History of N60634, Royal Navy 605

Stinson AT-19, serial number 77-333, was built in November 1944 as an AT-19-VW (under the designation Model V-77 of its parent company, Consolidated-Vultee Corporation) at the Stinson Aircraft factory in Wayne, Michigan (a Detroit suburb). Subsequently, the United States Government provided this AT-19, now carrying the U.S. Army Air Forces serial number 43-44046, to the United Kingdom under the Lend-Lease Program. The Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm assigned FB605 to this AT-19.

After being ferried to Newark, New Jersey, disassembled and crated, FB605 was shipped to the East Indies via a transport/cargo ship (lashed atop the ship as “deck cargo”). FB605 was assigned to a Royal Navy Aircraft Repair Yard in Coimbatore, East Indies and subsequently flew in the East Indies and, possibly, Ceylon, from November 1944 through November 1945. This aircraft’s specific use(s) and its assigned squadron(s) are unknown.

What happened to the Stinson AT-19’s when the war ended? Of the 478 AT-19s delivered to the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm (249 from first contract and 229 from the second contract), 47 were lost at sea, 79 were lost in accidents and 352 were left in inventory at the end of the war. Subsequently, all 352 AT-19s were returned to the United States and placed for civilian sale at Chambers Field, NAS Norfolk, Virginia.

Ex-Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm FB605 was placed for sale at Chambers Field, NAS Norfolk, Virginia by the War Assets Administration (WAA). Inspections of these aircraft “as is, where is” began in May 1946 and civilian sales began on June 3, 1946. All wartime logbooks and other paperwork were ordered destroyed by the WAA. New engine and airframe logbooks did not begin at the time of manufacture, but in 1946.

The War Assets Administration set the prices at $1500, $2000 and $2500, depending upon condition. The terms of the sale were cash only with no discount. Buyers were given fifteen days after their purchase to remove their airplane(s). For a period of fifteen days from June 3, 1946, sales were made to “priority claimants” (usually interpreted to be a veteran or a government entity), and only on a “first-come, first-served basis.” After June 17, 1946, these aircraft were made available to the general public.

A successful buyer had to contact the Civil Aeronautics Administration to receive a permit to fly their airplane home, only after it could be reassembled and was deemed airworthy by a CAA inspector. After that one flight, the airplane had to be grounded until a permanent airworthiness certificate was issued.

Using his “veteran” status for preferential purchase of an aircraft through the War Assets Administration, a Ralph C. Bordley of Baltimore, Maryland bought FB605 on July 23, 1946.

Shortly after its civilian purchase, ex-FB605 was registered with the U.S.’s Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) as NC60634 and a permanent civilian airworthiness certificate was issued in the fall of 1946. Since that time the aircraft has passed through several owners and has been based as far North as Wisconsin, as far West as California and as far East as North Carolina. At each stop, she was carefully maintained by her owners.

Royal Navy 605 has been a Commemorative Air Force asset since 1985. She was assigned to the Carolinas Wing of the CAF where she was lovingly maintained for 30 years. She has been with the Coyote Squadron of the Commemorative Air Force which is located in Corsicana, TX at the C. David Campbell Field since April 2015.