Unlike other amphibious planes designed for military use, the Grumman Goose began as a private venture. A group of wealthy Long Island executives simply wanted a way to get back and forth to Wall Street, and commissioned Grumman to build a plane that could take off from a local airstrip and land on water near New York’s financial district.
The Grumman Goose amphibious plane was the brainchild of a group of wealthy industrialists, which included Henry Morgan, Marshall Field and E.R. Harriman. The group lived in Long Island, commuting to Wall Street, which is surrounded by water. In 1936, they commissioned Grumman to build amphibious planes that would enable them to land on water near the financial district. One unique aspect of this amphibious aircraft was the liberal use of metal skin, as opposed to the conventional fabric and wood that was commonly used in plane construction immediately following World War I. Grumman designed a large interior for use as a transport or luxury airliner. Initially, the “flying yachts,” as these amphibious airplanes were known, carried two or three passengers, with a small bar and restroom.
World War II
During World War II, the Royal Canadian Air Force used the Grumman Goose amphibious planes for reconnaissance, rescue, transport, and training, while the Royal Air Force used the planes for air-sea rescues. The Royal Air Force designated the amphibian planes “Goose.” The planes were also used by the United States Army and Navy during the Second World War, as did the United States Coast Guard.
After the War
The Grumman Goose amphibious planes continued to be useful after World War II, mostly under the U.S. Department of the Interior in Alaska, where the versatility of the aircraft was put to the test in the rugged terrain of the state. The planes were also used as commuter aircraft in areas surrounded by water. McKinnon Enterprises made several modifications to the amphibian aircraft, with the final version known as the “Turbo Goose.”
Overall, 345 Grumman Goose amphibious planes were built and about 30 of them are still operational today. The amphibious aircraft was featured in the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Commando, as well as several television shows.