A TBM Avenger from the Valiant Air Command performing at the Cocoa Beach Air Show in Florida put on a show for some people on the beach on Saturday when the pilot set it down in the surf for a textbook ditching. Audio in the accompanying video features the staccato notes of a dying radial engine as the big single-engine attack aircraft settles softly into the chop in front of astonished beachgoers. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to land in the water,” said one of several cellphone videographers who caught the landing. The pilot was uninjured and the aircraft does not appear to be seriously damaged.
The plane was part of the warbird lineup at the show, which also featured the Thunderbirds, F-35 and various other acts. The show continued Saturday and Sunday. The Valiant Air Command is based in nearby Titusville and has about 50 aircraft. The Avenger came out of an 18-year restoration in late 2020 and its first flight was last Jan. 11. It was delivered to the Navy in 1945 was used for firefighting in California and Georgia before being acquired by the Valiant Air Command in 2002.