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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.
Design and development
The Albatross was designed to be able to land at sea in open ocean situations in order to effect the rescue of downed pilots. Its deep-V cross-section and substantial length helped make it possible for it to land in wavy conditions.
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 renew their type ratings.
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, 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, the aircraft saw extensive 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.
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, but Chalk's International Airlines flew five examples on scheduled services from Florida to various points in the Bahamas, landing in lagoons and other water strips.
- 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
- 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
- HU-16D (originally UF-2) - German version
- HU-16E (originally UF-1G) - US Coast Guard version
- HU-16E (originally SA-16A) - USAF version
- G-111 (originally SA-16A) - USAF version
- CSR-110 - RCAF version
- Republic of China
- United States
Preserved Hellenic AF aircraft at Dekelia AB.|
- HU-16B, AF Serial No. 51-5282, at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio. This was USAF's last operational HU-16. On 4 July, 1973 it established a world record for twin-engine amphibians when it reached 32,883 feet. Two weeks later it was flown to the Air Force Museum.
- Jimmy Buffett's Hemisphere dancer, now the centerpiece of Universal Studios' Margaritaville Cafe in Orlando, Florida.
- Restored Navy UF-1/HU-16C, Navy Bureau Number (BuNo) 131906, originally built June 1953
- Swimwear manufacturer Billabong operates a well-equipped Albatross for surf touring.
- Quiksilver also operates a similarly-equipped Albatross for surf touring.
- Several private owners have Albatrosses equipped with sleeping quarters which can be used as an airborne recreational vehicle (sleep-aboard), either at an airport or on the water.
- HU-16B Albatross, AF Serial No. 51-7163, at Castle Air Museum adjacent to the (former Castle AFB, Atwater, California
- Two HU-16B's of the Hellenic Air Force are on display at Dekelia (Tatoi) Air Base, north of Athens.
- An HU-16E of the United States Navy (BuNo 141266) and an HU-16E of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG 7236) at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida. These aircraft were the last operational HU-16s in their respective services.
- An HU-16A, AF Serial No. 51-0022 at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.
- An HU-16E, USCG 7250, at CGAS Cape Cod at Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts.
- An HU-16B, AF Serial No. 51-1280, adjacent to the 58th Special Operations Wing compound at Kirtland AFB, New Mexico.
- An HU-16E, USCG 7247, at CGAS Elizabeth City, North Carolina.
- Crew: two, pilot and co-pilot
- Capacity: up to 30 passengers
- Length: 62 ft 10 in (19.16 m)
- Wingspan: 80 ft 0 in (24.4 m)
- Height: 25 ft 10 in (7.8m)
- Wing area: 883 ft² (82 m²)
- Empty weight: 20,000 lb (9,100 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 33,000 lb (15,000 kg)
- 2 or 4× 15KS1000 rocket, 1,000 lbf () each
- 2× Wright R-1820-76 Cyclone 9 radial engine, 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) each
- *Fuel Capacity :1,075 gal plus 2-300 US gal drop tanks (4,000 L plus 1,100 L drop tanks)
- Maximum speed: 205 knots (236 mph, 380 km/h)
- Cruise speed: 130 knots (150 mph, 241 km/h)
- Range: 2,477 nm (2,850 mi, 4,587 km)
- Service ceiling: 21,500 ft (6,553 m)
- Additional lift utilizing two or four RATO 15KS1000 units with 15 seconds of solid propellant.
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Published - July 2009
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