FZTR and FZTS: The Mystery – SOLVED!

The confusion regarding the origins and identities of CF-ZTR and CF-ZTS

Geoff Goodall’s Warbirds Directory (Grumman section – downloads as a pdf) used to list the following two Avengers under BuNo 53775: N7028C (c/n 3837) and N4173A (c/n 6822), both under Hillcrest Aircraft for the same years, 1963-1972, then with Miramichi Air Service as CF-ZTR, crashing in New Brunswick on 16 June 1972. There is a separate entry for CF-ZTS, BuNo unknown, which crashed on 5 June 1973, also flying for Miramichi Air Service. [Now corrected – C. Adam]

Goodall said this of c/n 3837 TBM-3E Bu53775 N7028C CF-ZTS:

“Identity confusion. USCR quotes:
N4173A id. 5708 Hillcrest Aircraft Co 26.6.61 to 1971. Accident 25.6.67. To Canada 15.12.71 N7028C id. 3837 Hillcrest Aircraft Co 1963 to 1971. To Canada 15.12.71
Almost certainly two different Avengers, which became CF-ZTR & CF-ZTS
But: N7028C’s identity was changed on the USCR from 3837 to 5708!
But: CF-ZTS id. quoted in CCAR as 6822
But: Canadian paperwork quotes both CF-ZTR & CF-ZTS as previously Bu53775”

The Warbird Registry has three separate listings for these two Avengers, as follows:

  1. BuNo 53775 (c/n/ 3837), which came to the RCAF in 1950 then in civilian life first as N7028C with Hillcrest and later FZTR with Miramichi (crashed in NB 16 June 1972).
  2. N4173A, BuNo unknown (c/n 5078), which crashed in Elk City, ID, August 25, 1967, flying for Hillcrest, but which is actually FZTR.
  3. CF-ZTS, BuNo unknown (c/n 6822), which crashed in NB while flying as CF-ZTS for Miramichi.

Joe Baugher’s entry for BuNo 53775  stated that it was registered as N7028C then N4173A, which registration was cancelled on 15 Dec 1971 on export to Canada as CF-ZTR. The construction number changed from 3837 to 5708 while in the U.S.

Don Henry solved this problem by making two BuNos out of one and adding an A and B to them, as follows:

  1. #53775A  – N4173A / CF-ZTR / #A18
  2. #53775B  – N7028C / CF-ZTS / #A23

They are indeed two different Avengers.

Barrie MacLeod alerted me to the Stoltzfus page. I struck a up conversation with Ken Stoltzfus about their four Avengers, which included 53775, N7028C (the others were -26C, -27C and -29C), based on a copy of the Bill of Sale dated 6 February 1957.

Ken decided to request the registration certificate for N4173A, the Bu of which up to now has been unknown. The certificate clearly says that N4173A is #85904 with c/n 5708, issued on Oct 11, 1957, to Wilson Aviation Industries of Orofino, Idaho.

Thus, the proper info is this:

#85904 c/n 5708 – N4173A / CF-ZTR / #A18
#53775 c/n 3837 – N7028C / CF-ZTS / #A23

Refer to the individual pages for the updated information on each Avenger, including the registration document for N4173A.

One response to “FZTR and FZTS: The Mystery – SOLVED!

  1. Phil M Schmidt

    I was lucky enough to know both #A18 & #A23 there at Hillcrest at the same time. Doubt I even knew what a BU number was back then! Happy to hear those numbers are sorted out.

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