G-21 / G-26 / JRF Goose / OA-13
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 developed the G-21 Goose as a civilian transport aircraft and put it on the market in 1937. According to Pearcy, however, Grumman originally marketed a twin-engine monoplane flying boat, then-designated the G-3, to the Coast Guard in 1930 but the Coast Guard declined interest at that time.
What must be regarded as one of the most long-lived flying boats ever produced was introduced by the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation in 1937. The twinengine Grumman G-21 was fffectionately known as the Goose. With the two cowled, 450-horsepower, radial, air-cooled engines mounted in the leading edge, the cantilever wing was located at the top of the hull. Lateral stabilization on the water was provided by tip-mounted floats, and the landing gear retracted neatly into the sides of the hull. Split trailing-edge flaps were incorporated in the wings, and power and efficiency were enhanced by controllable-pitch propellers. The aircraft was of all-metal construction except for the rear portion of the wing, which was covered with fabric. Depending on the interior arrangement, accommodations were provided in this 8000-pound aircraft for a crew of two or three and four to seven passengers. The Goose has been used by private owners, airlines, charter operators, and the military services. Even 45 years after its introduction, at least two short-haul airlines utilizing water and land facilities employed the Grumman Goose in daily operation.
The Navy began acquiring the G-26 version in 1938 and designated them as JRF. They were a monoplane, high-wing twin engine amphibian with retractable landing gear. The Navy utilized them as transport aircraft but the Coast Guard saw their value as search and rescue seaplanes. The Coast Guard purchased seven JRF-2s (G-39s) and three JRF-3s between 1939 and 1940. Many were fitted with de-icing boots along the leading edges of the wing surfaces for northern service. All were fitted with electric starters and automatic pilots and were capable of carrying a single-lens aerial mapping camera. The Coast Guard purchased 24 of the G-38 model, designated JRF-5G, beginning in 1941.
Prior to the war these amphibians carried out search and rescue as well as aerial mapping flights and participated in the Coast Guard's contribution to the enforcement of the Neutrality Patrol. During the war, the JRFs conducted search and rescue operations, hunted submarines (depth charges or bombs could be loaded under the wings), and transported supplies and personnel.
Most of the remaining Coast Guard's JRF-2/3s were disposed of shortly after the end of World War II while many of the JRF-5Gs remained in service with the Coast Guard until 1954. The crash site of Coast Guard JRF V175 in Alaska has recently been located.
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