The Grumman Avenger was designed as a carrier based torpedo bomber for the United States Navy and first flew in August 1941. The Avenger at Biggin Hill was built in July 1945 and served in a training capacity at San Diego before post war moving around a number of US Navy bases including Pearl Harbour. It served with a number of US Navy units including carrier based operations. It was retired from the US Navy and sold surplus in 1954. It was converted into an insecticide spraying aircraft and used in forest protection operations in the US and Canada through to 1992 when it was converted back to full military configuration for the Old Flying Machine Company based at Duxford in the UK. After two years in the UK it was shipped to New Zealand for the Alpine Fighter Collection based at Wanaka and then on sold to an Australian collector in 1998.
It returned to New Zealand on a 3,200 km ferry flight via Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands in February 2012 in time for the Ohakea and Wanaka air shows. This Avenger has a continuous flying history since 1945.
The RNZAF operated 48 Grumman Avengers, mostly from Bougainville during the Pacific War. They operated as bombers with 30 and 31 Squadron against Japanese targets alongside other RNZAF units. After the war a few Avengers were based at Ohakea with 42 Squadron as target tugs and operated through to 1959. In 1948 a modified Avenger was used for aerial topdressing proving trials at Ohakea and then from Hood aerodrome at Masterton.