On May 20th 1975, TBM Avenger (call sign CF-ZYC) flew her last contract spray mission as ‘Tanker 20’ based at Juniper Airstrip, New Brunswick. On that day, an experienced pilot encountered a loss of power shortly after take-off and had no other choice but to crash land his aircraft in a forested area nearby, luckily for the pilot he escaped the ordeal with only minor injuries.
But our Avenger story does not end there!
It was during the summer of 1996, a dedicated team of Atlantic Canada Aviation Museum volunteers obtained permission, via New Brunswick’s Forest Protection Ltd. (FPL) and J.D. Irving Woodland, to locate and retrieve the crashed Avenger.
After many months of clearing and navigating treacherous forest lands, which were over 300 feet away from the nearest road, the group finally managed to carefully strip and prepare the recovered hulk for transport via some specially designed skis that were fashioned from guard rail sections at Caldwell & Ross Construction Ltd., Fredericton. Then on January 10th 1997, the aircraft was towed back to its original Juniper Airstrip – 22 years after it left there on its final flight. It was in July of that year that the Avenger was transported to the FPL base in Fredericton and restoration began in earnest.