Sponsored by Robert H. Storz Foundation


Aircraft Type: HU-16B, S/N 51-0006, Albatross, Grumman

Mission: Utility transport and air/sea rescue amphibian

Number Built: Grumman delivered a total of 297 SA-16As to the USAF; others were obtained on USAF contracts for foreign air forces under Mutual Defense Aid. Most of the SA-16As were assigned to the MATS Air Rescue Service. Because of increasing weight and decreasing p erformance, the Air Force sponsored a major modification program in the mid 1950s. The new aircraft designated SA-16B first flew in January 1956. The SA-16B differed from the SA-16A by the addition of 70 inch wing section outboard of the engine and a 39 in ch wing-tip extension coupled with leading edge wing camber to replace the leading edge slots. Because of the increased wing area, the ailerons, fin and stabilizers were increased in size. The SA-16B became the HU-16B in 1962. All but 21 of the SA-16Bs wer e converted from the SA-16A. The USAF retired their HU-16 in 1973 with some 55 being transferred to the Coast Guard.

Powerplant: Two Curtis-Wright R-1820-76A radial, air-cooled engines, 1,425 horsepower each.

Weight: Empty 20,100 lbs., Loaded 27,500 lbs., Maximum takeoff weight 37,500 lbs.

Dimensions: Wingspan 80′, Length 60’8″, Height 24’10″.

Performance: Maximum speed 270 MPH, Cruising speed 225 MPH, Service ceiling 21,500 feet.

Significance of Type

The Albatross began as a Navy aircraft. The initial Navy contract was for two XJR2F-1 prototypes, the first taking to the air on 1 October 1947. During development, the Navy had decided its initial order would be for Anti-Submarine-Warfare aircraft (ASW) designated PF-1As. The Air Force became interested in using the Albatross as a search and rescue platform (SAR) and ordered procurement as the SA-16. The initial Air Force order was for 52 SA-16s, the first of which was delivered in July of 19 49. Ironically the Air Force was the first service to receive a production aircraft, because the Navy had dropped its procurement of the Albatross as a ASW platform and instead ordered six UF-1 utility aircraft.

About Our HU-16B, S/N 51-0006 : The Museum’s HU-16B, S/N 51-0006, was manufactured as an SA-16A by Grumman, Bethpage New York, and delivered to the USAF on September 7, 1951. Below are the unit assignments of this aircraft:

September 26, 1951- To 2nd Rescue Squadron (FEAF), Clark AB, Philippines

November 7, 1951- To 3rd Rescue Squadron (FEAF), Ashiya AB, Japan

December 7, 1951- To 3rd Rescue Squadron (FEAF), Misawa AB, Japan

June 17, 1952- To 2nd Rescue Squadron (FEAF), Clark AB, Philippines

June 10, 1954- To 33rd Air Rescue Squadron (FEAF), Kadena AB, Okinawa

November 6, 1956- To 143rd Airlift Squadron (ANG), Green Airport, Puerto Rico

January 30, 1957- To Grumman, Converted to SA-16B

April 30, 1957- To 143rd Airlift Squadron, (ANG), Green Airport, Puerto Rico

November 10, 1958- To 22nd Helicopter Squadron (SAC), Goose Bay AB, Newfoundland

March 2, 1960- To 4082nd Strategic Wing (SAC), Goose Bay AB, Newfoundland

February 21, 1962- To 95th Strategic Wing (SAC), Goose Bay AB, Newfoundland

May 21, 1970- Dropped from inventory by transfer to the Strategic Air & Space Museum