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Grumman J4F-1 Widgeon

The Grumman G-44 Widgeon was designed and built as a smaller, less expensive version of the Grumman Goose. It first flew in June 1940. 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 Mallard in 1946, and the 32,000-pound Albatros in 1947.

The Coast Guard purchased 25 Grumman J4F-1 aircraft, a light amphibian (a plane that can land on land or water) utility transport, for search and rescue duty. They were purchased in two batches beginning in 1941 and the initial order consisted of eight aircraft, purchased under contract TCG-33459, with the first aircraft delivered from Grumman on 7 July 1941. These aircraft were given USCG service numbers V197 through V204. The following year the second batch, consisting of 17 aircraft, was acquired under contract TCG-34026. The first J4F from this batch was delivered to the Coast Guard on 25 February 1942 and the final was delivered on 29 June 1942. These aircraft were given the service numbers V205 through V221.

The J4F-1 purchased by the Coast Guard differed from their civilian counterparts only in the addition of a hatch on top of the fuselage, just behind the wing, for loading stretchers. Also, a wing rack was added to each aircraft beneath the starboard wing. These racks could hold a depth charge, a bomb, a raft, or search and rescue gear. Many J4F's were assigned to coastal anti-submarine patrols and one, piloted by Chief Aviation Pilot Henry C. White, was erroneously credited with sinking the U-166 on 1 August 1942 in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Widgeon reaminss a very popular aircraft. As of 2006 there were 118 Widgeons registered with the Federal Aviation Administration, 26 of which were in Alaska.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:33:22 ZULU