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  • Writer's pictureroy blewett

Grumman G-73 Mallard


Mallard N188AC taxies up the slipway at owner Loel Fenwick's home on the shores of Priest Lake, Idaho. One of two Mallards owned by Mr. Fenwick, N188AC is one of only a handful to have only ever operated from fresh water. (mallardj57.com)

The Mallard was the last of the Grumman amphibians to begin development. Despite the Goose’s lack of success with airlines, Grumman believed there was a market for around 250 10-15 seat amphibians for feeder operations. It therefore set about re-designing the earlier type, keeping many of the characteristics of the Goose, but replacing the tailwheel landing gear with a tricycle type. The search for a sufficiently powerful engine proved unsuccessful, so Grumman had to settle for using Wasp radials, even though they produced some 100-150 hp less than the company thought ideal for an aircraft of the Mallard’s size. While the aircraft handled well, performance was rather sluggish and, perhaps unsurprisingly, sales were poor with only one Mallard being sold to a commercial operation. All other Mallard sales were to corporations or private individuals, although Virgin Islands Seaplane Shuttle provided commercial services using the Mallard in the 1980s and Chalk’s, using Turbo Mallards, through to 2005.


Around a third of the Mallards built survive, most as flyers.


First flight: 30 Apr 46 (c/n J-1, NX41824)

Production: 59, at Bethpage, NY

First delivery: 27 Sep 46, to McIntyre Porcupine Mines (c/n J-2, CF-BKE)

Last delivery: May 51, to Robertson & O’Connell Ltd. (c/n J-59, CF-HPN)

Variants: All G-73s were built to the same standard, powered by 2 Pratt & Whitney Wasp S3H1 radials, with accommodation for up to 15 passengers (or 12 if an onboard toilet was fitted). There have been two re-engining programmes: the first, known as the G-73T Turbo Mallard, in association with J Fred Frakes, involving installation of Pratt & Whitney PT6A-27 turboprops on at least 10 aircraft; the second, by Aero Engineers Australia for Paspaley Pearls, involving the complete rebuild of 3 aircraft and installation of PT6A-34s.


Grumman Mallard survivors
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