TBM Avenger Ida Red 

The Grumman TBF/General Motors TBM Avenger was a World War II-era torpedo bomber aircraft that first entered service in the United States Armed Forces in 1942. As with several other aircraft of the time, the TBF/TBM was developed to keep up with the quickly evolving demands of the war.  

In this case, the General Motors torpedo bomber was designed to replace the Douglas TBD Devastator. Designed by Leroy Grumman, the first TBM Avenger Warbird prototype flew on August 7, 1941, near Bethpage, New York, on Long Island. Despite the crash of one of the prototypes, production moved forward.  

The timing of the announcement to the public of the torpedo bomber Grumman designed is what earned the Avenger its nickname. The new torpedo bomber was announced on the afternoon of December 7, 1941, hours after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. The aircraft also earned the nicknames “turkey” and “pregnant beast” on the assembly line.  

Aircraft History

The TBM Avenger at The Hangar at 743 now flies under the name Ida Red. Ida Red was built in 1945 at the General Motors Eastern Aircraft plant in Trenton, New Jersey. She was delivered to the United States Navy as Bureau Number (Bu. No.) 53818 on June 28, 1945. Her first assignment was to the aircraft pool at NAS Alameda in Alameda, California, across the bay from San Francisco.  

At the time known as 53818, it transitioned to active service with VT-17 from September to December 1945. Due to the timing, it is unlikely that Ida Red saw combat with VT-17 and was probably used as a training aircraft.  

After World War II, the aircraft served with the Royal Canadian Navy and as a firebomber in California before Ralph Ponte purchased and restored it to its military configuration in the 1970s. The aircraft received the name Ida Red from its next owner, David Tinker, in the 1990s. The name comes from a song of the same name by Bob Willis and his Texas Playboys. Ida Red arrived in Albany in early 2022.  

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