Aviation History

Australian company to restart production of the iconic Albatross flying boat with the improved G-111T Variant

Australian company Amphibian Aerospace Industries will build a new version of the legendary Albatross flying boat.

Australian company Amphibian Aerospace Industries (AAI) will build a new version of the legendary Albatross flying boat. Named G-111T, the “new Albatross” will feature new Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F engines providing substantially improved performance, fuel economy and reliability.

As reported by Aviacionline, the announcement of the project’s progress, including the engine selection, was made in early December after years of coordination between the company and the Northern Territory government to support the creation of a manufacturing sector in Darwin.

AAI president Khoa Hoang complimented the Australian Territory government for its progress in bringing aircraft manufacturing capacity back to the country:

«It had been a long time since sovereign aircraft manufacturing on this scale was considered viable in Australia, but the G-111T Albatross has one of the largest business cases in aircraft manufacturing, which makes it ideal to be manufactured locally and perfect to do right here in the Northern Territory.

«Minister Michael Gunner shared our view that the G-111T Albatross is an incredible aircraft of great practical utility to mankind, regardless of whether it is for passenger transport, humanitarian aid, search and rescue, cargo transport, coastal surveillance, fight against drugs, or a range of other roles.

«[This] announcement is just the very beginning, as we are already working on next-generation technologies to produce new variations, such as the Albatross with a zero-emission hybrid engine and even a stretched 44-seat variant.»

According to Amphibian Aerospace Industries website, the company was established as the manufacturing and product development arm of the Australian owned Amphibian Aircraft group of companies. The vision for AAI is to be a world leader in the development and production of amphibian aerospace capabilities.

Amphibian Aerospace Industries G-111T Albatross

AAI is the holder of US Federal Aviation Administration “Type Certificate” for the HU-16 and G-111 Albatross amphibious aircraft. As the Type Certificate holder for the Albatross family of aircraft, the company is committed to providing ongoing product support and development in parallel with development of their own twin turboprop variants which will soon be available to the market.

The base model of the new Albatross will be the G-111T.

According to AAI, several variants will follow the G-111T on the market

  • Combi Passenger/Cargo – 28 pax plus 3 crew and luggage in a comfortable cabin equipped with a galley and restroom easily reconfigured to 4.5 T of useable cargo capacity for water operations
  • Aeromedevac – capable of transporting up to 12 stretcher cases in a single lift with basic patient monitoring systems
  • Aeromedical – 4-6 stretchers with capacity for more sophisticated medical monitoring and treatment capabilities
  • Search & Rescue – capable of missions of up to 12 hours, (extendable to 20 hours with external fuel tanks) equipped with mission systems and sensors tailored to specific customer requirements

Originally designed by Grumman, the Albatross aimed to meet a US Navy requirement for an amphibious utility aircraft which could also operate from snow and ice with skis. During the Korean War, Albatrosses rescued almost 1,000 United Nations personnel from coastal waters and rivers, often behind enemy lines. They also made numerous dramatic and hazardous rescues in Southeast Asia, on occasion taxiing many miles over rough, open water when unable to take off.

The prototype first flew on Oct. 24, 1947, and soon after the US Air Force ordered a quantity for air-sea rescue duties as SA-16As. Grumman delivered 297 A models to the Air Force, mostly for the Air Rescue Service. In 1962 the USAF changed the designation to HU-16.

In 1955 Grumman developed an improved version with a 16 1/2 foot increase in wingspan and larger aileron and tail surfaces. Beginning in 1957, many A models were converted to the B configuration with these improvements.

Photo credit: U.S. Navy modified by FOX 52 via Wikipedia and Amphibian Aerospace Industries

Amphibian Aerospace Industries G-111T Albatross
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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