United States Navy. 1957 Eastern Grumman TBM-3E. Construction #: 4426.
Reeder Flying Service, Twin Falls, ID
#D11 / #11 N4171A 1963-1972
Aerial Spray Program – NB
1971 – Pilot Lawrence. 1972 – Pilot Gossett.
N4171A Restoration – Corky Meyer
Phil M. Schmidt writes:
Bob [Forbes] handed me a magazine article printed from the journal 36, Warbirds, pp 49-52, “An Avenger of Fate” written by Corwin “Corky” Meyer telling of his remarkable experiences in the 1940’s and how he rebuilt the Atlantic Fleet Avenger TBM-3 N4171A. Corky started as one of Grumman’s test pilots for the XTBF-3, the prototype TBM-3 before it went into production with General Motors, Trenton. He continued as project test pilot on many subsequent Warbirds and eventually became President and CEO of Grumman Gulfstream subsidiary. The story details the 1991-94 ground up phoenix style “oreols to antennae mast” restoration of N4171A even after the original airframe was lost in a hanger fire.
N4171A is currently owned by Freeberg Family LLP, Escondido, California (purchased for $…K “not saying”) and now Bob Forbes pilots this beauty for them, possibly out of Ramona! It’s painting represents the Jeep Carrier (CVE) Composite colors of the Atlantic Fleet Squadrons. They were used in the Battle of the Atlantic as Nazi submarine hunters having had the gun turret removed and extending the canopy. A third swivel seat was installed in place of the turret for observers to eyeball spot most of the subs that were found and sunk. Bob invited me down for a visit to Ramona, saying “you know we have a TBM there”. So I look forward to setting that up sometime soon!
Louis Deterding, Havre, MT, 1977.
Donald J. von Siegel, Parkin, AR, 1984-1987.
Corwin H. “Corky” Meyer, Ocala, FL, 1988-1994. Fuselage destroyed by fire during restoration, 1989. Rebuild completed using fuselage from Bu. 53489. First flight, May 5, 1994. Flew as USN/25. Meyer tells the story of N4171A’s restoration in great detail in “An Avenger of Fate,” Warbirds Worldwide No. 36, p. 49-52.
Stephen M. Hay, Lansing, IL (later Syracuse, IN and Tucson, AZ), 1994-1998.
Wawasee Airport Inc, Syracuse, IN, Apr. 28, 1998-1999.
Northern Indiana Aviation Museum, Goshen, IN, 1999-2002.
Freeberg Family LLP, Escondido, CA, Feb. 2003-2008.
TBM Avenger Llc, Huntington, IN (present owner)
Aerial Visuals has 6 images of the restored #25 dated between 2004 and 2017.
Comments by Phil M. Schmidt
Bob Forbes flew N4171A to Hemet then over to the Miramar air show last week for display with two other TBM’s. Phil Schmidt, Hemet, CA 10-09-2011
This TBM-3E was restored to the Atlantic configuration by Corky Meyer as #25 (he was test pilot 25 for Grumman for years) now owned by a family estate in Escondido, CA.
Last year Bob Forbes, me and many others had to bid farewell to USN 25 here on the west coast. Tim Savage recently flew it to participate in the Peru, Illinois 2cd annual 2017 TBM Gathering. Epic!