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Grumman HU-16 Albatross

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HU-16B Specifications

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two to four
Wright R-1820
2 x1,425 hp ea.
62 ft. 10 in.
96 ft. 8 in.
22,880 lbs.
35,700 lbs.
165 mph
220 mph
1,200 fpm
22,000 feet
2,850 miles

Grumman HU-16
Grumman HU-16 Albatross
Click on the picture to hear the wav sound.

The Grumman HU-16 Albatross is credited with the rescue of thousands of airmen from coastal waters and rivers during the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

The twin radial engine Albatross is an amphibian aircraft with the ability to perform a variety of missions. It can operate with skis from snow and ice, from land, or water.

After World War II the United States miliary wanted a replacement for its aging fleet of amphibious aircraft. While surface vessels can carry out search and rescue missions, they are slow and can only cover a minimal search area. In contrast amphibious aircraft are able to ranch out over vast areas of ocean on a single mission.

Realising the strategic necessity for effective amphibious aircraft in the U.S. military inventory, the government issued a requirement for a large amphibious design that could easily handle four foot seas, and land in seas up to ten feet if necessary.

Grumman's design, that became the HU-16 Albatross, was based on an enlarged version of their Mallard aircraft. It was selected, in part, because it employed some of the familiar elements of its predecessor aircraft. It was powered by higher performance 1,425 h.p. Wright Radial R-1820 engines, with a stronger fuselage for taking the punishment of landing in rough seas.

Because of the long duration of maritime missions, crew comfort was taken seriously. The aircraft received sound proofing to protect the crew against the noise of the radial engines.

The first of three prototype aircraft first flew on Oct. 24, 1947. The Grumman HU-16 Albatross first entered service in 1949 with the United States Air Force.

The "B" version, with a 16 foot longer wing, was introduced in 1955. Prior to its last designation as HU-16 beginning in 1962, the U.S. Air Force designated the aircraft as SA-16, the U.S. Navy as JR2F-1 and the U.S. Coast Guard as UF-1.

The amphibian first saw action with the U.S. Air Force in Korea, where it was employed to rescue numerous air crews from waters off the coast. It was there that it became known for its ability to handle rough waters. The amphibian was again used by the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, where it flew many rescue missions.

The U.S. Air National Guard, part of the U.S. Air Force, used a small number of HU-16 aircraft for insertion and extration of their Special Forces units.

The HU-16 was deployed for search and rescue missions from U.S. Navy bases in the United States and throughout the world. In addition, they also used the aircraft for utility operations and some missions into Vietnam. We have seen numerous uses of the term "skunk runs" in regard to those missions, but can not find the meaning of the term. If anyone knows, please email us.

Martin J. Simpson (a26invader@btinternet.com) emailed us: "I understand that "skunk runs" were covert missions undertaken by navy aircraft to pick up and drop of U.S. agents from pre-arranged pick up points." - Thank you, Martin, very much for that explanation.

The U.S. Coast Guard also deployed the Grumman HU-16 Albatross, primarily for rescue missions, from intercoastal waters to long range missions over ocean waters.

During the years a number of air carriers converted the HU-16 to use for passenger service. The conversions included engine modifications for safety and longevity, redudant fire extinguishers for each engine, prop auto feathering, strengthening the wings, adding and enlarging doors and hatches. The amphibians have also been sold to individuals for non-commercial use.

A total of 466 Grumman HU-16 Albatross aircraft of all types were produced.

Grumman HU-16
Grumman HU-16 Albatross

Pictured above and immediately below is the Grumman HU-16 by G & P Sales. It has a 61" wingspan and can be powered by two .20 - .28 engines.

Grumman HU-16
Grumman HU-16 Albatross

Grumman HU-16 Albatross

For those who like electric power, HVP Modell has a 56" wingspan Grumman HU-16. Power can come from two 400 size motors.

Grumman HU-16
Grumman HU-16 Albatros

If you like a larger electric powered airplane, Velkom has a 66" wingspan Grumman HU-16 Albatross. Velkom recommends two AXI 2820/10 motors for power.

Kit Cutters has a Grumman HU-16 with a 96" wingspan. Plans are from SPPS.

Hirobo has a Grumman HU-16 Albatross. It has a 56" wingspan and is 36" long. Construction materials used are a gel coated epoxy fuselage and balsa over foam wings. You can power it with a pair of 380 type motors.

Joe Elston of RC Universe was seeking a Grumman HU-16 Albatross.

Fast Freddy of RC Universe was asking about the Grumman HU-16 Albatross.

Hawkeye of RC Universe posted comments about a Grumman HU-16.

PJC of RC Universe was looking for a Grumman HU-16 Albatross plan or kit.

At RC Universe tex 1790 had questions about a Grumman HU-16 Albatross kit.

At RC Universe viper 24 was asking about a Grumman HU-16 Albatross kit.

At You Tube jaglavaksoldier posted a video of an actual Grumman HU-16 Albatross.

At You Tube mooping 39 posted a video of a Grumman Hu-16 Albatross.

At RC Groups kestrel2003 started a thread about constructing a Grumman HU-16 Albatross from a kit.

At RC Groups jerzy had a Grumman HU-16.

At RC Groups burntkat was looking for a kit of the Grumman HU-16 Albatross.

At RC Groups gambit7 has a Grumman HU-16 for sale.

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