5 things you might not know about Grumman’s famous Torpedo Bomber.
The Grumman TBF Avenger, (designated TBM for aircraft manufactured by General Motors), is an American torpedo bomber developed initially for the United States Navy and Marine Corps, and eventually used by several air and naval aviation services around the world.
- The Avenger entered U.S. service in 1942, and first saw action during the Battle of Midway.
- Grumman’s first torpedo bomber was the heaviest single-engine aircraft of World War II, and only the USAAF’s P-47 Thunderbolt came close to equaling it in maximum loaded weight among all single-engine fighters, being only some 400 lb (181 kg) lighter than the TBF, by the end of World War II.
- The engine used was the powerful, twin-row Wright R-2600-20 Twin Cyclone fourteen-cylinder radial engine, which produced 1,900 hp/1,417 kW. The aircraft took 25 gallons of oil and used one gallon per minute at start-up.
- There were three crew members: pilot, turret gunner and radioman/bombardier/ventral gunner. A single synchronized .30 caliber machine gun was mounted in the nose, a .50 caliber (12.7 mm) gun was mounted right next to the turret gunner’s head in a rear-facing electrically powered turret, and a single .30 caliber hand-fired machine gun flexibly-mounted ventrally (under the tail), which was used to defend against enemy fighters attacking from below and to the rear.
- The Avenger had a large bomb bay, allowing for one Bliss-Leavitt Mark 13 torpedo, a single 2,000 pound (907 kg) bomb, or up to four 500 pound (227 kg) bombs. The aircraft had overall ruggedness and stability, and pilots say it flew like a truck, for better or worse.
Nick Ziroli (right) pilots the Grumman Avenger that is part of the American Airpower Museum’s collection located at the Republic Airport in Farmingdale, Long Island, NY.
Wingspan: 54 ft. 2 in.
Length: 40 ft., 11.5 in.
Height: 15 ft., 5 in.
Wing area: 490.02 ft²
Empty weight: 10,545 lb.
Loaded weight: 17,893 lb.
Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-2600-20 Twin Cyclone radial engine, 1,900 hp
Featured Flight Photo courtesy of Sal Calvagna.