Grumman A-40 Avenger 85861; the insert shows its condition at the time of recovery.
Grumman Avenger 85861 at the Shearwater Aviation Museum’s is one of 4,657 Avenger TBM-3’s built for the U.S. Navy late in the Second World War.
Avenger 85861 was manufactured at the Trenton, New Jersey Eastern Aircraft Division plant of General Motors Corporation. Built as a TBM-3E, Avenger 85861 could be distinguished from the basic TBM-3 by the AN/APS-4 radar pod fitted to the underside of the starboard wing. The “dash 3E” was the last Avenger model to be produced in quantity during the Second World War.
Avenger 85861 was among the initial batch of 74 Avengers purchased from the U.S. Navy and taken on strength by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in July 1950.
Avenger 85861 was destined for a short career in the RCN. On 06August1953, it was scheduled to take part in a practice flypast for the upcoming Halifax naval day celebrations. While climbing to rendezvous with the other participating aircraft, it suffered a throttle linkage failure and was forced to ditch in Bedford Basin.
It was officially struck off charge on 16Sep1953 and lay submerged on the Basin floor until June 1972, when it was raised by the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic as a training exercise.
It was subsequently restored by a team of technicians from VT 406 Squadron at CFB Shearwater, and in Oct1975 was presented to the base for display as a gate guardian along Bonaventure Boulevard.
As an outdoor gate guardian, Avenger 85861 unfortunately suffered severe deterioration from the corrosive maritime weather. To preserve the aircraft permission was granted in 1999 to move 85861 to unused space in one of the 12 Wing hangars where it could be protected from the elements.
In March 2005, when hangar space was no longer available Avenger 85861 was moved into the museum.
[Source & more: www.shearwateraviationmuseum.ns.ca/exhibits]
|The HO4S-3, serial Number 55885.
This 'Horse' was delivered to the Shearwater naval air station on 31 August 1955 and was initially assigned to Anti-Submarine Squadron, HS-50, where the assigned squadron number, a large day-glow orange '7' was painted on the nose and sides of the aircraft.
On 26Nov1956, No. 885 was reassigned to Utility Squadron, HU-21, where, by coincidence, it also was assigned squadron number '7'.
In addition to its normal training and transport duties, No.885 was involved in at least 7 rescue missions saving upwards of 20 lives. These missions ranged from hovering over two burning aircraft to blow the flames away from the cockpits, thereby enabling the Shearwater rescue crews to remove the pilots, to rescuing four crewmembers whose Tracker aircraft had bolted over the side of HMCS Bonaventure into the sea, in a landing mishap.
However, No. 885's most notable mission occurred in September 1962 while embarked as 'Pedro' on Bonaventure. No. 885 was instrumental in saving seriously injured survivors from a Flying Tiger Super Constellation, carrying 76 American military personnel and family members, which ditched in the North Atlantic! [Museum's website]
Piasecki PD-18 Retriever '245' [See www.shearwateraviationmuseum.ns.ca/exhibits]
|McDonnell F2H-3 Banshee, serial number 126402, is one of 39 Banshees purchased from the US Navy.
Banshee 126402 arrived at Shearwater in March 1957 and was flown by VF 870 Squadron from Shearwater and the aircraft carrier HMCS Bonaventure .
The Banshee was an all-weather fighter, which primarily provided air defence for the fleet. It was retired from the Navy in September 1962 and donated to the Shearwater Aviation Museum. This aircraft was displayed outdoors until 2000, where it deteriorated in the corrosive maritime weather.
It was brought indoor and refurbished by volunteers from 12 Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and is now on display, in pristine condition, in the museum's no.2 hangar. [Source: museum's website]
|Tracker 1557 (12157, c/n DHC-56), which is still in airworthy condition, represents the latest version of the Tracker flown by the Canadian Forces.
After building 42 CS2F-1's, deHavilland switched production to the CS2F-2 with improved Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) and radar systems and minor airframe refinements.
The first of 57 CS2F-2's entered service with the RCN in January 1960 and gradually replaced the older CS2F-1's. The RCN developed further improvements to the Tracker, which resulted in Fairey Aviation substantially modifying 45, CS2F-2's that were designated CS2F-3's, the first of which was delivered to the RCN in July 1966.
The CS2F-3 featured a new Tactical Navigation System, doppler radar, improved Jezebel and Julie submarine detection systems and an analogue computer to automatically integrate information from the Tracker's anti-submarine sensors.
Tracker, number 1557, was modified from a CS2F-2 to a CS2F-3. After service integration in 1968 Tracker 1557 was re-rolled as a Maritime Reconnaissance aircraft and redesignated from CS2F-3 to CP-121. Consequently, in keeping with the Canadian Forces (CF) practice of incorporating the digits from the aircraft designation into the serial number 1557 became 12157.
[Source & more: www.shearwateraviationmuseum.ns.ca/exhibits]
Tracker number 1501 (
c/n 428) is especially noteworthy because it is the first Tracker built for the RCN.
It actually started as a US Navy Grumman-built S2F-1 purchased by deHavilland Canada to verify the fidelity of the production jigs and tooling supplied by Grumman.
Following its pattern verification role the aircraft received the serial number X-500, the 'X' indicating its test function and '500' being a contraction of its interim RCN serial number 1500. The X-500 was accepted for the RCN on 13Dec1954 and was used for testing a wide variety of avionics and anti-submarine systems both at deHavilland (Toronto) and the National Aeronautical Establishment at Uplands (Ottawa).
Tracker 1501 is currently being refurbished by the Shearwater Aviation Museum.
The above information was learned from the museum's website, but avid aviation historian Aad van der Voet corrects this: "RCN 1501 is not c/n 428, even though it is widely quoted as such (by Ogden and others). C/n 428 (Bu136519) was indeed loaned to the Royal Canadian Navy for their CS2F program, but it only flew with them for one year (Sep56 to Sep57), after which it was returned to the US Navy and continued to serve in Japan during the 1970s. During its time with the RCN, 136519 kept its US Navy markings and serial, and it was never issued a Canadian serial.
Unfortunately the actual identity of RCN 1501 is not known. Some sources say that it was built by Grumman and delivered as a complete aircraft with minimal instrumentation, but other sources say that it was assembled by deHavilland of Canada from components supplied by Grumman. If the latter was indeed the case, it may never have been allocated a Grumman c/n or a BuNo."
I had been looking forward to see a rare Supermarine Stranraer (915, c/n CV205), but this was all there was!