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HU-16 Albatross

By Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia,

HU-16 Albatross
Restored Navy UF-1/HU-16C BuNo 131906, built June 1953
Role Flying boat
Manufacturer Grumman
First flight 1949
Introduced 1949
Primary users United States Air Force
United States Coast Guard
United States Navy
Produced 1949-1961
Number built 466

U.S. Coast Guard Grumman HU-16E Albatross and a Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard in March 1964, probably at CGAS Mobile, AL
U.S. Coast Guard Grumman HU-16E Albatross and a Sikorsky HH-52A Seaguard in March 1964, probably at CGAS Mobile, AL

Air Force HU-16B
Air Force HU-16B

HU-16E on static display
HU-16E on static display

Chalk's International Airlines Albatross arriving in Miami Harbor from Nassau, Bahamas, in 1987
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.

Operational history

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.

Civil operations

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.
Preserved Hellenic AF aircraft at Dekelia AB.

Specifications (?)

Data from

General characteristics

  • 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)
  • Powerplant:
    • 2 or 4× 15KS1000 rocket, 1,000 lbf () each
    • 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.



See also

Related development

Comparable aircraft

External links

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Published in July 2009.

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