TBM-3E Avenger

TBM-3E N40402/BuAer 91426

Restored as USMC Squadron

VMTB-143 Aircraft "Doris Mae"

TBM-3E Avenger “Doris Mae” is a Grumman designed (TBF) aircraft built under license by GM in New Jersey in 1945.  Assigned initially to the US Marine Corps, this aircraft served as a replacement aircraft in several USMC training units in California from 1945 to 1948 and then was transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy in 1952.  It was modified by Fairey Aviation (Canada) as an AS3M for anti-submarine warfare (turret removed; ASW operator station installed in its place, and MAD boom installed).  It was then acquired by Forest Protection in New Brunswick (called Tanker 18) after this service; it was modified as a spray plane with a protruding conformal tank in the bomb bay (doors removed and discarded) and a fairing installed on the aft part of the canopy where the turret originally was.


The Avenger was bought by the CAF Stars & Stripes Wing in 2001 for $64,000 and flown to Frederick, MD, for restoration to the TBM-3E WWII configuration.  All flight control surfaces were recovered, new bomb bay doors bought for $20,000, and three decrepit turrets acquired from HQ CAF for $500 with partial restoration done by Col Norm Birzer.


The Avenger was moved to a restoration facility in Fawn Grove, PA, that fall. Significant restoration efforts began early in the first quarter of 2009, and final restoration of the TBM into its original WWII configuration was basically completed with over $200,000 spent in May 2014. Maintenance flight operations were done in early 2014 at Hagerstown, MD, and the FAA approval for return to flight status received and the aircraft flown to our facility in May.


According to research with the National Museum of the Marine Corps, TBM-3Es served in many Marine VMTB units in the Pacific: 131, 132, 134, 143, 232, 233, 234, 242, & 332.  After research on possible unit association and aircraft finish schemes for the TBM restoration, the Squadron decided to finish the aircraft as one of the USMC VMTB-143 TBMs assigned to the USS Gilbert Islands (CVE 107) carrying the markings of "P87" and nose art as "Doris Mae."  The primary flight crew of Doris Mae was 1st  Lt. William “Billy” Hay (Pilot) and Sergeant’s Charlie Hoke (Radio/Gunner) and Robert Cardno (Turret Gunner).

Book A Ride Today
20 Minute Ride Experience

The plane seats 2 passengers:

        Observer position.................................$ 695 

        Ball Turret position..............................$ 695 

Ride in the largest single-engine bomber built in WWII - the TBM Avenger! "Doris Mae" is the same type of aircraft flown by former President George H.W. Bush, which earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross and multiple Air Medals in the Pacific.

​ TBM Avenger Ride Flight Information

  • Flight experience is approximately 20 minutes.

  • Riders must be at least 12 years of age to ride. 

  • Riders between the age of 12 and 17 must have a legal guardian present at time of check in.

  • This flight is considered high for flight intensity.

TBF/TBM Avenger General Characteristics

  • Crew: 3

  • Length: 40 ft 11.5 in (12.48 m)

  • Wingspan: 54 ft 2 in (16.51 m)

  • Height: 15 ft 5 in (4.70 m)

  • Wing area: 490.02 ft² (45.52 m²)

  • Empty weight: 10,545 lb (4,783 kg)

  • Loaded weight: 17,893 lb (8,115 kg)

  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-2600-20

             Twin Cyclone radial engine, 1,900 hp (1,420 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 275 mph (442 km/h)

  • Range: 1,000 mi (1,610 km)

  • Service ceiling: 30,100 ft (9,170 m)

  • Rate of climb: 2,060 ft/min (10.5 m/s)

  • Wing loading: 36.5 lbf/ft² (178 kg/m²)

  • Power/mass: 0.11 hp/lb (0.17 kW/kg)

The CAF AirPower History Tour is a production of the B-29/B-24 Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force

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Visit FIFI  & Diamond Lil when they are not on tour: 

Vintage Flying Museum

505 NW 38th Street 

Hangar 33 South

Fort Worth, TX 76106