National Treasure Needs A New Home!
We need a new home for our Historic TBM Avenger and Aviation Heritage Museum. They both deserve better than their current cramped, crowded quarters!
TBM N53503 has an interesting history - interesting enough to have earned a listing on the Colorado State and National Registers of Historic Places! She served for a short time just after the end of the War on the Carrier USS Leyte, and was then transferred on Lend-Lease to the Royal Canadian Navy where she flew ASW missions from the Carrier HMS Magnificent for many years. She earned her first claim to fame during a port stop in England in June of 1953, where she was chosen to lead a multi-plane flyover of Queen Elizabeth's coronation celebration!
After she retired from military service, she was configured as a fire bomber and flew for a Canadian company until she was retired (again) and acquired by the CAF in the '60's. She was in pretty rough shape, but still running. That made her perfect for her second claim to fame - a starring role in Steven Spielberg's 1977 classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
She was assigned to the CAF Rocky Mountain Wing (Grand Junction CO) in 1981. RMW members spent 4-years restoring her to her original configuration in 1985. We have been caring for her and exhibiting her around the Southwest ever since. She received her third claim to fame in 2017 as the only aircraft ever listed on the Colorado Register . Her most recent claim to fame is her National Registry Listing in 2018, putting her in seriously rarified air. Only six other aircraft have earned this honor, and only one of the others is still flying!
Help us get an appropriate home for this national treasure!