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1942 Grumman G44 Widgeon

History of the Grumman Widgeon

The Widgeon was developed in 1940 as a smaller version of the venerable G-21 Goose.   Grumman felt that there was a need for a smaller executive transport plane needed.   Its FAA Type certificate A-734 as 5 PCL-AmFbM.   This means that it is a 5 Place cabin amphibian monoplane.  The type certificate was issued on April 5, 1941, as a G44.   The widgeon was quickly pressed into service in World War II as an Army OA-14 and a Navy J4F-2.   The G44A was approved in October of 1945.    Widgeons served as observation planes and sub hunters.   They would carry 200lb depth charges for submarine hunting and could be armed with guns as well.   Widgeons have served in militaries all over the world.   The Royal Navy called them Goslings.   The French produced a number of Widgeons called SCAN-30s under license.   Overall, Grumman produced 276 Widgeons including 176 for the military and 76 G44A models.  The French built 41 SCAN-30s.  After the war, Grumman improved the hull by deepening the "V" on the forward hull to improve water handling.

Widgeons were originally equipped with Ranger 200hp engines and wooden fixed-pitch propellors.   This combination was not a great performer, especially on one engine.   After the war lighter and more powerful engines were available and most widgeons have been converted.   Notable conversions include the 240hp Continental 0-470, the 260hp Continental IO-470, Lycoming GO-435 and GO-480, Continental IO-520, Lycoming TIO-540, and even round Lycoming 680-13 engines.

Our World War II Warbird Widgeon, serial number 1267, was originally USCG V219.  It was delivered to the USCG in June of 1942 as one of 25 ambulance Widgeons.   The ambulance Widgeons have barn doors on the top of the fuselage to enable stretchers or machine guns. Its military designation was J4F-1.   It was declared surplus in December 1946 and given the civil registry of N91040. Howard Morton purchased in April of 1947 for $5,000.   In 1964 it was sold to Kodiak Airways in Alaska where it remained until 1976.   It got converted to a Dean Franklin Super Widgeon in 1967 with Continental IO-470M engines.   The Dean Franklin Widgeons are significantly faster (15-20kts) than most IO-470 Widgeons.  This one struck a rock landing in Portage Lake in Alaska in 1972 and suffered some damage which was repaired and the plane went back into service.   In 1985 the plane was completely disassembled and repaired due to extensive corrosion.   It was converted to Continental IO470E engines at that time.   In 2019 it was bought by Tim Pope of Natron Air to be used for fishing trips and bear viewing trips.  Tim made some nice upgrades.  New engines, windows, Garmin radios, L3 ADSB transponder, overhauled engines, and props. WaterWings bought the plane in June of 2020.   We made an epic journey to Soldotna, Alaska to inspect and buy the aircraft.    We flew it home via the ALCAN highway.   Some of those pictures are above.  Our Widgeon has a max gross weight increase to 5500lbs on land and 5200lbs on water.   The engines are 260hp each.    There are 6 seats in this airplane.


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N91040 Specifications

Original Specifications

  • Crew                    1

  • Passengers        3

  • Length                31 feet 1 inch

  • Wingspan           40 feet

  • Height                 11 feet 5 inches

  • Wing Area            245 sq feet

  • Empty Weight     3240 lb

  • Gross Weight      4525 lb

  • Power Plant        2xRanger L-440-5 air-cooled inverted six-cylinder inline

    • engines @ 200 hp each


  • Maximum Speed 153 mph

  • Cruise Speed       138 mph

  • Range                   920 miles

  • Service Ceiling    14,600 feet

  • Rate of Climb       700 ft/min


  • Guns 1 or 2 .30 Caliber  or .50 Caliber machine guns

  • firing out the side windows

  • 1 200 lb depth charge in anti-submarine mode

grumman color logo 0060183-large.jpg
N91040 in water in alaska.jpg
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