HU-16 Albatross
Grumman HU-16B Crew boarding their Albatross

(taken from: "Über uns der Himmel und unter uns die See", Fischer)

The history of the Albatross reaches back well into world war II. In 1944 the USAF ordered the development of an amphibious aircraft which was to be used for training future flying boat crews and serve as a Search and Rescue aircraft.
Three years later on 24th october 1947 the Grumman's wining proposal, the Albatross left ground for the first time.

Grumman HU-16B in it's element

(taken from: F-40 #15 "Grumman Albatross")

As the potential of the then used helicopters was deemed unsufficient in the field of sea rescue, the Bundesmarine decided to obtain five HU-16B from USAF inventory. These machines were accompanied by a further three HU-16A coming from US Navy stocks. After a complex modernization in the begining 1960s, all aircraft received the new designation of HU-16D.

HU-16 in early paintsheme during flight

(taken from: F-40 #15 "Grumman Albatross")

The aircraft were used alongside helicopters at MFG 5 in the SAR role quite effectively. Until 1965 900 sorties were flown and 44 people rescued from life threatening situations. Furthermore some 100 transfers of injured, 120 flights during catastrophies, 290 sea rescue and 300 ice rescue missions were flown.
From 1972 onwards it was clear the Albatross would be replaced by SH-34 and in the near future the britisch SH-3 derivative, the Westland Mk.41 Seaking. Both very capable SAR helicopters. In may 1972 the Albatrosses were flown to Hamburg and Bremen to be shipped back to the USA. Here they underwent another modernization and refitments by Consolidated Aero Export Corp. and were resold to new users.

HU-16 during landing

(taken from: F-40 #15 "Grumman Albatross")

Technical data:

Wingspan           : 24,40m
Length             : 18,90m
Height             :  7,30m
Weight empty       : 10800kg
max. Takeoff Weight: 15450kg
max. Speed         : 335km/h
Range              : 4350km
Serviceceiling     : 15000ft
Wright R-1820-76A  Cyclone
Thrust             : 2095kW
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