FLIGHT-19 PICS – A Tale of Two Planes and Two Numbers!

The Final Interpetation!

In conclusion, we have proven that there were indeed at least two different models of TBM’s being flown at NAS Ft. Lauderdale in December of 1945 TBM-1C’s and TBM-3’s.

Furthermore we can conclude that at minimum, the standard operating procedure (SOP) at NAS Ft. Lauderdale, if not the Navy in general, called for keeping the original FT plane tail registration numbers when aircraft were retired or wrecked and replaced with newer machines! Transference of these tail numbers to the newer planes, required changes in documentation to include the replacing of BuNo’s.

Therefore: there exists the possibility that there were likely at least two sets of Bureau numbers for per tail registration number on planes transferred in from NAS Miami to NAS Ft. Lauderdale, if not those transferred in from the Navy fleet as well.

In the end we cannot over emphasize the importance of not strictly relying on Navy plane tail numbers to identify planes. Matching documented serial numbers and justifying them with plane structure is key to accurately determining the identification of TBM Avenger plane wrecks specifically, and perhaps US Navy military aircraft of World War II in general.

FT-117
(Photo-4) This TBM-1C is perhaps the actual FT-117 plane of Flight-19 fame. (Circa 1943/44?) Note the camouflage pattern.   Photo courtesy of Naval Air Station Museum Ft. Lauderdale.

Additional Reference Materials

*1.) Walk Around Number 25, TBF/TBM Avenger, Lou Drendel, Squadron/signal Publications 2001, Carrollton, TX ISBN 0-89747-424-4

*2.) TBF & TBM Avenger in Detail & Scale #8253, D&S Vol. 53, Squadron/signal Publications, Carrollton, TX ISBN 1-888974-06-0

Pages: 1 2 3

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