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Classic Wings Magazine WWII Naval Aviation Research Pacific Luftwaffe Resource Center
When Hollywood Ruled The Skies - Volumes 1 through 4 by Bruce Oriss


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:17 pm 
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In 1959 my Grandfather, the late Chris D. Stoltzfus, of Coatesville, PA purchased TBM-3N s/n 91637 from the Navy and registered it under N10164. He operated other TBM's for spraying and fire bombing but never operated this one. In 1970 he sold it to Walter Soplata who trucked it to Newbury Ohio.

Several years ago my Dad, brothers and I along with some of our sons were able to tour Walters collection with him describing each airplane as we went. It was a fun day. We knew he had this TBM and he told us all about bringing it home. We never pursued purchasing the airplane at that time.

Recently we heard the TBM could be bought. We met with the Soplata's and made an offer. About 2 months later we had an agreement and wasted no time getting it home. Fortunately for us, we live about 90 minutes away so a couple of day trips and we had the whole airplane home.

We know we have a lot of work ahead but we are looking forward to it. We intend to return the airplane to airworthy status with a paint scheme appropriate to its service. Registration N10164 was available so we will be able to keep that as it was.

When Grandfather purchased it, it was at the Navy base in Bainbridge MD. It may have been yellow at that time. The limited information we've been able to get includes service with FASRON 3 in 1948 then VCN-2 in Key West as a FAWTULANT aircraft also in 1948. If anyone has pictures or information relating to this airplane it would be much appreciated.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:24 pm 
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I can remember when I was about 10 or 12 there were DC-3's at your grandfathers place across the road from the Chester County Airport. I think at one time there was also a B-17. I also remember hundreds of 55 gallon drums around too. That was probably 50 years ago now that I think of it! Good luck with the restoration of the TBM!!!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:30 pm 
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LARGEFLYER wrote:
I can remember when I was about 10 or 12 there were DC-3's at your grandfathers place across the road from the Chester County Airport. I think at one time there was also a B-17. I also remember hundreds of 55 gallon drums around too. That was probably 50 years ago now that I think of it! Good luck with the restoration of the TBM!!!


You are correct. He had quite a few DC-3's over the years and sprayed lots of acres for mosquito and gypsy moth among other things. The B-17 is N5017N, now operated as Aluminum Overcast by EAA.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:57 pm 
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That is awesome, saving history, saving family history. Good luck with the restoration.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:26 pm 
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What kind of shape is the TBM in?

Since your grandfather never used this example as a sprayer, and Soplata never flew it, is it still largely "stock"?

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 4:34 pm 
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JohnB wrote:
What kind of shape is the TBM in?

Since your grandfather never used this example as a sprayer, and Soplata never flew it, is it still largely "stock"?


It sat outside at Soplata's since about 1970. The cockpit was somewhat covered but often inhabited by critters. The wings had been cut to allow hauling but its all repairable.

As far as "stock". Very. The bomb bay is very intact. Inside the fuselage is missing some pieces but we feel we have something good to start with. Missile racks, hard points etc are intact.

We spent Labor Day weekend giving it a good pressure washing inside and out. That was a good start. We have a few small projects to finish up in the shop then we'll get into a wing and see how it goes.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 5:14 pm 
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Congratulations Mark!
Welcome to the forum.
Please keep us posted on your progress with this excellent family project. :drink3:

Andy


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:05 pm 
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For those who do the Facebook thing and would like to follow progress, here's a link. Pictures are easy there.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2064196636947892/


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:04 pm 
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Twenty five years ago my dad bought a T-34B that was surplussed from the Navy. It hadn't flown for eight years and had been in outside storage at Pensacola for 5 years. So we expected a lot of corrosion. As it turned out the only corrosion was on the magnesium control surfaces.
I hope you guys are lucky and have only minimal corrosion in the TBM. It will be interesting to see how it has fared. The Navy got rid of the last of their TBM's in 1958. I thought yours was the TBM-3R COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) version . Dr. Dick Dieter had one in the 1980's and it had eight seats in it. IT was great fun to ride in. Noisy, breezy, stable, and if you are in one of the seats above the wing, you cant get down to see whats going on with the kids in the belly. Good luck and we would love to see pictures from time to time.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:05 pm 
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Twenty five years ago my dad bought a T-34B that was surplussed from the Navy. It hadn't flown for eight years and had been in outside storage at Pensacola for 5 years. So we expected a lot of corrosion. As it turned out the only corrosion was on the magnesium control surfaces.
I hope you guys are lucky and have only minimal corrosion in the TBM. It will be interesting to see how it has fared. The Navy got rid of the last of their TBM's in 1958. I thought yours was the TBM-3R COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) version . Dr. Dick Dieter had one in the 1980's and it had eight seats in it. IT was great fun to ride in. Noisy, breezy, stable, and if you are in one of the seats above the wing, you cant get down to see whats going on with the kids in the belly. Good luck and we would love to see pictures from time to time.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:27 am 
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This is SO great! Congrats on the purchase!

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 9:28 am 
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TBM of VCN 2/TBM-3N
http://collections.naval.aviation.museu ... FQuery.php
http://collections.naval.aviation.museu ... FQuery.php

You can request a copy of the Aircraft History Card from NASM. A simple e-mail request for BuNo 91637 and they will mail it to you for free.
https://airandspace.si.edu/collections/ ... tory-cards
https://airandspace.si.edu/archives-research-request

BuNo 91536
http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-2GciJ1Bo_b4/V ... ration.jpg

BuNo 91704
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-gv4L6MeAMeI/V ... %2Bweb.jpg


Last edited by mike furline on Sat Sep 08, 2018 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 5:53 pm 
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Love these happy stories. Thank God for Walter Soplata.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:07 pm 
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mike furline wrote:


My dad sent the request and we received 2 cards. The history we received is short and not totally legible but certainly better than nothing.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 2:57 am 
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What a wonderful story! I'll be following along on Facebook for sure!

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