IMAGES: World War II-Era TBM Avenger That Ditched Off Brevard Coast Pulled From Ocean

By  //  April 19, 2021

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aircraft forced to ditch in the surf due to engine failure off Patrick Space Force Base

The Valiant Air Command pulled the World War II era TBM Avenger out of the water that was forced to ditch in the surf due to engine failure off Patrick Space Force Base Saturday while performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show. (Mitch Varnes image)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Valiant Air Command pulled the World War II era TBM Avenger out of the water that was forced to ditch in the surf due to engine failure off Patrick Space Force Base Saturday while performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show.

The Valiant Air Command said the stricken aircraft was craned out of the ocean on Sunday and released the following statement:

“Most of you know that our TBM Avenger was forced to land due to engine failure. The good news is that the pilot is fine. The not so good news is that it may take several years to rebuild the Avenger.

This morning (Sunday), we have help from U.S. Coast Guard, the Brevard County Sherriff’s Office, Patrick Space Force Base Operations, Sea Tow Inc., Rice Towing, and various members from the museum, including Tom Reilly, Joe Cross, Leigh Lewis, Tracey Bohrmann, Tom Etter, Richard Jones, and many other members of the Valiant Air Command’s volunteer team.

We have had several questions regarding the museum’s TBM Avenger and her mishap during Cocoa Beach Airshow.

“The pilot performed the safest ditch maneuver possible, and landed the plane just offshore from Patrick Space Force Base. He was taken to the hospital after walking away from the incident, and he has been released with no injuries.”

“The Valiant Air Command, Inc. thanks you all for your kind thoughts and prayers.

“We are thankful that our pilot walked away unscathed from the incident. We are also thankful for all of your comments of support you have sent us this day.

If you would like to contribute to a restoration fund, although at this time we are unable to provide a status on whether this will be a static or a flying restoration, you can contribute HERE.

The Valiant Air Command pulled the World War II era TBM Avenger out of the water that was forced to ditch in the surf due to engine failure off Patrick Space Force Base Saturday while performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show. (Mitch Varnes image)
The Valiant Air Command salvaged the World War II era TBM Avenger that was forced to ditch in the surf due to engine failure off Patrick Space Force Base Saturday while performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show. (Valiant Air Command image)
The Valiant Air Command salvaged the World War II era TBM Avenger that was forced to ditch in the surf due to engine failure off Patrick Space Force Base Saturday while performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show. (Valiant Air Command image)

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BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Airshow fans  got more than they expected on Saturday afternoon about 1:15 p.m. when a World War II era TBM Avenger was forced to ditch off Cocoa Beach due to mechanical issues.

According to reports, no one was injured in the incident, as crews rescued the pilot who was participating in the “Warbird Parade” when the accident happened.

According to the show promoters, this TBM Avenger was restored in January.

The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway. Despite the loss of five of the six Avengers on its combat debut, it survived in service to become the most effective and widely-used torpedo bomber of World War II, sharing credit for sinking the super-battleships Yamato and Musashi and being credited for sinking 30 submarines.

Greatly modified after the war, it remained in use until the 1960s.

The Federal Aviation Administration and National Transportation Safety Board will conduct an investigation of the incident.

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