The Sevogle Times site presents a brief history, including a USN aircraft history card, a bill of sale from the US government to Johnson Flying Service, some images and an accident report.
United States Navy. Eastern TBM-3E Avenger. Construction #: 2655.
Johnson Flying Service, Missoula MT
#A11 N7014C 1959-72
Based on the image below, Johnson Flying Service owned Avengers as early as 1959 and probably since the mid-1950s. Thomas Costello sent me on 28 January 2014 two black-and-white images of two Avengers on a grass airstrip near Spearfish, North Dakota. The Avengers were N3249G (see C-GLEN) and N7014C. Using the length of his hair, Costello places the images on 12 September 1959. (The other image shows an oblique view of N7014C with no recognizable marks, and with two boys in the foreground.)
Thomas Costello writes: “I am the bare footed young man in both pictures. My age appears to be the same as other photos known to have been taken in the summer of 1959. I was allowed to let my hair grow all summer but had to be clean cut for school. In the pictures I have a school haircut. School traditionally started the day after labor day which would have been Tuesday September 8 in 1959. This was the day I believe that the Deadwood fire began. I would have been in school until the weekend. From the shadows it appears to me this is late morning. If this were Sunday we all would have been in Church at this time, probably praying for rain. Saturday September 12, 1959 is a reasonable best guess as to the date of these photos.
“Both photos came into my possession years ago in a box full of other loose photos when I saved them from my Mother’s trash can, They then survived a fire, a flood, and a mudslide simply because they had not been placed in albums and left in living areas. I was cleaning out some stuff last week and came across the box and found these photos on top. Thanks to your web site I quickly learned the fate of these two TBM’s.
“Use the photos as you see fit. Publish them, crop them, whatever. They belong to the history of the TBM slurry bombers and all those who crewed them.”
Much has been written about the 1959 Deadwood Fire that caused much destruction in Deadwood, South Dakota, in the Black Hills. Apparently four “slurry bomber” air tankers were called in to fight the fire. Two of them, at least, belonged to Johnson Flying Service.
Aerial Spray Program – NB, Newfoundland
1966 – Pilot Green. 1967-1968 – Probably did not fly in NB. 1969 – Flew in NB and Newfoundland in 1969. Pilot Ray Green. 1970 – Flew in 1970. Pilot Green. Barrie Macleod tallied #A11 N7014C at the Fredericton airport, 25 May 1970. 1971, 1972 – Pilot Green.
1973 – “Ditched in lake during TBM formation forest spraying ops, Fort Kent, ME, June 4, 1973.” [Warbirdregistry]
Dave Newcombe posted this account of the incident (see Comment section below): I remember this TBM ditching very well as I was one of the pointers working the team. The end of the block was at the shore of Square Lake. He got too low & hit his prop on the water. It ripped off (later we saw it took part of the front gearcase with it & left some big bite marks on the wing & fuselage side). He went into the water right below us. We circled the plane while the other pointer A/C climbed up to make radio contact. Some nearby fisherman came over & pulled the pilot (can’t remember his name) into their boat. Back at Presque Isle he said he was mostly paralyzed by the cold water and was only moving his toes when they picked him up. Johnson got some help from the military to salvage the plane, dried her out, installed another engine & some instruments, and flew her back to Montana. We had a rep from Dow Chemical (suppliers of the Zectran insecticide we were spraying) with us for a joy ride. He sure got his money’s worth!
1974 – Johnson Flying Service sold #A11 to FPL.
Forest Protection Limited, Fredericton NB
#A11 C-GLEP 1974-1984
Aerial Spray Program – NB
1974 – FPL purchased #A11 in 1974 from Johnson Flying Service, Missoula, Montana, then dry leased it from Evergreen Air Services of Montreal. 1975 – Dry leased. Pilots Gummer and Greene. 1976 – Dry leased. Pilot Greene. 1977 – Pilot Greene. 1978 – Pilot Greene. Repainted and renumbered (#A11 to #11) to fleet standard after 4 July, 1978. 1979, 1980 – Pilot Greene. 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 – Pilot Provenzano.
Crashed 10 June 1984, at 5:35 h. TBM GLEP owned and operated by FPL and piloted by Mark Provenzano of Saskatchewan crashed in a wooded area some 12 miles southwest of McAdam (near St. Croix, York Co., western NB, close to the Maine border). The pilot was picked up by helicopter and flown to hospital in Fredericton; his injuries were a broken foot and multiple bruises. The aircraft was completely destroyed, and was picked up for salvage.
The pilot’s account of the crash can be found on The Sevogle Times page.