Flight 19, the markings
Based upon your question, you have been doing
your homework you already knew more than I did when I read your
email. To answer your question I turned to a REAL expert.
Ken Snyder. Ken is a naval aviator and a retired Commander. He also
volunteers at the Naval Air Museum at NAS Pensacola. The National
Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, FL is probably the
best air museum in the country, if not in the world. Thank you for
giving me an excuse to go out there again. That is always a treat.
Here is what he discovered for us. Flight 19 was led by FT-28, a TBM-3.
The other 4 aircraft were TBM-1Cs.
" The Disappearance
of Flight 19 by Larry Kusche, Harper and
Harper. The color, as you suggested is actual "Glossy Sea Blue,"
spec. number 15042.
Only known picture of a Flight 19 TBM.
The numerals "28" are barely visible on the lower side
of the cowl. Click on the picture for a larger view.
We could only find one picture
of the actual aircraft. It seems they weren't famous until it was
too late to get a picture. It
is really a picture of the men of the squadron but you can barely
read the number 28 on the lower front of the cowl.
Here are the numbers:
"Ordinarily, the aircraft assigned
to carriers were painted dark blue on top, medium blue on the sides,
and white on the bottom. Most of the Avengers at Ft. Lauderdale, however,
had been overhauled at Miami and were a dark blue.
Here is an actual paint diagram of a
TBM. This is only the prescribed way. Until we find a picture of
one of the actually planes we can't be totally sure. For example,
notice the Squadron ID is optional and we know for sure from the
above picture that FT-28 had 28 on the bottom front of the cowl
(not mentioned in the diagram.) It seems each base Commander had
quite a bit of latitude as to base markings.
Good luck with your model. Send us a picture
when you finish.
The Side number was painted on both sides in large letters
(see the attached paint diagram.) In addition, in small letters
on the side and bottom of the cowl (see actual picture of the front
of FT-28.) The F is the field designator for Ft. Lauderdale and
the T indicates Torpedo Training Unit.
Bureau Number is in small letters, along with the aircraft model
number, below the horizontal stabilizer on either side.
This is an actual
markings diagram for TBMs. The notations in red are my suggestions
for markings of the leader of Flight 19. Click the picture for a
in assumed markings based on actual photos of contemporary aircraft
from same squadron and base.
May 24, Ft. Lauderdale
Contacted Susan Gillis, Curator of Collections,
at the Ft. Lauderdale Historic Society
who provided the following information and the TBM photos on the
right. There are no known pictures of the actual aircraft involved
in "The Lost Patrol" but here are two pictures of other
aircraft from the same squadron and base from the same period. Note
the dash between the "F" and "T" also the number
was not on the side but on the tail and cowl.
Editor's note: I imagine there is a reader
somewhere with an old picture of one of the aircraft. If so, please
let me know. I will copy it for the site, donate a copy to the museum(s)
in your name and return the original to you.
May 30, Ft. Lauderdale
Also talked to Allan McElhiney of the Naval
Air Station Fort Lauderdale Historic Association who provided
the NAS Ft. Lauderdale logo shown on the right. Allan's organization
has saved the last old building from the airport. The building is
being restored and not is not quite ready for visitors but I will
let you know when it is. Allan too is looking forward to seeing
your model and requested that you consider his museum as a place
to display it when it is finished.
TBMs from the same base and squadron
as F-T 28 Click on thumbnail for larger view.
An Angry duck, riding on a torpedo, was the insignia of the Ft.
Lauderdale Naval Air Station
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