Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Goose, Mallard, and the Albatross

In July I did a blog post about the Grumman Goose largely because I feature this plane in my upcoming novel “Leviathan Deterrent”, which will be published later this year, the sequel to my first novel “Whisper.”  I mistakenly stated in that post that this is the same plane that is used in the movies “The Expendables” and that they wreck in the “The Expendables 2.”  It was actually a larger later version, the Grumman Albatross that they used in the Expendable movies.

The Grumman Goose originated in 1936 as a rich mans water taxi to get from Long Island to New York.  For those interested in the history and specs of this grand plane and the one featured in my upcoming novel which is to be released soon.
See my post from July.  http://thomaswilsonstoryteller.blogspot.com/2012/07/grumman-goose.html

After the success of the Goose and World War II, Grumman Aircraft developed the larger Mallard for commercial use.  It had many of the features of the smaller craft (the Goose and Widgeon) such as the twin radial engines, high wing, underwing floats, retractable gear and a slightly larger tail.  They built 59 Mallards between 1946 and 1951.

Crew: 2                       Capacity: 5,000 lb. or 17 passengers.
Length: 48ft 3in.         Wingspan: 66ft 7in.                Height: 18ft 9in.
Max Speed: 215mph.              Cruise Speed: 181mph.
Range: 1,289 mi.                     Ceiling: 24,500ft.

An improvement of the design of the Grumman Mallard, the Albatross was developed to land in open ocean situations to rescue downed pilots and other flight crew members.  The HU-16 was the largest twin engine amphibian built by Grumman Aircraft.  The prototype made its first flight on October 24, 1947.
Originally designated as the SA-16 for the U.S. Air Force which ordered 297 for use in the air-sea rescue role, as the 'Albatross' was able to operate from land, water, and snow and ice when fitted with skis.  Produced from 1949 – 1961, where they produced 466 of these amazing planes, primarily as a search and rescue and combat search and rescue aircraft.  The primary users were the U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and the Hellenic Navy (Greece) along with 21 other countries.  The Albatross was redesignated as the HU-16 in 1962.
Its deep-V hull 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 (jet-fuel assisted take off, or simply booster rockets) for takeoff in 8 - 10 ft. seas or greater.
The majority of Albatrosses were used by the USAF, primarily by the former Air Rescue Service.  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 – with a 16 ½ foot increase to the wing span) Albatross was used by the U.S. Air Force's Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service and saw extensive combat service during the Vietnam War.  In addition a small number of Air National Guard, air commando groups were equipped with HU-16s for covert infiltration and extraction of special forces from 1956 to 1971.
Chalk's International Airlines Albatross arriving in Miami Harbor from Nassau, Bahamas, in 1987.

In the early 1980s Chalk's International Airlines owned by Merv Griffin's Resorts International had 13 Albatrosses eligible to be used in scheduled airline operations.

Crew: 4-6                    Capacity: 30,353 lb or 10 Passengers.
Length: 62ft 10in.       Wingspan: 96ft 8in.                Height: 25ft 10in.
Max Speed 236 mph.              Cruise Speed: 124 mph.
Range: 3,220mi.                      Ceiling: 25,000ft.

Please excuse my oversight on my original post.  Consequently we all get to learn about the growth, development and just a sliver of the history of the awesome amphibious flying boats, which are not only beautiful to behold but highly effective and versatile aircraft.


Liam1694u said...

I'm not convinced it's an albatross used in Expendables movie either. I've been searching online to find out what plane it is. But the nose is all wrong for an albatross. As are the wings. They are flat and squared off, while the albatross' wings and tailpiece round off more at the ends. The wingspan also looks too big by about 10-15 ft to be an albatross.

Ian Fortenbacher said...

hey pal , try a CL-215 . It's Canadian and used a lot in forest fire preventions etc .

Anonymous said...

They switched to a CL-215 in the sequel but the original plane was indeed an Albatross.

Willem Dierijck said...

What exact Albatross variant did they use for the first Expendables? I found a registry list that mentions a HU-16E however the wings appear a little on the short side for a variant that supposedly received the extended wings.

Willem Dierijck said...

Nevermind, that one is registered PP-ZAT, ex Brazilian Air Force and the sole airworthy Albatross at the time.

Anonymous said...

Incorrect. There are a good number of airworthy albatrosses flying around.

Anonymous said...

And there has been for a long time.

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