1946 Grumman G44A Widgeon

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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 Widgeon, serial number 1435, was originally produced in 1946 with Ranger 6-440C-5 engines and Sensenich 82RS72 props.  It was sold to Link Aeronautical Corp of Binghamton, NY, on January 25, 1946.  It was sold to Ray McDermot & Co in 1955, where it was converted to Continental 0-470M of 240hp engines.  It was later fitted with Continental IO-470 260hp Engines.  In June of 1975, it crashed in Lake Borgne, near New Orleans.   It was salvaged and repaired,  It was sold to Dr. Perry Melvin in November of 1978 and went to Warner Robins, Ga.   Dr. Melvin kept the plane until the plane sold to Gainesville Aircraft Sales in 2016.   During Dr. Melvin's ownership, the aircraft went through a 9-year restoration process.     WaterWings Seaplanes purchased N86609 in August of 2020.   I say the plane when Dr. Melvin had it in Warner Robins in the winter of 2012 where I purchased an Aviat Husky from Dr. Melvin.   I was enamored with the Widgeon even then.

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Specifications

  • Crew                    1

  • Passengers        4

  • Length                31 feet 1 inch

  • Wingspan           40 feet

  • Height                 11 feet 5 inches

  • Wing Area            245 sq feet

  • Empty Weight     3240 lb

  • Gross Weight      4325 lb

  • Power Plant        2xRanger L-440-5 air-cooled inverted six-cylinder inline engines @ 200 hp each

Performance

  • Maximum Speed 153 mph

  • Cruise Speed       138 mph

  • Range                   920 miles

  • Service Ceiling    14,600 feet

  • Rate of Climb       700 ft/min

Armament

  • 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

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