CF-ZTR / Hillcrest N4173A/Miramichi #A18 / Bu# 85904

Warbird Registry
Aerial Visuals

N4173A registration
Certificate of Registration for N4173A, 11 October 1957. [Donated by Ken Stoltzfus]

Early History

United States Navy. TBM-3U. Construction #5708.

Wilson Aviation Industries, Orofino, Idaho. Application for Registration as N4173A dated 25 June 1957, granted 11 October 1957 (see image above). The certificate clearly states that this Avenger is a TBM-3U, that the serial number is 5708, and that the BuNo is 85904. The BuNo had been previously unknown.

Jerry Wilson was a back-country pilot for 12 years before becoming partners with Ivan Gustin of the already established Hillcrest Aviation (Rudder Flutter, August 1959, page 3). Wilson also registered N4170A (BuNo 91453) in May 1957, but sold it to Reeder Flying Service in July of that year.

Hillcrest Aircraft Co., Lewiston, IDAHO
#A18 N4173A 1963-72

Substantially damaged during forced landing off airport during crop-spraying, Elk City, ID, August 25, 1967. [NTSB Report]

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 9.17.12 PM

Aerial spray program – NB
1971 – Pilot Holland, flew as N4173A and returned to Lewiston.

Miramichi Air Service, Douglastown, New Brunswick #A18 CF-ZTR 1972

Glenn McBride kindly provided images of some pages of his father’s [Merrill McBride] flight log books, which provided details of the ferry of CF-ZTR and CF-ZTS to New Brunswick via Ontario.

CF-ZTR and CF-ZTS flight to New Brunswick, with overwinter in Hamilton, Ontario

Avenger ZTS, Pilot McBride, in company with ZTR
Oct 2 – 0:15 – Clarkston, Wash. to Lewiston, Id
Oct 2 – 0:15 – Lewiston to Clarkston [Id]
Oct 3 – 2:30 – Clarkston to Billings, Mont.
Oct 3 – 2;45 – Billings to Mitchell, S.D.
Oct 4 – 0:30 – Mitchell to Sioux Falls [S.D.]
Oct 4 – 2:30 – Sioux Falls to South Bend, Ind.
Oct 4 – 2:00 – South Bend to Hamilton, Ont.

Avenger ZTR, Pilot McBride
Apr 8 – C of A test, pilot Retfalvy
May 1 – 0:15 – Water dump
May 2 – 0:15 – Water dump
May 5 – 2:30 – Hamilton, Ont. to Three Rivers, P.Q.
May 6 – 1:50 – Three Rivers to Dunphy, N.B. for spray ops

Aerial spray program – NB
1972 – Pilot McBride, flew as CF-ZTR
Crashed on takeoff at left side of runway, Sevogle airstrip NB, 16 June 1972. The aircraft was a write-off. The Department of Transport accident card for this event was not included in the PDF file for 1972.

Hillcrest TBM #A18, Clarkston ID, 1971 (Phil Schmidt)
Image taken by Phil Schmidt in summer of 1971 when he was employed as ground crew by Hillcrest.


TBM #A18 FZTR ferrying eastward, probably October 1971, after being purchased from Hillcrest. [Merrill McBride collection, taken as he was flying #A23 FZTS]
FZTR parked, probably Fredericton, May 1972. [Merrill McBride collection]
Close-up of nose of FZTR, May 1972, probably Fredericton. The tapered exhaust pipe is present on the starboard side. [Merrill McBride collection]
FZTR wreck, June 1972. [Merrill McBride collection]
Close-up of cockpit, FZTR wreck, June 1972. [Merrill McBride collection]
Merrill McBride and family posing in front of #A18, summer 1972. It was son Glenn who loaned the slide collection for scanning in 2007. [Merrill McBride collection]

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