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.
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.
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.
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".
A total of 345 were built, with about 60 still airworthy today, most in private ownership, some of them in modified forms.
Accidents and incidents
Specifications (JRF Goose)
Published - July 2009
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