CF-KCL / Skyway/Conair/FPL #609 / Bu# 53638

Warbird Registry Info
Aerial Visuals

Early History

United States Navy. TBM-3. Construction number 3800.
Royal Canadian Navy. Avenger AS 3. BOC: Aug. 19, 1952. SOC: July 5, 1960. Military Service in Canada: Squadrons VS 880 and VU 32, Shearwater, NS.

Skyway Air Services, Langley, BC
#609 CF-KCL 1961-1969

1963 – In early July, Harold Hawes conducted fire bombing in Prince George, BC, using both KCL and MUD. [Hazel Clare, pers. comm.]

Aerial Spray Program – NB
1961 – Tallied by Larry Milberry May 22, 1961, in Cartierville, Quebec, while en route to NB. 1962-1965 – No records, but may have flown in NB. 1966 – Pilot Langeman.

Skyway #609 FKCL, probably in BC, date unknown. [Bruno Vanclee, scalefirebombers]

Conair Aviation Ltd., Abbotsford, BC
#609 CF-KCL 1969-1977

Aerial Spray Program – NB
1969 – Pilot Archer. 1970 – Pilot Smeed. 1971 – Pilot Tweed. 1972 – Pilot Smith. 1973 – Pilot Yuill. 1974 – Pilot Brown. 1975 – Pilots Smith and Wood. 1976 – Pilot Hutcheson. 1977 – Pilot Atkins. FKCL was one of 8 TBMs sold to Forest Protection Limited in August 1977.

FKCL Conair #609_CastlegarBC_1976-LMilberry
Conair TBM CF-KCL Tanker #609,  Castlegar, BC, 1975. Slide taken by Larry Milberry, from the Dan Dineen collection. [Posted 24 June 2015 by Dan Dineen to TBM’s – Mil & Civi]
Conair TBM#609 FKCL_BMacLeod
I snapped these photos on 23 May 1970 shortly after 13 Conair TBMs had flown all the way across North America into Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, from British Columbia. My camera was a Kodak Instamatic so there is no great detail. I was an Air Traffic Controller in Fredericton Tower at the time and had watched these same Avengers flying over Halifax Harbor in the 1950s when they were with the Royal Canadian Navy. [Posted to TBMs – Mil & Civ 22 Dec 2014 by Barrie MacLeod.]

Conair #609 at Fredericton, August 1977, at about the time they were purchased by FPL.

Forest Protection Limited, Fredericton, NB #609 / #9 CF-KCL 1977-1978

1977 – FPL purchased FKCL from Conair Limited in August 1977.

Aerial Spray Program – NB
1978 – Pilot Atkins. Repainted and renumbered to fleet standard after 4 July, 1978.

Crashed 29 May 1978. TBM #609 FKCL owned by FPL and piloted by Ken Atkins ditched in Oromocto Lake after flying out of Blissville. While executing a turn at the end of a spray line, the pilot inadvertently dipped his left wing tip into the lake and lost control. The pilot was unhurt and was later picked up by the rescue unit after swimming to shore (20 yards) and flown to Blissville airstrip. The aircraft was recovered by military personnel from CFB Gagetown and towed to shore on a barge. After recovery from the lake, FKCL was loaned to Air Cadet Squadron in Nackawic in 1978 for an outdoor display.

FKCL accident report summary received by Fredericton Airport control tower. [Courtesy Barrie MacLeod]

Eyewitness Account by Don Henry


FPL TBM #609 recovery ops, Oromocto Lake, NB, 21 June 1978. The aircraft can be seen under water beside the barge.
TBM #609 on barge after being fished from Oromocto Lake, 21 June 1978.
TBM #609 being raised from Oromocto Lake – image from newspaper article. DND stands for Department of National Defense.
Newspaper article describing crash of #609.
TBM #609 back on dry land, 21 June 1978.

Post-spray History

Allan Rubin/International Vintage Aircraft, Hamilton, Ontario, 1986-1993. Arrived disassembled, Markham, Ontario, 1986. Under restoration to fly, Markham, Ontario, 1992-1993.
Jack Kosko, 1999. Restoration to airworthy, MD. Donated to Mid-Atlantic Air Museum, Reading, PA, 1999-2012. Registered as N109K.

See also: Air Classics, Aug 2003, by Ruby Kosko and Richard D. Santora.

FPL TBM#609_1984_MarkhamON_GDavidson
FPL TBM #609 CF-KCL in Markham, Ontario, 1994. [Geoff Davidson]
Warbirds International article describing the restoration of FKCL [courtesy Don Henry]. The FPL colours are still visible.

3 thoughts on “CF-KCL / Skyway/Conair/FPL #609 / Bu# 53638

  1. Former Forrest Protection TBM-3, CF-KCL was restored to airworthy condition and is on display at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum in Reading Pennsylvania, Not the Glenn L. Martin Museum as is listed elsewhere on this site. The 7 year restoration was undertaken by Jack Kosko, a former WWII TBM radio operator, and a team of several dozen volunteers. Mr Kosko purchased the TBM which was located in Maine after being sold by Forrest Protection. It was subsequently donated to the Mid Atlantic Air Museum in 2002 and registered as N109K.

  2. I saw this TBM, in Duxford,( UK) painted up as George Bush’s Avenger.
    My Dad Ken Atkins Ditched it, into Oromucto lake.
    He tells the story pretty much just as it is recounted here.

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