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The Rocky Mountain Wing's TBM Avenger is a favorite of the Colorado communities surrounding the Grand Junction Regional Airport where she has been based for more than 40 years. She always draws a crowd at the 12-18 airshows and events that she visits every year. She is our principle source of income that supports our Museum and educational outreach programs. Unfortunately, the double-whammy of COVID-19 restrictions and engine problems have kept her grounded for the past three years. The restrictions are lifting, but operating expenses and the cost of the engine overhaul aren't going away. We need a flying aircraft to restore income to pre-pandemic levels.
The TBM is a rare torpedo bomber which played a crucial role in the Pacific Theater. Of the nearly 10,000 TBM Avengers built fewer than 20 TBMs remain flying today. This Avenger served for a short time just after the end of WWII on the Carrier USS Leyte and then went on Lend-Lease to the Royal Canadian Navy. She flew Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) missions from the Carrier HMS Magnificent through 1958. During this time, she led a formation flight over Queen Elizabeth's 1953 Coronation Review of the Fleet, which set the stage for her addition to the Colorado and National Registers of Historic Places! We use the plane, and stories of the people who flew and supported it, to keep the memory, spirit, and values of the Greatest Generation alive for current and future generations.
Broken spacer bushings were discovered in the crankcase of the TBM’s big radial engine during a routine maintenance check in 2020, resulting in a costly IRAN (inspect and Repair As Needed). Unfortunately, the IRAN and additional inspections uncovered more issues with the engine. The TBM has been grounded until the engine was remanufactured - at a cost of $96,000, and another year of grounded TBM. Of course, Wing operating expenses have continued to increase, and our reserves are getting low. Rocky Mountain Wing members, friends, and Facebook followers have contributed to the TBM Maintenance Fund over the past three years, but we still have a long way to go until we get the TBM back in the air and generating revenue.
The Rocky Mountain Wing must get our TBM in flying condition before the start of the 2023 Airshow season to get our income back up to levels to support our other outreach activities. We've been debt free for most of our existence, but we've taken an HQ loan to cover the cost of the engine restoration, and need some short-term help until we get her back to work generating revenue. In the meantime, we're focusing our energy on a variety of recruiting and fund-raising events while maintaining (or hopefully growing) our educational and community outreach activities.
Our Members have worked hard to engage the local community in activities that center around our TBM Avenger and our mission to Educate, Inspire, Honor. In 2020 (the last pre-pandemic year) the Wing hosted 1,700 middle school students from three counties as part of their expanding Rise Above educational outreach program. Our goal is to expand the program to surrounding counties and home-schoolers. Despite the multiple setbacks, and with your help, we will get the Avenger back in the air and regain our pre-pandemic momentum.
ABOUT 12 PLANES OF CHRISTMAS
Each year the CAF holds an annual fundraiser to help support and highlight aircraft projects for planes in need of restoration, maintenance or repairs. Donors may contribute to a specific aircraft project or to the CAF’s Restoration Grant Fund.
Don’t want to donate online?
Call 877-767-7175 or mail check to: CAF Headquarters, P.O. Box 764769 Dallas, TX, 75376
The Restoration Grant Fund
The Restoration Grant Fund is a dollar-for-dollar match program created to help aircraft projects with the most need get back into the air faster.
Giving to a Specific Aircraft Project
If you have a particular affinity for an airplane, you can make a direct contribution to the aircraft.Scroll downto see all the projects looking for support.
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