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.
 Meet 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.

Ken Snyder

 FT-28 Front
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:



 TBM-3 (Leader)  FT-28  23307
 TBM1C  FT-3  46094
 TBM1C  FT-36  73209
 TBM1C  FT-81  46325
 TBM1C  FT-117  45714

"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.

" The Disappearance of Flight 19 by Larry Kusche, Harper and Harper. The color, as you suggested is actual "Glossy Sea Blue," spec. number 15042.

 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.
** The 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 larger view.

Big changes 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.

TBM 106 Fome same Squad
TBM 77 Fome same Squad
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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