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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 11:15 am 
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As of just this month, 7 of the 13 Grumman G-111 conversions have been saved from scrapping and bought by a guy with a dream in Hannibal, MO. All of the G-111 Albatrosses that have been stored in Marana, AZ for the past 30 years without ever really being used or flown in commercial service since their conversion were obtained by Marsh Aviation a few years back to use in their "Wildfire" water bomber conversion project which among other mods were going to replace the R-1820 radial engines with TPE331 series turboprops. However, now it seems that Marsh has abandoned those plans and was all set to scrap these 7 G-111 aircraft - until Mike Barron of Barron Aviation Private Flight Services and the Rapid Descent Jump School in Hannibal, MO stepped in and bought up the entire lot. Now it is reported that he has just 18 months to make them airworthy enough to ferry back to Missouri (or presumably disassemble and truck them back) to keep them away from the scrap man! (The aviation equivalent of a boogeyman!)

Hats off to Mike! I'm sure that we all wish him and his crew the best of luck!

More on the story here: http://www.hannibal.net/news/20170127/hannibal-may-soon-be-home-to-flock-of-unique-aircraft

The aircraft in question are:

N112FB - registered as a 1979 Grumman model G-111 serial number 148328 (the 2nd to last UF-2 / HU-16 ever built and served with the JMSDF as no. 9055) it is really Grumman factory serial no. G-463 This one is the 'dark horse' or 'black sheep' of the G-111 family because apparently it never received the new titanium spar caps which granted the other aircraft indefinite service lives; because it retains the 7075-T6 Aluminum spar caps, it is officially limited to 8,900 flight hours.

N113FB - registered as a 1953 Grumman model HU-16E (there is no such thing - the first UF-2G / HU-16E conversion done for the USCG was started in December 1956 and not finished until April 1957) it was really a 1951 model SA-16A (HU-16A) USAF serial no. 51-7244 and Grumman serial no. G-332 that was later converted as a long-wing USAF SA-16B (HU-16B conversion project no. 56B) that later went to the USCG as no. 7244 but it now should be registered as a 1979 - 1983* Grumman G-111 (*since it was one of the last 9 G-111 conversions at St. Augustine FL under PC no. 1050, it is most likely a 1981 - 1983 model.)

N116FB - registered as a 1961 Grumman model G-111 (once again there is no such thing) it was really another ex-JMSDF model UF-2 (no. 9052) that was contracted through the US Navy as Bu. no. 148325 in 1961 but all along it was really Grumman factory serial no. G-460. It was one of the first 4 G-111 conversions done at Stuart, FL under PC no. 23 in the 1979 - 1980 time frame.

N118FB - currently registered as a 1960 Grumman model G-111 (ditto) it was really one of the Grumman design no. G-231 series built as models CSR-110 for the RCAF with the R-1820-82 QEC's to give it engine commonality with that services other Grumman S2F series Tracker aircraft. In the RCAF it was no. 9304 but it is really Grumman factory serial no. G-452 and it was one of the 'later' PC no. 1050 conversions done at St. Augustine, FL.

N119FB - currently registered as a 1960 Grumman model G-111 (ditto) it was an RCAF 'sister ship' of N118FB during which time it was RCAF serial no. 9308; it is really Grumman factory serial no. G-456 and was also a 'later' PC 1050 conversion at St. Augustine.

N122FB - currently registered incorrectly as a 1953 Grumman model HU-16E (again there is no such thing) it was really built originally as a short-wing USAF model SA-16A (HU-16A) with that service's serial no. 51-7168 but Grumman factory serial no. G-218. It was later converted to a long-wing SA-16B (HU-16B) for the USAF as Grumman project no. 74B (the 74th long-wing B model conversion done for the USAF.) I have no specific record that it was ever transferred to the USCG as a model HU-16E but this registration does tend to suggest that it was - where it was presumably identified as serial no. 7168. It was another 'later' G-111 conversion in St. Augustine under PC 1050.

N125FB - currently registered as a 1956 Grumman model HU-16E, it was really built in 1956 as a short-wing US Navy model UF-1 (HU-16C) Grumman factory serial no. G-432 and USN Bu. 141282. It was the 28th long-wing model G-211 conversion done for the USN (i.e. project no. 28D) but once again I have no record that it was ever transferred to the USCG as anything - which is supported by the fact that even though technically incorrect for purposes of civilian registration, it is still identified by its former USN Bu. no. 141282.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:29 pm 
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Maybe he could get the remains of the one at Chanute as well?

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:04 pm 
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A few years ago a friend of mine was doing ISR work for a European based company flying off the coast of Africa. He asked me what I knew about the Albatross. I told him I hadn't flown one but that some say they are the ultimate amphib. because of their versatility and hull design that can take higher waves/swells than earlier Grumman designs.
I told him about a friend's HU-16E that has been parked for about three years and was for sale. His boss, the owner of the company fell in love with the Albatross and almost bought it. The only thing, one thing really, was A) having to derate take off power on the radial engines because 130/145 octane gas isn't available, and B) the availability of 100 octane vs. JET A/JETB/JP-8 or diesel.
For that reason they bought Merlin IIIb's.

If I were the owner of those civilian certified G-111s, I would be talking to Basler about the feasiblity of converting them to PT-6's and other Basler upgrades.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:11 am 
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Last week, I was at Falcon Field. Behind a tall brick wall among S-3s there were two Albatrosses. One had remnants of a Navy scheme (and therefore isn't a G-111) the other had Chalks markings. Was th s a G-111?

Plus the scrap yards in Tucson still had several, probably a dozen. A couple were fairly complete, others were broken into sections.

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Last edited by JohnB on Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:27 am 
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marine air wrote:
If I were the owner of those civilian certified G-111s, I would be talking to Basler about the feasiblity of converting them to PT-6's and other Basler upgrades.

My understanding of it is that these seven G-111's were previously owned by Marsh Aviation who intended to convert them to 'Wildfire' water bombers including conversion to TPE331 series turboprop engines (you can Google 'Wildfire' and 'Marsh') but I have not yet heard why Marsh apparently gave up and abandoned the project. Wouldn't be surprised if some Forest Service or other federal types simply pulled the rug out from under them. The need for copious quantities of highly refined aviation gasoline is certainly the Achilles Heel of these large seaplanes.

_________________
“To invent the airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything!” - Otto Lilienthal

Natasha: "You got plan, darling?"
Boris: "I always got plan. They don't ever work, but I always got one!"

Remember, any dummy can be a dumb-ass...
In order to be a smart-ass, you first have to be "smart"
and to be a wise-ass, you actually have to be "wise"


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 9:35 am 
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JohnB wrote:
Plastered I was at Falcon Field. Behind a tall brick wall among S-3s there were two Albatrosses. One had remnants of a Navy scheme (and therefore isn't a G-111) the other had Chalks markings. Was this a G-111?

Plus the scrap yards in Tucson still had several, probably a dozen. A couple were fairly complete, others were broken into sections.

Dunno, but I am pretty sure that there was at least one non-G-111 in Chalk's colors at one time; according to my notes, Albatross serial no. G-407 was never converted as a G-111 but for a while was registered like the others as an "FB" for former TC holder Flying Boats Inc. - i.e. N114FB

It is now identified as plain "HU-16" serial no. 1311 and registered as N7973B - and that serial number indicates former service in the Coast Guard. My notes say it was built as a short-wing design no. G-64 specifically for the Coast Guard as a model UF-1G, USCG serial no. 1311, was later converted as a long-wing design no. G-234 (conversion project no. 15C meaning the 15th such conversion for the USCG) to make it into a model UF-2G or HU-16E after 1962.

_________________
“To invent the airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything!” - Otto Lilienthal

Natasha: "You got plan, darling?"
Boris: "I always got plan. They don't ever work, but I always got one!"

Remember, any dummy can be a dumb-ass...
In order to be a smart-ass, you first have to be "smart"
and to be a wise-ass, you actually have to be "wise"


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:24 pm 
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JohnB wrote:
Plastered I was at Falcon Field. Behind a tall brick wall among S-3s there were two Albatrosses. One had remnants of a Navy scheme (and therefore isn't a G-111) the other had Chalks markings. Was this a G-111?

I have seen three Albatrosses at the Marsh Aviation facility in Mesa, AZ (Falcon Field) and identified 2 of them. The one in Chalk's livery is in fact a G-111; it is N115FB, Grumman serial no. G-462 (incorrectly registered as HU-16E Navy serial no. 148327) and either way the 3rd to the last Albatross built by Grumman in 1961 - but of course as a G-111 it was officially rebuilt and re-certified as a zero-time "new" aircraft in the 1979 - 1983 time frame. As far as I can tell, it never served with the USCG so it can't be an HU-16E in any case. In most photos that I have seen, including Google maps/aerial views, it is closer to the flight line than the other two which are parked against the wall right by the adjacent street.

Image

The other one that I have identified is registered to Marsh as N70263, "HU-16 serial no. 7227" but it is really an HU-16E (built originally in 1953 as an Air Force SA-16A and later transferred to the Coast Guard and then converted to a long-wing design no. G-234 as project no. 13C (the 13th long-wing conversion done for the USCG.) It is actually Grumman serial no. G-309 and it is the one in any photos you find that is completely bare and unpainted.

Image

The third Albatross seems to be painted in a civilian scheme with white base coat with yellow, orange, and red stripes. I'm still working on identifying it. It appears to be a long-wing variant, has the large, 300 gal. drop tanks under the wings, and has no engines installed.

Image

_________________
“To invent the airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything!” - Otto Lilienthal

Natasha: "You got plan, darling?"
Boris: "I always got plan. They don't ever work, but I always got one!"

Remember, any dummy can be a dumb-ass...
In order to be a smart-ass, you first have to be "smart"
and to be a wise-ass, you actually have to be "wise"


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:28 pm 
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In regard to the "mystery" of the third Albatross at Marsh Aviation, I found out that N211MC (Grumman HU-16B serial no. G-174, ex-USAF serial no. 51-5292) is also still registered to "Stilwell Floyd Trustee" of Phoenix,AZ. Floyd Stilwell was the president and owner of Marsh Aviation up until about 2011 or so and he died in 2014 according to an obit I found online.

_________________
“To invent the airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything!” - Otto Lilienthal

Natasha: "You got plan, darling?"
Boris: "I always got plan. They don't ever work, but I always got one!"

Remember, any dummy can be a dumb-ass...
In order to be a smart-ass, you first have to be "smart"
and to be a wise-ass, you actually have to be "wise"


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 12:29 pm 
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double post...

_________________
“To invent the airplane is nothing. To build one is something. But to fly is everything!” - Otto Lilienthal

Natasha: "You got plan, darling?"
Boris: "I always got plan. They don't ever work, but I always got one!"

Remember, any dummy can be a dumb-ass...
In order to be a smart-ass, you first have to be "smart"
and to be a wise-ass, you actually have to be "wise"


Top
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