Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Hoisted Duck

The Grumman Duck was Roy Grumman's second major aircraft project, following the success of his FF-1 fighter. While working for Loening, Grumman and his engineering team had built the OL, which was used by the Navy, but by the early 1930s, was clearly outdated. Pleased with Grumman's work, they asked him to develop a successor, and result was the JF Duck, which took its maiden flight at the hands of Grumman test pilot Paul Hovgard on April 24, 1933.

After building 48 of the JFs, Grumman updated the design in 1936 with the development of the J2F. Very similar to the JF, the successor's main differences are a longer hull and 200 more horsepower under the cowling. Almost 550 updated Ducks were built, and served in a number of roles, from reconnaissance to search and rescue to target towing. They even served as an early form of COD, or Carrier Onboard Delivery.

A number of Ducks have survived and been restored, including one owned by Chuck Greenhill. This particular Duck actually survived the December 7th bombing of Ford Island, and its story can be read here. Warbird collector Kermit Weeks also has a beautifully restored J2F, which can be seen here. Another one, which had been license-built by Columbia Aircraft Corp., was owned by the famed Tallmantz company after it had completed its years with the Navy. After going through several other owners, it was donated to the EAA museum, and with the help of Grumman, was restored to flying condition, and can be seen here.

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