|C/n G-144, aka 51-0065 was originally delivered in 1952 as a short-wing SA-16A, |
but was modified with a long wing and ended up as an HU-16B. It's ultimate fate
is not known, but was probably scrapped.
Grumman’s Albatross series was, in many ways, the culmination of years of flying boat development, starting at the Company’s inception. As we’ve discussed before, what launched Grumman’s fortune was the incorporation of retractable landing gear into amphibian hulls, and a modified version of this system was used, albeit in a larger form, on the Albatross as well.
In an odd twist, though, the Air Force was, and ultimately became the largest operator of the flying boat. Eventually, the Navy and the Coast Guard realized the value of this rugged aircraft as well, operating them into the 1980s. Our photos are both official Grumman-issued 8x10 glossies, one of a USCG aircraft, and one from a service that you wouldn’t expect to see flying an amphibian: the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command, who used their Albatrosses primarily for executive transport.