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Grumman HU-16 Albatross

SA-16 Albatross from the Topps Wings Friend or Foe Trading Card Series
SA-16 Albatross
(from the Topps Wings Friend or Foe collection)

Grumman designed the versatile Albatross to meet a U.S. Navy requirement for an amphibious utility aircraft which could also operate from snow and ice with skis. During the Korean War, Albatrosses rescued almost 1,000 United Nations personnel from coastal waters and rivers, often behind enemy lines. They also made numerous dramatic and hazardous rescues in Southeast Asia, on occasion taxiing many miles over rough, open water when unable to take off.

The prototype first flew in October of 1947, and soon after the U.S. Air Force ordered a quantity for air-sea rescue duties as SA-16As. Grumman delivered 297 A models to the Air Force, mostly for the Air Rescue Service. In 1962 the USAF changed the designation to HU-16.

In 1955 Grumman developed an improved version with a 16 1/2 foot increase in wingspan and larger aileron and tail surfaces. Beginning in 1957, many A models were converted to the B configuration with these improvements.

HU-16 Albatross Specifications

Engines: Two Wright R-1820s of 1,425 hp each
Maximum speed: 250 mph
Range: 1,650 miles
Span: 96 ft. 8 in.
Length: 62 ft. 10 in.
Height: 25 ft. 10 in.
Weight: 36,000 lbs. maximum

HU-16B Albatross Photos

HU-16B Albatross S/N 51-7144 at the Museum of Aviation in Warner-Robins, Georgia
HU-16B Albatross S/N 51-7144
Grumman HU-16B Albatross, S/N 51-7163, on display at the Castle Air Museum in Atwater, CA
Grumman HU-16B Albatross, S/N 51-7163
Grumman HU-16 with United States Navy markings
Grumman HU-16 of the United States Navy