TBM-3 309 Rocky Mountain Wing
Grand Junction, CO
|Power||1 × Wright R-2600-20 radial engine, 1,900 hp|
|Length||40 ft 11.5"|
|Height||15 ft 5 in|
|Wingspan||54 ft 2 in|
A 1945 TBM Avenger - an 18,000lb 1,900 HP Torpedo Bomber. It was the largest single-engine aircraft built for the war. And being based on aircraft carriers, it took off (and landed on!) the shortest runways, as little as 500 feet. Without a catapult!
Nearly 10,000 TBMs were built, and they are credited with helping to turn the tide of the war in the Pacific; fewer than 20 restored TBMs remain flying today.
Rocky Mountain Wing TBM, Bu. No. 53503 Quick History
Delivered to the US Navy in June of 1945, it did not see combat service in WWII. It served with VT-17 Fish Hawks until 1947, then transferred to VT-82 Devil’s Advocates. It went on the Lend/Lease Program to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1950, where it performed ASW duty on the RCN aircraft carrier HMCS Magnificent it was removed from military service and put in storage in 1958. It had a civilian career as an aerial applicator from 1963 to 1970 It was donated to the Confederate Air Force in Harlingen TX, and flew with the Ghost Squadron from 1970 to 1981 It sat outside in Mesa AZ from 1981 to 1984, awaiting repair/restoration It was adopted by the CAF Rocky Mountain Squadron, and ferried to Grand Junction CO in 1985 1985-1989 repair/restoration as TBM 53503, painted in VT-84 Wolf Gang livery to honor those who served on the USS Bunker Hill during the Battle of the Japan Sea in 1945 It has been actively flying with the CAF Rocky Mountain wing since 1990.
? Our TBM has several notable claims to fame
It is the only aircraft ever to be placed on the Colorado Register of Historic Properties It is only the seventh aircraft to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and one of only three that still flies It was the lead airplane in a formation flyover of Queen Elizabeth's Coronation Review of the Fleet it appeared in Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind It participated in a Cold War exercise that included a mission known as the Magnificent Miracle
Grumman's first torpedo bomber was the heaviest single-engined aircraft of World War II, and only the USAAF's P-47 Thunderbolt came close to equalling it in maximum loaded weight among all single-engined fighters, being only some 400 lb (181 kg) lighter than the TBF, by the end of World War II. The Avenger was the first design to feature a new "compound angle" wing-folding mechanism created by Grumman, intended to maximize storage space on an aircraft carrier