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G-73 Mallard

Serving as the first of a series of amphibian flying boats of similar configuration but different size, the Goose was followed in 1939 by the 4525-pound Widgeon, the 12,750-pound G-73 Mallard in 1946 for private and short-haul use, and the 32,000-pound Albatros in 1947. Grumman Aircraft developed the Mallard for commercial use, and of these four flying boats it seems to have been the only one not to see military service. The Mallard retained many of the features of the smaller aircraft, such as twin radials, high wings with under wing floats, retractable gear and a large straight tail. Unlike the smaller aircraft, the Mallard features tricycle gear, a stressed skin two step hull, and wingtip fuel tanks.

The Mallard prototype first flew on April 30, 1946, and the first production aircraft entered service in September of that year. Because of the huge training program instituted by the Army Air Force during the war, airfields were now located across the country, and there really was no need for amphibian aircraft. Plus, the abundance of surplus cargo aircraft after the war made these types very inexpensive for small start-up airlines. Only 59 of Mallards were built between 1946 and 1951.

The only military operator was the Egyptian Air Force which received two Mallards in 1949. However, these were not genuine military aircraft; they had been selected in preference to the smaller Short Sealand to equip the Royal Flight. Luxuriously appointed, they were used by HRM King Farouk until his overthrow in 1952. Later they were used by General Mohammed Haguib, Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, and visiting dignitaries.

While the Mallard was designed for regional airline operations with two pilots and 10 passengers, most of the 59 delivered were for corporate use. As of 2001 only 32 Mallards remained registered in the US. After many years of operation, the remaining Mallards were experience wing spar fatigue and one was destroyed in a fatal accident in Miami in 2001, which resulted in the grounding of all Mallards until repairs could be made.



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