Saturday, September 15, 2012


GRAND JUNCTION, COLORADO | The Rocky Mountain Wing of the Commemorative Air Force based at Grand Junction Regional Airport , Grand Junction , Colorado , will host a reunion between Mr. Bryan Hayter of Toronto , Canada and the Wing's Grumman TBM "Avenger" September 20 at the Grand Junction Airport .
Sub Lieutenant Hayter operated this particular Avenger from the Royal Canadian Navy aircraft carrier, HMCS Magnificent, during the early 1950's. Mr. Hayter, has not encountered his old AS-3 anti-submarine warfare airplane since he flew her over five decades ago.
Mr. Hayter and the Avenger have a colorful history together. He and the aircraft were priviledged to fly in review of Her Majesty, The Queen of England at her Coronation Review of the Fleet in 1953. Although, Mr. Hayter was piloting a different Avenger that day at Spithead England . 2012 marks the official diamond jubilee of Her Majesty's coronation.
Later that same year, Mr. Hayter and Avenger 503 were minutes away from what almost became the largest peacetime mass ditching of aircraft at sea during Exercise Mariner conducted in the Mid Atlantic.
Having survived Mariner, the Avenger and Mr. Hayter later parted company. Mr. Hayter went on to take part in the formation of R.C.N.'s first anti-submarine helicopter squadron shortly before his retirement from the Royal Canadian Navy. The Avenger was "struck off charge" from R.C.N. inventory in 1958 and sold as surplus. The Avenger carried on in obscurity as an aerial sprayer until 1970 when she was acquired by the Confederate Air Force and painted in US Navy colors. Her 15 minutes of fame occurred in the opening scene of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where she portrays one of the famed Avengers of Flight 19 lost in Bermuda Triangle. She was later assigned to the new Rocky Mountain Wing of the C.A.F. and restored back to complete United States Naval configuration.
Mr. Hayter continued in aviation flying helicopters for Kenting Helicopters of Canada in support of oil exploration and forest fire fighting, including operating in the Gulf of Mexico. After an illustrious career, he retired in 1990 as Senior Vice-President of Marketing from Field Aviation of Canada.
For the reunion, the Canadian consul general of Denver is expected to attend as well as a representatives of Canadian companies doing business in Grand Junction and a vintage Sea Fury fighter in Canadian colors, a type that also operated from HMCS Magnificent.
For more information:
Denis Godfrey, Public Information Officer                       
970 261-1804
Bryan Hayter, circa 1953
Canadian - Grumman Avenger "503", circa 1953
CAF - Grumman Avenger "503", today
Col. Denis Godfrey - Public Information Officer
Rocky Mountain Wing

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