Travis Air Force Base Heritage Center









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Outdoor Exhibits - HU-16 “Albatross”










Museum Airpark


The versatile "Albatross" amphibian was designed to meet a Navy requirement for a utility aircraft which could operate from land or water and, with skis, from snow and ice.  The prototype first flew on October 24, 1947 and soon after the USAF ordered a quantity for air-sea rescue duties as SA-16As.  (In 1962 the USAF designation was changed to HU-16.)  Grumman delivered 297 "-A"s to the Air Force; most were assigned to the Air Rescue Service.

Grumman HU-16 "Albatross"

The Grumman "Albatross" proved itself during the Korean War.  Originally a Grumman in-house design, the Albatross shows the sleek lines of its older siblings: the Grumman Mallard, Goose and Widgeon.

Used extensively in the Search and Rescue (SAR) roles by the U.S. Air Force, over 900 flyers were rescued in Korea by SA-16 crew.  When not saving lives, the SA-16 flew VIPs, cargo, and aerial ice flow and oil slick surveillance.  Called upon again to serve in Vietnam, the Albatross saved many lives until being replaced by helicopter in the SAR role.

The Albatross was phased out of service by the Air Force in 1974.  The HU-16 flew with the U.S. Navy until September, 1976, and soldiered on with the U.S. Coast Guard up to March, 1988.  Over 20 other countries, including Greece, Norway, Japan and the Philippines, flew the Albatross.

Our HU-16 last served with the U.S. Coast Guard, flying from Cape Cod.  She flew into storage on May 25, 1979. After sitting in the Arizona sun for almost 10 years, she flew to the Heritage Center on April 8, 1989.


  • Wing Span: 96'8"
  • Length: 62'10"
  • Height: 25'11”
  • Maximum Speed: 230 M.P.H.
  • Service Ceiling: 23,800 Ft.
  • Range: 1,650 Miles
  • Crew: 6 plus 10 passengers
  • Armament: None
  • Engines: 2 x 1,425 H.P. Wright R-1820-76B radial engines

Information derived from “Travis Heritage Center” by Nick Veronico copyright Travis AFB Historical Society/Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum Foundation.  This book is available from the Jimmy Doolittle Air and Space Museum GIFT SHOP located in the Travis Heritage Center.







     A-26K "Counter Invader"
     B-29 "Superfortress"
     B-52D “Stratofortress”








     F-4C "Phantom II"
     F-84F "Thunderstreak"
     F-86L "Sabre"
     F-101B "Voodoo"
     F-102A "Delta Dagger"
     F-104A "Starfighter"
     F-105D "Thunderchief"








     C-7A “Caribou”
     C-45H "Expeditor"
     C-47 “Skytrain”
     C-54 "Skymaster"
     C-56 "Lodestar"
     C-118A "Liftmaster"
     C-119G "Flying Boxcar"
     C-123K “Provider”
     C-124C "Globemaster II"
     C-131D "Samaritan"
     C-133A “Cargomaster”
     C-141B “Starlifter”








     HU-16 “Albatross”
     LC-126 “Businessliner”
     O-2A "Super Skymaster"








     AT-11 “Kansan”
     CT-39A “Sabreliner”












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