1944 Grumman G-21A Goose, c/n B-101, CF-VFU, FIFT. Dockside somewhere up Knight Inlet, B.C., Canada in spring 1969.

[1959 Kodak Retina IIIS (Type 027) rangefinder 35-mm roll film camera, s/n 86125, with Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenon 50-mm f/1.9 Synchro Compur lens, s/n 6841319; Kodak Plus-X Pan (ISO 125/22°) 36-exposure black & white negative film]


© Copyright photograph by Uwe Kündrunar Scharnberg, 1969 / Stephan Alexander Scharnberg, March 2011





“The whole history of the Canadian North can be divided into two periods—before and after the aeroplane.”
Hugh L. Keenleyside, Deputy Canadian Minister of Mines and Resources, October 1949




Monday, May 9, 2011

1944 Grumman G-21A Goose, c/n B-101, CF-VFU, FIFT


1944 Grumman G-21A Goose, c/n B-101, CF-VFU, FIFT (Forest Industries Flying Tankers Ltd.), Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, based at Sproat Lake Seaplane Base (CAA9), Sproat Lake near Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, B.C.; powered by two 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-6 Wasp Junior supercharged nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial piston engines with constant-speed two-blade Hamilton Standard propellers. Dockside near the government wharf, Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, B.C. in summer 1968.

Dockside near the government wharf, Cowichan Bay, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada in summer 1968. Uwe and his forestry crew planted seedlings on the steep slopes of Knight Inlet, part of TFL (Tree Farm Licence) 17. The men in the photograph are unidentified. My father can not remember who they are. 

1944 Grumman G-21A Goose, c/n B-101, CF-VFU, FIFT (Forest Industries Flying Tankers Ltd.), Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada, based at Sproat Lake Seaplane Base (CAA9), Sproat Lake near Port Alberni, Vancouver Island, B.C.; powered by two 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-14B Wasp Junior supercharged nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial piston engines with constant-speed three-blade Hartzell propellers; amphibious flying boat hull; crew of two (pilot and co-pilot), eight passengers, commercial transport; built by The Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, Bethpage, Long Island, New York, USA at Plant 2, Bethpage, Long Island, New York (F); built as JRF-5 Goose (Model G-38), powered by two 450-hp Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-6 Wasp Junior supercharged nine-cylinder, single-row, air-cooled radial piston engines with constant-speed two-blade Hamilton Standard propellers; delivered as BuNo 84806 to US Navy in November 1944; US Navy surplus in 1945; converted to G-21A Goose; N62899; imported to Canada in 1967; CF-VFU, FIFT, Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada on April 7, 1967; engines upgraded, fitted with retractable floats and long-range fuel tanks in the wing centre section for a six-hour endurance; used to transport timber companies’ personnel; as my father was a treeplanting foreman with BCFP (British Columbia Forest Products), he and his crew flew on this aircraft up the central British Columbia coast in the late 1960s and early 1970s from Cowichan Bay on Vancouver Island to Knight Inlet; re-registered as C-FVFU; also used for forest patrols, support, and spotter, lead-in aircraft for FIFT’s two Martin JRM-3 Mars water bombers from 1980 to 1988; registration cancelled on September 28, 2001; registration renewed as C-FVFU, Flying Tankers Inc., Sproat Lake, Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada on September 28, 2001; fitted with the extended dorsal fin; visited Groningen Airport Eelde (GRQ), Eelde, Drenthe, Netherlands on November 9, 2001 en route to Austria and Croatia; registration cancelled on February 6, 2002; over 15,000 airframe hours; C-FVFU, C-Tec Ltd., Saint John, N.B., Canada on February 6, 2002; leased(?) as C-FVFU to European Coastal Airlines, Zagreb, Croatia; named Aline; refurbished at Salzburg Airport (SZG), Salzburg, Austria in March 2002; still carrying Canadian registration C-FVFU while operating in Croatia, even though registration cancelled on July 5, 2005 and deleted from Transport Canada website on July 8, 2005, therefore registration no longer valid; should be carrying Croatian registration, prefixed with code 9A-; European Coastal Airlines, established in September 2000, AOC issued in 2001, put on hold after September 11, 2001, re-launched in 2007, then attempted to launch scheduled services in 2008, AOC expired, commercial operation announced three times, failed three times, never in commercial operation in Croatia despite much promotion for over ten years; plans were for C-FVFU to fly regular scheduled flights between Zagreb and Mali Losinj, Zagreb and Rab, Zagreb and Rijeka, Pula and Rijeka (Flight Timetable valid on July 1, 2008 in planning phase and not yet activated); European Coastal Airlines expansion plans reported in July 2010; fleet includes one Lake LA-4-200 Buccaneer, two (plus six ordered) de Havilland Canada DHC-6 Twin Otters, and the Grumman G-21A Goose; launch of expanded services announced for May 2011; this Goose is an Annex II aircraft under EASA, no commercial operations (JAR Ops 1) allowed, apparently reason why still carrying Canadian registration; current status unknown.

Following year with engines and propellers upgraded, and fitted with retractable floats and long-range fuel tanks in the wing centre section for a six-hour endurance. Dockside somewhere up Knight Inlet, B.C., Canada in spring 1969.

Dockside somewhere up Knight Inlet, B.C., Canada in spring 1969. Forestry crew are unidentified.

[1959 Kodak Retina IIIS (Type 027) rangefinder 35-mm roll film camera, s/n 86125, with Schneider-Kreuznach Retina-Xenon 50-mm f/1.9 Synchro Compur lens, s/n 6841319; Kodak Plus-X Pan (ISO 125/22°) 36-exposure black & white negative film]

© Copyright photographs by Uwe Kündrunar Scharnberg, 1968–1969 / Stephan Alexander Scharnberg, March 2011

1 comment:

  1. Couple of things that you mentioned above about which you (and/or from whomever you got your information) were wrong; the Grumman G-21A Goose was never certified for "crew of two (pilot and co-pilot), [and] eight passengers" but actually for only 8 seats/people TOTAL. That's technically 1 pilot, someone in the "co-pilot's" seat (although an actual co-pilot was never required because the type was certified for less than 12,500 lbs) and only 6 more seats for passengers in the main cabin.

    You can check it for yourself - just go the FAA Regulatory & Guidance Library Web site at http://rgl.faa.gov/ and select the Type Certificate Data Sheets section, then look up TC no. 654 (aka ATC-654.) A total of only 8 seats are listed by their relative flight stations - the number of inches forward (negative) or aft (positive) of the reference datum, which in the case of the Grumman model G-21A Goose is the leading edge of the inboard wing section. The first 2 seat positions of the 8 listed there are at -5 inches (5 inches forward of the leading edge of the wing) and that makes them the pilot and co-pilot seats. The other 6 seats are 2 at +24, 2 at +62, and 2 at +102 for a total of only 8.

    Also, I find it curious that over the past couple of years I have started to hear about so many Grumman G-21A Gooses that were modified with long-range fuel tanks in their originally “dry” wing center sections. The only "approved data" pertaining to such a mod (at least that is as approved by the FAA in the United States) was McKinnon's STC SA1751WE, but that STC was never approved or valid for use on a Grumman G-21A Goose still nominally certified under ATC-654. STC SA1751WE was approved for and valid for use only on "McKinnon" model G-21C aircraft that were both re-certified under TC 4A24 and also modified with 550 shp PT6A-20 turbine engines per STC SA1320WE. That very specific “limitation” is explicitly spelled out right on the face of the STC itself. (You can also look up that STC in the Supplemental Type Certificates section of the FAA RGL Web site.)

    The same engineering drawings (blueprints) that were the basis for that STC modification were also used as an optional feature for all of McKinnon's production model G-21E and G-21G Turbo Gooses - all 3 of them; 1x G-21E (s/n 1211) and only 2x G-21G (s/n 1205 and 1226.)

    Even so, I have now heard of at least a half dozen Grumman G-21A Gooses that were similarly modified with the extended center section “wet wing” fuel tanks that converted the original two 110 US gallon inboard wing section tanks into two 168 US gallon fuel tanks (for a total of 336 US gallons) that filled the entire center section spar box structure between the engines, including the portion directly over the heads of the passengers in the main cabin.

    The only extended-range auxiliary fuel tanks ever specifically approved for use in a Grumman G-21A Goose still certified under ATC-654 were the 60 US gallon so-called “slipper” tanks that McKinnon developed and got approved by the FAA under STC SA4-683. They were called “slipper” tanks because they were “slipped” inside the spar box structure in the outer wing panels outboard of the engines. Wing ribs had to be removed to make room for them and they had their own “portal frames” (exterior perimeter structural members) that carried all of the structural loads previously carried by the original ribs.

    It really makes me wonder what the heck the people who were involved thought they were doing - and whether they were just ignorant of the regulations and requirements applicable to the maintenance and alteration of type-certificated aircraft, or simply ignored them.

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