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detail is everything

FAA MKI and MKII Avenger radio mast positions

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I make the following humble observation. I welcome any comments and corrections

TBF-1 and TBM-1 (FAA MKI)

Radio mast on top of the canopy sloped backwards slightly and was positioned on leading edge of cockpit bulkhead. Antenna lead in was below the rear canopy.

TBF-1C and TBM-1C (FAA MKII)

On American aircraft, the radio mast on top of the canopy was moved further aft and stood vertically. Antenna lead in was moved to the fuselage side below the turret.

Illustrations of FAA MKIIs often show this revised radio mast position. However, photographic evidence seems to indicate that the vertical and re-positioned masts as per TBF-1C and TBM-1C were not fitted to FAA MKII machines.

This might be due to the FAA specific crew layout not requiring a change of mast position between the two MKs or it might be that when Blackburn fitted the FAA required folding masts, they fitted them as per MKIs. However MKIIIs seem to have been delivered with re-positioned masts as per the TBF-1C and TBM-1C, so the reason is unclear.

Photos of possibleTBF-1C and confirmed (according to Sturtivant and Burrow) TBM-1Cs seen with TBF-1 and TBM-1 masts include;

FN912

Scale Aircraft Modelling May 84

TBF-1C?

JZ114

Model Aircraft Monthly Aug 05

TBF-1C?

JZ150

Internet – Britmodeller forum

TBF-1C?

JZ159

Air Britain Squadrons of the FAA

TBF-1C?

JZ229

Air Britain FAA Aircraft 1939-45

TBF-1C?

JZ396

Air Britain FAA Aircraft 1939-45

TBM-1C

JZ401

Aeroplane Monthly Nov 02

TBM-1C

JZ434

Scale Aircraft Modelling Feb 94

TBM-1C

JZ466

Model Aircraft Monthly Aug 05

TBM-1C

JZ496

Scale Aircraft Modelling May 84

TBM-1C

JZ497

Aeroplane Monthly Nov 02

TBM-1C

JZ535

Aeroplane Monthly Nov 02

TBM-1C

JZ541

Air Britain FAA Aircraft 1939-45

TBM-1C

JZ594

Scale Aircraft Modelling May 84

TBM-1C

JZ614

FAA in Camera 1912-96

TBM-1C

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I believe that whereas the Mk.Is and IIs were delivered under (residual) British contracts, the Mk.IIIs were delivered under Lend-lease directly to Australia, any trials example(s) excluded, and thus were to US standard. The same comment will apply to the FG-1s, Corsair Mk.IVs.

This poses a question I can't answer tonight - by this logic the Mk.IIIs will not have had the British interiors or bulged window.

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My understanding is that those MKIIIs delivered in 1944/45 (JZ635 to JZ720, KE430 to KE479 and possibly the re-conditioned examples in part of the VL994 to VL999 range) had the FAA specific mods as per earlier versions (dome windows, observers station, British equipment etc.). A quick look at the photos of JZ691 and KE461 in Eric Brown's Wings of the Navy, shows dome windows which would seem to confirm this.

It might be that the VL range MKIIIs might not have received the mods as these were presumable refurbished USN airframes, but there is no reason why Blackburn couldn't have worked on those as well?

The 100 serialled XB296 to XB332, XB355 to XB404 and XB437 to XB479. supplied in 1953 by the US under the MDAP, were initially fitted out by Scottish Aviation with basic British equipment fitted (radios, safety equipment etc. ) but no airframe changes made as per previous wartime TBM-3E airframes.

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