Our Grumman Widgeon is a rugged, dependable, 5 passenger, twin-engine amphibious airplane built by the Grumman Aircraft Corporation of Bethpage, New York in 1943. Little brother to the Grumman Goose, Mallard and Albatross, the Widgeon is at home landing and taking off on both land and water. This Widgeon spent its first years in military service with the US Navy. After its stint with the Navy the airplane was used by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service first in S.E. Alaska and then back in the Washington, D.C. area. In 1953 the stock Ranger engines were removed and replaced with 270 horsepower Lycoming models. These larger engines enable the Widgeon to haul up to 5 passengers and/or freight to an 1100 pound total at a cruising speed of 140 miles per hour. From the early '60s until 1977 this airplane had several different owners taking it from New York to Brazil to North Carolina and to Michigan. In 1977 we purchased this Widgeon from its owner in Michigan and brought it to Kodiak where we have been flying it commercially ever since.
A brief history on the Widgeon
Between 1941 and 1949, many of the 315 Widgeons built in the U.S. by the Grumman Aircraft Corporation were put into service by the US Navy and US Coast Guard. The Navy used the airplane as a trainer for pilots destined for the larger flying boats, and also as a liason aircraft, ferrying personnel to different locations. The Coast Guard used the Widgeon as a coastal patrol and search and rescue airplane. As a coastal patrol airplane the Widgeon was outfitted to carry a bomb under one wing. In 1942 while on a patrol mission one Coast Guard Widgeon was credited with attacking and sinking a German submarine U-166 off the coast of Lousiana! The Widgeon wasn't strictly for just military use, it also proved to be popular in the civilian market during the 40's with the wealthy executive who liked to leave the office behind and spend a weekend exploring the wilderness.
In Alaska the Widgeon has been a part of aviation history, serving the bush as a rugged and versatile airplane from the days before we became the 49th state. Now days though, seeing a Widgeon fly through the skies isn't as common as it use to be. Because of this rarity, many of our customers remark that one of things they enjoyed most about their trip with us was the opportunity to ride in this classic airplane.