferred all the funds to Arizona. They got the contract on their "experience". At that time they had a 3/4 replica of a FW-190 flying. It was built the classic way; tubular structure, covered with fibreglass skins, the same way they built the P-40. On the first test flight, their test pilot was killed. The official version is the man who bought one of them did not take off according to procedure on the maiden flight.
 
On their marketing material they offered the Spitfire too. In Phoenix in the early 80's it looked like a good, hard working company. There was an unfinished prototype of an all-composite Spitfire. They said the prototype was sold to someone in England and it was flying over there. They declined to give any info.
 
The story on the Spitfire in England was a big lie. Friends of mine bought this unfinished prototype (tubular structure covered with skins) from someone in the US a few years later. They changed the design from tubular to composite. They never changed their moulds so many parts did not fit. (For example, the rear wing spars were 1/2 inch higher than rib at the root). Parts were moulded poorly; the main spar had a 2 inch bend. The company never provided plans for the composite model. The plans that were provided were for the tubular structure. Even the manual was only 30% complete. They never finished the project. They were selling unproven kits and they falsely advertised the Spitfire test flights. We paid for the wing skins and spars and they were not delivered. Thanks a lawyer, some managed to obtain the ownership of the moulds, which were exchanged with Wolfe for the moulded parts.
 
Thunder Wings of Phoenix was folded and re-opened under a new name: Thundergroup, using the original Thunder Wings of Canada money. They screwed about 70 customers who bought the kit from Scottsdale. All the moulds were in storage in Vancouver (Spit, FW-190, and P-40). Wolfe died and there is no details after that.

 

Papa51 Co. Ltd., the original manufacturer of the Thunder Mustang is no longer in business. The Thunder Builders Group L.L.C. acquired the assets required to manufacture the Thunder Mustang through foreclosure on a loan. We have posted these assets for sale. Discussions are ongoing with several interested parties but at this time we have not finalized an agreement that will see this incredible aircraft back in production. The TBG is focused on finding the right mix of passion and money to make this happen.

 

Thunder Wing had claimed to build in 1980:
Curtiss P-40C
4/5-scale replica
Two seat, retracting undercarriage
Engine: 300hp Lighting Merlin V-12
Wingspan: 30´0"
Length: 25'0"
Useful load: 574 lb
Cruise speed: 200 mph
Range: 500 mi
 
Focke-Wulf Fw.190A
4/5-scale replica
Single seat, retracting undercarriage
Engine: 240hp Contentinal W670
Wingspan: 28'0"
Length: 23'0"
Useful load: 600 lb
Cruise speed: 185 mph
Range: 627 mi
 
Supermarine Spitfire Mk IX
4/5-scale replica
Two seat, retracting undercarriage
Engine: 300hp Lighting Merlin V-12
Wingspan: 27'0"
Length: 23'0"
Useful load: 600 lb
Cruise speed: 225 mph
Range: 812 mi
 
 

 

 


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