A lot of TBMs crashed in New Brunswick over the years. Sometimes it was pilot error other times it was a maintenance failure of some sort. In May 1983 Tanker 19 lost a propeller blade on it's climb out from Sevogle Airstrip for a short test flight. The nose casing was immediately ripped away and the pilot was blinded by oil and smoke. He decided to evacuate the aircraft but as he got out on the wing he could see that he was too low to use the parachute safely. He then decided to climb back into the cockpit and ride the stricken machine in. He had just finished snapping the buckles on the harness shut when the thing started going through the tree tops. He survived with serious injuries. The TBM had a very strong cockpit section and was usually survivable in a crash provided the pilot had some kind of control.
The propeller failures were of some concern to the various people in charge but the matter was dealt with, so they thought, and the planes continued flying without incident for the balance of the season. In 1984 whilst taking off from Charlo, New Brunswick a TBM, Tanker 7, threw a blade at about fifty feet of altitude just as the undercarriage was retracting. Fortunately the runway was wide and long enough to accomodate the screaming, smoking brute as it came down. The impact was made with the nose and right wing low. The engine broke free and followed the fuselage, which was skidding down the runway tail first and on it's belly, as a bouncing ball of fire. The pilot survived unscathed. Ironically he had flown Tanker 13, another TBM, for years without any problems. An improved propeller overhaul technique eliminated the problem of the stress fractures.
To see photos of Tanker 19's resting spot near Sevogle click here.
| Here's a TBM pilot's
Muzzy:"Hey Woody, how come they make round engines round?"
Muzzy:"'Cause it's easier to roll 'em to the scrapyard."
Woody:"Got a cigarette?"
Question:"How many TBM pilots did it take to change a lightbulb?"
Answer:"Two. One to actually change the bulb and one to mix the drinks."
Small tears on the fabric control surfaces on the TBMs were repaired with duct tape, Canada's national cloth. TBM mechanics called duct tape "hundred mile an hour tape" for the obvious reason that it stayed on the Avengers.
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