|Length:||62 ft 10 in (19.16 m)|
|Wingspan:||96 ft 8 in (29.47 m)|
|Height:||25 ft 10 in (7.88 m)|
|Wing area:||1035 ft² (96.2 m²)|
|Empty weight:||30,353 lb (13,797 kg)|
|Max. takeoff weight:||37,500 lb (17,045 kg)|
|Powerplant:||2 × Wright R-1820-76 Cyclone 9 nine-cylinder single-row air-cooled radial engine, 1,425 hp (1,063 kW) each|
|Fuel Capacity:||675 US Gallons (2,550 L) internally, plus 400 US Gal (1,512 L) in wingtip floats plus two 300 US Gallon (1,135 L) drop tanks|
|Maximum speed:||205 knots (236 mph, 380 km/h)|
|Cruise speed:||108 knots (124 mph, 200 km/h)|
|Stall speed:||64 knots (74 mph, 119 km/h)|
|Range:||2,478 nmi (2,850 mi, 4,589 km)|
|Service ceiling:||21,500 ft (6,550 m)|
|Rate of climb:||1,450 ft/min (7.4 m/s)|
The Grumman HU-16 Albatross is a large twin–radial engine amphibious flying boat that was used by the U.S. Air Force (USAF), the U.S. Navy (USN) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), primarily as a search and rescue and combat search and rescue aircraft. Originally designated as the SA-16 for the USAF and the JR2F-1 and UF-1 for the USN and USCG, it was redesignated as the HU-16 in 1962.
An improvement of the design of the Grumman Mallard, the Albatross was developed to land in open ocean situations to rescue downed pilots and other flight crew members. Its deep-V hull cross-section and substantial length enable it to land in the open sea. The Albatross was designed for optimal 4-foot (1.2 m) seas, and could land in more severe conditions, but required JATO (jet-assisted take off, or simply booster rockets) for takeoff in 8–10-foot (2.4–3.0 m) seas or greater.
The majority of Albatrosses were used by the U.S. Air Force, primarily by the former Air Rescue Service, and initially designated as SA-16. The USAF used the SA-16 extensively in Korea for combat rescue, where it gained a reputation as a rugged and seaworthy craft. Later, the redesignated HU-16B (long-wing variant) Albatross was used by the U.S. Air Force’s Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service and saw extensive combat service during theVietnam War. In addition a small number of Air National Guard air commando groups were equipped with HU-16s for covert infiltration and extraction of special forces from 1956 to 1971. Other examples of the HU-16 made their way into Air Force Reserve air rescue units prior to its retirement from USAF service.
The U.S. Navy also employed the HU-16C/D Albatross as a search and rescue (SAR) aircraft from coastal naval air stations, both stateside and overseas. It was also employed as an operational support aircraft worldwide and for missions from the former NAS Agana, Guam during the Vietnam War. Goodwill flights were also common to the surrounding Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands in the early 1970s. Open water landings and water takeoff training using JATO was also conducted frequently by U.S. Navy HU-16s from locations such as NAS Agana, Guam; Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba; NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii; NAS North Island, California, NAS Key West, Florida; NAS Jacksonville, Florida and NAS Pensacola, Florida, among other locations.
The HU-16 was also operated by the U.S. Coast Guard as both a coastal and long-range open ocean SAR aircraft for many years until it was supplanted by the HU-25 Guardian and HC-130 Hercules.
The final USAF HU-16 flight was the delivery of AF Serial No. 51-5282 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio in July 1973 after setting an altitude record of 32,883 ft earlier in the month.
The final US Navy HU-16 flight was made 13 August 1976 when an Albatross was delivered to the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida.
The final USCG HU-16 flight was at CGAS Cape Cod in March 1983, when the aircraft type was retired by the USCG. The Albatross continued to be used in the military service of other countries, the last being retired by the Hellenic Navy (Greece) in 1995.
The Royal Canadian Air Force operated Grumman Albatross’s with the designation “CSR-110” rather than the US (post 1962) standard of “HU-16”.