This is from a guy that has been restoring old planes for a long time, the latest is this one...he is in Spokane Washington....where I lived and worked for almost 10 years, the guy who keeps me up to date is the widower of my first roommate there...we both worked for Ma Bell, and the sender was stationed at Fairchild...
After 5 years of banging on the Goose most week nights and weekends with a host of skilled volunteers and family N95467 left the surly bonds of earth for the 1st time last Monday April 17 without a hitch. After the 40 min test hop over the airport out test pilot Fred Ball “Mr. Goose” gave rides to all our Goose project volunteers. Right after the ride session training for my son Jay and I started. After 2 ½ intense training days Jay and I were signed off and met insurance requirements. As of Wednesday night Hobbs shows nearly 20 hrs. on the airplane already. Ryan was also able to fly a bit with Fred and get a left seat taste of Goose nirvana as well. In time Ryan will get his MEL and MES in the Goose when Jay and I get up to speed to start training for him.
Our Goose N95467 SN 1161 was manufactured in 1942 as a lend lease JRF-6B for the British Royal Navy. It spent its post WW2 life flying Catalina island, the Caribbean and Alaska until the airplane was worn out and in need of massive repair work. While in the Caribbean it was owned by Charlie Blair and his movie star wife Maureen O’Hare who operated Antilles airlines. . It ended up in Palm Springs at the Bob Pond Air Museum as a static display for the 19 years before we purchased the airplane as a project .We disassembled the airplane and trucked it to Spokane in the Spring of 2012. After completion of our Waco Custom Cabin in the fall of 2012 the Goose restoration took off with an 8000 hrs. effort on major center section ,fuselage and wing repair. This endless effort was followed by all new systems and paint. I have always loved 1942 US NAVY tricolor paint scheme and wanted NAS Whidbey Island livery as we are from Washington state.
The aircraft check out was interesting and new to us as the Goose requires unique tail wheel aircraft techneque . Water work is amazing and we have a lot to learn before tackling other than benign water conditions for now. The Goose is proving to be one of my most rewarding flying experiences to date. Fred Ball our check pilot is a wealth of knowledge and skill with the airplane. Fred has 15,000 hrs. in the Goose and Widgeon. Operating the aircraft in an open ocean with high swells seems at this point unreal. We will keep the airplane in fresh water and easy water for the rest of its life.
My many thanks goes out to the Grumman flying boat operation and owner community which has been inviable to us the last 5 years. Our Fresh Covington R985 Pratts are turbine smooth, powerful and leak tight. Covington builds a great engine. We have 5 Covington engines in our fleet and all of engines give great performance and reliability. The 2 blade 22D30 Hamilton Standard long blade props pull very hard and provide great performance. Other than noise I am puzzled as to why so many Beech 18’s and most Gooses run 3 blade Hartzell props which do not perform as well require min RPM to feather and are extremely expensive?? There is a recurring AD on the Hamilton Standard props but our prop shop turns them in reasonable time and cost.