Avenger is here for all to see

TRAVEL-MODE: Gisborne Aviation Preservation Society’s Grumman Avenger World War 2 torpedo bomber arrived on the back of a truck last week. This plane has folding wings for use on aircraft carriers. GAPS spokesman Granville Jones said Fulton Hogan brought her back, with special thanks to Alf Turner the chief and driver of a pilot vehicle, Patrick Dooling the “gofer” who also drove a pilot vehicle, and Kevin Brown the driver of the rig bringing her through. Pictures by Liam Clayton
Gisborne Aviation Preservation Society chief executive Roger van der Zanden fits and checks the propeller. Pictures by Granville Jones
Roger van der Zan Den, Classic Aircraft Museum’s Bruce Chapman (in the cockpit) and GAPS member Doug Bell fit and check the propeller and learn how to start her up.
At the first try, the old warbird roared into life with a puff of smoke.

Gisborne’s Grumman Avenger fighter bomber is back and ready for people to see and hear.

Gisborne Aircraft Preservation Society spokesman Granville Jones says the Grumman has been returned after a four-year rebuilding programme at Tauranga.

She arrived as planned in the early hours of the morning on Monday, October 28.

“She was lifted off the trailer and moved inside our hangar. This week some of the people who rebuilt her at Tauranga came through and refitted her propellor so we could give her a run.

“We pushed her outside and pressed the start button and with a great cloud of smoke, she roared into life,” Mr Jones said.

Although she will never fly again, the Avenger is complete. Her engine is able to run and her wings able to fold.

GAPS is happy to invite the people of Gisborne to check her out on any Sunday between 10am and 1pm.

“She is your aeroplane, so you are welcome to come and look her over. The charge is only a $2 coin for adults and a $1 coin for children.

Mr Jones hopes some might wish to join GAPS and come along and work on its projects.

GAPS is also building up to its next air show on January 9.

Supplied to the US Navy, this aircraft (NZ2505) has a strong connection with Gisborne. She was the first Avenger to arrive on the strength of the RNZAF when she arrived at Darton Field in 1943.

She served as a training aircraft at Gisborne throughout the war.

Later she was in use for towing targets and in topdressing trials.

After the war, she was sold to Waimato Aviation but was put in a kids playground at Opunake Beach. She next appeared at the Silverstream transport museum in 1972, before being acquired as a source of spare parts for the restoration of another Avenger by the RNZAF Museum in 1987.

She was loaned and eventually gifted to GAPS in 1999, who loaned her to Classic Flyers for restoration in 2014.

She was returned to GAPS fully restored but not in flying condition. The engine runs and she will be able to taxi and fold her wings.​

  • This aircraft first flew in 1941 and had a role as a torpedo bomber, although it also flew with a 2000lb bomb load. It was developed in America for the US Navy and Marine Corps but was also used by the British and Canadian navies and the New Zealand Air force.

It was built with folding wings to serve on aircraft carriers but was used by New Zealand as a land-based bomber.

Almost 10,000 were built by Grumman and General Motors.

It was powered by a Wright Cyclone twin cyclone radial engine. It carried a crew of three — a pilot, turret gunner and a bombardier/radio operator. It was heavily armed with a turret gun and guns in the wings and under the tail. The Avenger was the heaviest single-engine aircraft used in the Second World War.

Famous crew members included future US President George Bush, and film actor and director Paul Newman.

The Avenger attracted fame for the wrong reason when “Flight 19”, a group of five of these aircraft, mysteriously disappeared in the famous “Bermuda triangle” puzzle while on a training flight.

Gisborne’s Grumman Avenger fighter bomber is back and ready for people to see and hear.

Gisborne Aircraft Preservation Society spokesman Granville Jones says the Grumman has been returned after a four-year rebuilding programme at Tauranga.

She arrived as planned in the early hours of the morning on Monday, October 28.

“She was lifted off the trailer and moved inside our hangar. This week some of the people who rebuilt her at Tauranga came through and refitted her propellor so we could give her a run.

“We pushed her outside and pressed the start button and with a great cloud of smoke, she roared into life,” Mr Jones said.

Although she will never fly again, the Avenger is complete. Her engine is able to run and her wings able to fold.

GAPS is happy to invite the people of Gisborne to check her out on any Sunday between 10am and 1pm.

“She is your aeroplane, so you are welcome to come and look her over. The charge is only a $2 coin for adults and a $1 coin for children.

Mr Jones hopes some might wish to join GAPS and come along and work on its projects.

GAPS is also building up to its next air show on January 9.

Supplied to the US Navy, this aircraft (NZ2505) has a strong connection with Gisborne. She was the first Avenger to arrive on the strength of the RNZAF when she arrived at Darton Field in 1943.

She served as a training aircraft at Gisborne throughout the war.

Later she was in use for towing targets and in topdressing trials.

After the war, she was sold to Waimato Aviation but was put in a kids playground at Opunake Beach. She next appeared at the Silverstream transport museum in 1972, before being acquired as a source of spare parts for the restoration of another Avenger by the RNZAF Museum in 1987.

She was loaned and eventually gifted to GAPS in 1999, who loaned her to Classic Flyers for restoration in 2014.

She was returned to GAPS fully restored but not in flying condition. The engine runs and she will be able to taxi and fold her wings.​

  • This aircraft first flew in 1941 and had a role as a torpedo bomber, although it also flew with a 2000lb bomb load. It was developed in America for the US Navy and Marine Corps but was also used by the British and Canadian navies and the New Zealand Air force.

It was built with folding wings to serve on aircraft carriers but was used by New Zealand as a land-based bomber.

Almost 10,000 were built by Grumman and General Motors.

It was powered by a Wright Cyclone twin cyclone radial engine. It carried a crew of three — a pilot, turret gunner and a bombardier/radio operator. It was heavily armed with a turret gun and guns in the wings and under the tail. The Avenger was the heaviest single-engine aircraft used in the Second World War.

Famous crew members included future US President George Bush, and film actor and director Paul Newman.

The Avenger attracted fame for the wrong reason when “Flight 19”, a group of five of these aircraft, mysteriously disappeared in the famous “Bermuda triangle” puzzle while on a training flight.

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