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Grumman HU-16 Albatross
Restored Navy UF-1/HU-16C BuNo 131906, built June 1953
Role Flying boat
Manufacturer Grumman
First flight 1949
Introduced 1949
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Coast Guard
United States Navy
Produced 1949-1961
Number built 466
U.S. Coast Guard Grumman HU-16E Albatross and a Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard in March 1964, probably at CGAS Mobile, AL
Air Force HU-16B
HU-16E on static display
Chalk's International Airlines Albatross arriving in Miami Harbor from Nassau, Bahamas, in 1987

The Grumman HU-16 Albatross is a large twin-radial engine amphibious flying boat. Originally designated SA-16, it was renamed HU-16 in 1962.

Contents

Design and development

An improvement of the design of the Grumman Mallard, the Albatross was developed to land in open ocean situations to rescue downed pilots. Its deep-V cross-section and substantial length enable it to land in the open sea. The Albatross was designed for optimal 4 ft seas, and could land in more severe conditions, but required JATO for takeoff in 8-10 ft seas or greater.

Since the aircraft weighs over 12,500 pounds, pilots of US-registered Albatross aircraft must have a type rating. There is a yearly Albatross fly-in at Boulder City, Nevada where Albatross pilots can become type rated.

Operational history

The majority of Albatrosses were used by the U.S. Air Force, primarily by the Air Rescue Service, and initially designated as SA-16. The USAF utilized the SA-16 extensively in Korea for combat rescue, where it gained a reputation as a rugged and seaworthy craft. Later, the redesignated HU-16B (long-wing variant) Albatross was used by the U.S. Air Force's Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service and saw extensive combat service during the Vietnam conflict.

The U.S. Navy also employed the HU-16D Albatross as a Search And Rescue aircraft from coastal naval air stations, both stateside and overseas. It was also employed as an operational support aircraft worldwide and for "skunk runs" from the former NAS Agana, Guam during the Vietnam War. Goodwill flights were also common to the surrounding Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in the early 1970s. Open water landings and water takeoff training using JATO was also frequently conducted frequently by U.S. Navy HU-16s from locations such as NAS Agana, Guam; Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii; and NAS Pensacola, Florida, among other locations.

The HU-16 was also operated by the U.S. Coast Guard as both a coastal and long-range open ocean SAR aircraft for many years until it was supplanted by the HU-25 Guardian and HC-130 Hercules.

Civil operations

In the mid-1960s the U.S. Department of the Interior bailed 3 military Grumman HU-16's from the U.S. Navy and established the Trust Territory Airlines in the Pacific to serve the islands of Micronesia. Pan American World Airways and finally Continental Airlines' Air Micronesia operated the Albatrosses serving Yap, Palau, Chuuk (Truk) and Pohnpei from Guam until 1970, when adequate island runways were built, allowing land operations.

In 1970, Conroy Aircraft marketed a remanufactured HU-16A with Rolls-Royce Dart turboprop engines as the Conroy Turbo Albatross, but only the single prototype (registration N16CA) was ever built.

Many surplus Albatrosses were sold to civilian operators, mostly to private owners. These aircraft are operated under either Experimental - Exhibition or Restricted category and cannot be used for commercial operations, except under very limited conditions.

In the early 1980's Chalk's International Airlines owned by Merv Griffin's Resorts International had 13 Albatrosses converted to Standard category as G-111's. This made them eligible to be used in scheduled airline operations. These aircraft had extensive modification from the standard military configuration, including rebuilt wings with titanium wing spar caps, additional doors and modifications to existing doors and hatches, stainless steel engine oil tanks, dual engine fire extinguishing systems on each engine and propeller auto feather systems installed. The G-111's were only operated for a few years and then put in storage in Arizona. Most are still parked there, but some have been returned to regular flight operations with private operators.

Accidents and incidents

Variants

  • XJR2R-1 - Prototype designation, two built.
  • HU-16A (originally SA-16A) - USAF version
  • HU-16A (originally UF-1) - Indonesian version
  • HU-16B (originally SA-16A) - USAF version (modified with long wing)
  • SHU-16B (modified HU-16B for Anti-Submarine Warfare) - export version
  • HU-16C (originally UF-1) - US Navy version
  • LU-16C (originally UF-1L) - US Navy version
  • TU-16C (originally UF-1T) - US Navy version
  • HU-16D (originally UF-1) - US Navy version (modified with long wing)
  • HU-16D (originally UF-2) - German version (built with long wing)
  • HU-16E (originally UF-1G) - US Coast Guard version (modified with long wing)
  • HU-16E (originally SA-16A) - USAF version (modified with long wing)
  • G-111 (originally SA-16A) - derived from USAF, JASDF, and German originals)
  • CSR-110 - RCAF version

Operators

 Argentina
 Brazil
 Canada
 Chile
 Republic of China
 Colombia
 Germany
 Greece
 Iceland
 Indonesia
 Italy
 Japan
 Malaysia
 Mexico
 Norway
 Pakistan
 Peru
 Philippines
 Portugal
 Spain
 Thailand
 United States
 Venezuela

Survivors

Preserved Hellenic AF aircraft at Dekelia AB.

Specifications (HU-16B)

Data from Albatross - Amphibious Airborne Angel [3]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 4-6
  • Capacity: 10 passengers
  • Length: 62 ft 10 in (19.16 m)
  • Wingspan: 96 ft 8 in (29.47 m)
  • Height: 25 ft 10 in (7.88 m)
  • Wing area: 1035 ft²[4] (96.2 m²)
  • Empty weight: 22,883 lb (10,401 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 30,353 lb (13,797 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 37,500 lb (17,045 kg)
  • Powerplant:Wright R-1820-76 Cyclone 9 nine-cylinder single-row air-cooled radial engine, 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) each
  • Fuel Capacity: 675 US Gallons (2,550 L) internally, plus 400 US Gal (1,512 L) in wingtip floats plus two 300 US Gallon (1,135 L) drop tanks

Performance

Armament

None

See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

References

  1. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. http://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=20091105-0. Retrieved 7 November 2009. 
  2. ^ http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=372
  3. ^ Dorr 1991, p.196.
  4. ^ Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p.230.
  • Dorr, Robert F. "Albatross - Amphibious Airborne Angel". Air International, October 1991, Vol. 41, No. 4. ISSN 0306-5634. pp. 193–201.
  • Swanborough, Gordon and Peter M. Bowers. United States Navy Aircraft since 1911. London:Putnam, Second edition, 1976. ISBN 0 370 10054 9.
  • Production listing, source for Variants section

External links


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