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Grumman Goose

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

G-21 Goose
Role transport amphibious aircraft
Manufacturer Grumman
First flight 1937
Primary users United States Navy
United States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
Number built 345

The Grumman G-21 Goose amphibious aircraft was designed as an eight-seat "commuter" plane for businessmen in the Long Island area. The Goose was Grumman’s first monoplane to fly, its first twin-engined aircraft and its first aircraft to enter commercial airline service. During World War II, the Goose became an effective transport for the US military (including the Coast Guard), as well as serving with many other air forces. During hostilities, the Goose took on an increasing number of combat and training roles. In postwar use, the adaptable little transport continued in use.

Design and development

In 1936, a group of wealthy residents of Long Island, including E. Roland Harriman, approached Grumman and commissioned an aircraft that they could use to fly to New York City. In response the Grumman Model G-21 was designed as a light amphibian transport. The typical Grumman rugged construction was matched to an all-metal, high-winged monoplane powered by two 450 horsepower (340 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp Jr. nine-cylinder, air-cooled radial engines mounted on the leading edge of high-set wings. The deep fuselage served also as a hull and was equipped with hand-cranked retractable landing gear. First flight of the prototype took place on 29 May 1937.

The fuselage also proved versatile as it provided generous interior space that allowed fitting for either a transport or luxury airliner role. Having an amphibious configuration also allowed the G-21 to go just about anywhere, and plans were made to market it as an amphibian airliner. Some had a hatch in the nose, which could remain open in flight.


JRF-1 Goose
JRF-1 Goose

There were a number of modifications of the Goose, but the most numerous were those by McKinnon Enterprises, who made three different conversions. The first involved replacing the Goose's engines with four Lycoming GSO-480 piston engines. The second, named "Turboprop Goose" involved replacing the engines with two Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprops. The third and final variant was the "Turbo-Goose", which was based on the"Turboprop Goose", but with larger windows, and retractable floats on the wings.

New production

In November 2007, Antilles Seaplanes of Gibsonville, North Carolina announced it was restarting production of the Goose. PWC PT6A-34 turboprops will replace the original Pratt & Whitney piston engines, and the airframe and systems will be updated, increasing the seating capacity from eight to ten; the aircraft will be known as the Antilles Super Goose. The first example is now being assembled.

Operational history

Goose of the Royal Air Force
Goose of the Royal Air Force

Grumman G.21 of Alaska Island Air in 1989
Grumman G.21 of Alaska Island Air in 1989

Envisioned as corporate or private "flying yachts" for Manhattan millionaires, initial production models normally carried two to three passengers and had a bar and small toilet installed. As well as being marketed to small air carriers, the G-21 was also promoted as a military transport. In 1938, the US Army Air Force purchased the type as the OA-9 (later, in the war years, examples impressed from civilian ownership were designated the OA-13A). The most numerous of the military versions were the United States Navy variants, designated the JRF.

The amphibian was soon adopted by the Coast Guard and, during World War II, it also served with the RCAF in the transport, reconnaissance, rescue and training roles. The G.21 was used for air-sea rescue duties by the Royal Air Force (RAF). The RAF, in a common naming convention with all of its aircraft, designated the type as "Goose".

On returning to civilian service, after the war, the Goose found continued commercial use in locations from the wilderness of Alaska to the sunny climes of Catalina.

A total of 345 were built, with about 60 still airworthy today, most in private ownership, some of them in modified forms.


Military operators

 United Kingdom
 United States

Governmental operators

 United States

Civil operators

1942 Grumman Goose at Akutan, Alaska, operated by PenAir
1942 Grumman Goose at Akutan, Alaska, operated by PenAir

British Guiana Govt. Airways Grumman Goose c. 1955. Piarco Airport, Trinidad.
British Guiana Govt. Airways Grumman Goose c. 1955. Piarco Airport, Trinidad.
British Guiana
 Dutch East Indies
 United States

Accidents and incidents

  • June 22 1972. N1513V of Reeve Aleutian Airways written off at False Pass, Alaska.
  • September 2, 1978, Charles F. Blair, Jr., former Grumman test pilot and husband to actress Maureen O'Hara was flying a Grumman Goose from St. Croix to St. Thomas when the plane crashed into the ocean due to engine failure. He and three passengers were killed, seven passengers were severely injured.
  • On 3 August, 2008, a Grumman Goose of Pacific Coastal Airlines with seven passengers and crew crashed during a flight from Port Hardy to Chamiss Bay. The aircraft was completely destroyed by a fire. There were only two survivors.
  • On 16 November, 2008 a Grumman Goose of Pacific Coastal Airlines with 8 passengers and crew crashed during a flight from Vancouver International Airport to Toba Inlet, BC. The plane exploded into a mass of burning wreckage according to the lone survivor. This person was rescued up by the Coast Guard on South Thormanby Island off British Columbia's Sunshine Coast. The company resumed floatplane operations on November 19, 2008.

Specifications (JRF Goose)

General characteristics



Popular culture

  • In Jimmy Buffett's first novel, Where is Joe Merchant?, protagonist Frank Bama owned and operated a rebuilt Grumman Goose dubbed the Hemisphere Dancer. (The actual Hemisphere Dancer is a Grumman Albatross that belongs to Buffett and is now the centerpiece for his Margaritaville Cafe restaurant in Orlando, FL).
  • A Goose named "Cutter's Goose" is prominent on the 1980s series, "Tales of the Gold Monkey," a TV series starring Stephen Collins, inspired by the movie Only Angels Have Wings.
  • A Goose plays central part in Larry Nivens novel Dream Park.
  • In the popular Flight Simulation game, Microsoft Flight Simulator X, players can fly a Grumman Goose in multiple liveries. The aircraft is a detailed replica of the plane. Extensive research was done so that the plane was accurately depicted in the game.

See also

Related development

Related lists


External links

Text from Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License; additional terms may apply.

Published in July 2009.

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