FZTS / Hillcrest/Miramichi #D7 #A23 / Bu# 53775

Warbird Registry Info.

Early History

United States Navy. TBM-3E. Construction #6822.

Chris D. Stoltzfus, Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Purchased as part of lot #9 (4 Avengers) for $3459.61 on 6 February 1957 from the U.S. Navy facility at Litchfield Park, Phoenix, Arizona. Registered as N7028C. The BuNo on the Bill of Sale was 53775. This info was based on a copy of the Bill of Sale, and copies of the Invitation, Bid and Acceptance documents issued by the U.S. Naval Air Station, North Island, San Diego, California, on 27 November 1956. These documents were provided by Ken Stoltzfus (www.john2031.com) on 4 March 2016.

Hillcrest Aircraft Co, Lewiston, ID
#D7 / #A23 N7028C 1963-72

Aerial spray program – NB, Newfoundland
1969 – Flew in Newfoundland in 1969 as #D7 (possibly), based on image below, but probably did not fly in NB. 1970 – Did not fly in NB in 1970. 1971 – Flew as #A23. Pilot Fagan.

TBM fleet (12 of 19) at Deer Lake NF, 1969

This is possibly Hillcrest N7028C, Deer Lake Airport, Newfoundland, 1969.
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Miramichi Air Service, Douglastown, NB
#A23 CF-ZTS 1972-1973

Itinerary of C-FZTR and C-FZTS, 1971 and 1972 From Washington to New Brunswick
From the logbooks of Merrill McBride, pages donated by Glenn McBride

1971
Avenger ZTS, Pilot McBride, in company with ZTR
Oct 2 – 0:15 – Clarkston, Wash. to Lewiston, Id
Oct 2 – 0:15 – Lewiston to Clarkston
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
Oct 4 – 2:30 – Sioux Falls to South Bend, Ind.
Oct 4 – 2:00 – South Bend to Hamilton, Ont.

1972
Avenger ZTR, Pilot McBride
Apr 27 – Gross weight test
May 1 – 0:15 – Water dump
May 2 – 0:15 – Water dump
Presumably flew Hamilton, Ont. to Three Rivers, Quebec,
then Three Rivers to Dunphy, N.B. for spray ops [details pending]

A letter to Mr. Barney Flieger, General Manager of FPL, dated December 7, 1971, by Mr. Paul J. Daigle, General Manager of Miramichi Air Service Ltd., stated that Miramichi AS had five Avengers to offer for the coming Spruce Budworm Project. These included CF-ZTA, CF-ZTR and CF-ZTS. All flew in NB in 1972.

Aerial spray program – NB
Crashed in woods 5 June 1973 on takeoff ¼ mile off south end of Sevogle airstrip, NB. Pilot Prast was unhurt, but the aircraft was destroyed.

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TBM #A23 parked at airstrip at the Clarkston, WA, overhaul facility on the Snake River across from Lewiston, ID, in October 1971. The Lewiston-Clarkston hills are across the Snake River in the background looking north. (Phil Schmidt) Left to right: Art Robinson, Merrill McBride, unknown. [Merrill McBride collection]

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#A23 in New Brunswick, 1972. [Merrill McBride collection]

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Merrill McBride in cockpit of #A23, 1972.The angled exhaust pipe cutoff is visible here. [Merrill McBride collection]

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Wreck of #A23, June 1973. [Merrill McBride collection]

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Wreck of #A23, June 1973. The letters ZTS can be clearly seen on the fuselage. [Merrill McBride collection]

Barrie MacLeod’s comments on RCN #85861

[Posted by Barrie MacLeod 20 Nov 2014 to TBMs – Mil & Civ]

Glen McBride’s photos of A23 reminded me that the engine cowl from the wreck of A23 is on one of the Avengers at the Shearwater Aviation Museum. Royal Canadian Navy Avenger Bu. 85861 TF-D was flying over Halifax on 6 August 1953 as there was to be a flight of 24 Avengers over the city for Natal Day.

The aircraft experienced engine problems and ditched in Bedford Basin. The pilot went on to fly for Air Canada. 85861 remained submerged in the salt water until June 1972 when it was recovered by the Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic. It was taken back to Shearwater and cosmetically repaired. The biggest missing piece was the engine cowl and one from the wreck of A23 was obtained in New Brunswick. … 85861 was placed on display by the main gate on 9 October 1975 and remained there in the salt spray off the Atlantic for many years. By 2007 she was inside the museum building and had another overhaul.

For more on the story of RCN 85861, see Military Origins in this Archive.

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