C-GFPM / FPL #E21 #21 / Bu# 53857

Warbird Registry
Aerial Visuals

Early History

United States Navy, 1945 Grumman TBM-3E. Construction #: 3919.
Central Air Service, Lewiston, MT – #A27 N7017C, 1963-1976.

In 2003, Forest Protection Limited requested copies of Aircraft History Cards on seven former U.S. Navy Avenger aircraft currently in the FPL fleet from the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Some of the cards were poorly microfilmed, and are presented below as received.

First USN aircraft history card for BuNo 53857, 1945 to 1948.
Second USN aircraft history card (new format) for BuNo 53857.
Third USN aircraft history card for BuNo 53857, showing that aircraft was stricken from records in August of 1956.
Central Air Service TBM #A27, 1975, probably in Montana. [Martin Kyburz, Swiss Mustangs]

Forest Protection Limited, Fredericton, NB
#E21 / 21 C-GFPM 1976-2004

Aerial spray program – NB
1976 – FPL purchased GFPM in 1 Jan 1975 [according to an inventory sheet] for $25,413 from Central Air Services, Lewiston, Montana, then dry leased it from Evergreen Air Services of Montreal. Pilot Watson. 1977 – On 12 May, 1977, FPL was granted an Operating Certificate, which meant that dry leasing was no longer necessary. Pilot Komberec. 1978 – Repainted and renumbered (#E21 to #21) to fleet standard prior to 1978 spray season. Pilots Lapham and Payton. 1979 – Pilot Hyland. 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 – Pilot Gomany.

Fire Suppression – NB
1991 – Pilot Fotheringham. 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 – Pilot Gomany. 1997 – Pilot Doherty. 1998 – Spare, then fire suppression (pilot LeBlanc) in 1998, replacing TBM #14 GLEK, which had crashed. 1999 – Pilot LeBlanc. 2000 – Spare, then fire suppression. Pilot Gomany. The spare, GFPM #21, was activated after GFPL #22 sustained damage during a training flight on 14 June. 2001 – Spare, then fire suppression. Pilot Clowes.

Inactive/Sold – NB
2002-2003 – In storage at FPL. 2004 – Sold to Steve Searle of Queensland, Australia.

TBMs #E21 GFPM (with black nose and red trim), #E30 GFPT, #E32 GFPS and #E24 GLEJ in storage at FPL either Fall 1975 or Spring 1976.
TBM #21 in winter storage at FPL, Fredericton, 1980.
TBMs #20 GLEH and #21 GFPM, part of the Poker team, Boston Brook, 1985.
Tee-jet nozzles on TBM #21, 1985.
TBMs #20 GLEH and #21 GFPM, the Poker team, at Boston Brook, 1986.
TBM #21 airborne.
Demo retardant drop.
TBM #21 in FPL hangar.
Initial start-up, April 2001.
TBM #21 airborne over the Miramichi River, New Brunswick, August 2000. [Pat Greene, FPL]

Post-spray History

Purchased by Steve Searle of Australia and registered as VH-MML. See the articles:

  • “Warbird reborn! A TBM metamorphosis” by Craig Justo in Classic Wings Vol. 13 (3): 26-32 (Issue #56) (The title page is reproduced below).
  • “Workhorse to Warbird” by Craig Justo in Flypast Nov. 2006 pp. 94-98. (Reproduced in part below).clip_image046[4]
    A page from the article “Workhorse to Warbird”, Flypast, Nov 2006. The top photo shows the avenger being stripped down; the numeral “2” and the FPL colours can still be seen.

3 thoughts on “C-GFPM / FPL #E21 #21 / Bu# 53857

  1. Beautiful new video of VH-MML TBM 441 from the May 13, 2019 airshow in Sydney, Australia in 4K resolution. Enjoy!

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