HU-16E Albatross History

HU-16E Albatrosses were in the U.S. Coast Guard fleet from 1951 to 1983.  These aircraft were used on many types of missions. They were used as search platforms looking for lost boaters or downed aircraft and to locate sinking fishing boats. If they were needed, de-watering pumps were dropped by parachute.  Crews launched day or night. The aircraft were used to check on ship collisions or to locate vessels with ill crewmen. Many times the aircraft escorted helicopters to complete rescues, and rarely this amphibian landed on water to make a rescue. 

At other times crews used Albatrosses to evacuate ill personnel from remote islands and other locations. Medical personnel were transported from bases to remote locations. During some night searches parachute flares were dropped.  Many times on large over-ocean searches the crew would be designated On-Scene-Commander and coordinate the efforts of a large fleet of aircraft. On a few occasions, when an airliner crashed on land, the Coast Crew was designated On-Scene Commander to coordinate helicopter flights to and from the scene. On at least one occasion in Florida two Albatrosses were used on an FBI manhunt. 

Albatrosses were used on the International Ice Patrol and they patrolled in search of boat people from Cuba and Haiti. When boat people were spotted the crew would call in a helicopter or boat to make the rescue. If needed,  survival gear and water were parachuted to the survivors.  Another use of the Albatross was for fisheries patrols, checking the positions of American, Russian, and Japanese boats. In the late 1970’s, patrols were made for drug interdiction off the Miami, Florida coast and in the Caribbean.

Our aircraft, HU-16E, 7245 was acquired from the U.S. Air Force in 1957-58 and was in the Coast Guard fleet until 1980.  Some of its history is known.  The aircraft was stationed at Coast Guard (CG) Air Station, Biloxi, MS in 1961, and then at CG Air Detachment Quonset Point, RI in 1963.  Our crew chief, Duane Coppock, is a retired Coast Guard aviator and flew 7245 at those locations.  The aircraft was decommissioned from CG Air Station, Cape Cod in 1980.  If you are or were a Coast Guard aviator and flew 7245 please inform our museum by contating our Operations Director at 707-575-7900 or Email: Christina Olds. or regular mail.  

Our Albatross, 7245, was donated to the museum in 1999 by Mr. Don Johnson of Riddle, OR.  It is a unique and outstanding addition to our stable.  Shortly after receiving 7245 museum members repainted the aircraft in high visibility Coast Guard  “International Orange” and white.  It matches the late 1970s Coast Guard paint scheme and is still current today.

Our Grumman Albatross provides an exciting and unique historical display for adults and children alike.  This “Training Classroom” provides an exceptional educational platform for school children of all ages.  Tours can be arranged by calling the museum to schedule a date and time for your group.

HU-16E Albatross Specifications

Dimensions & Weights

61 ft 3 in


25 ft 10 in


96 ft 8 in

Empty weight

22,883 lbs

Max takeoff weight

35,700 lbs


Crew: Four to six. Up to 10 passengers.

Maximum Speed

264 MPH

Cruise Speed

225 MPH

Service Ceiling

21,500 ft


2,700 miles


Two Cyclone R-1820-76A radial piston engines of 1,425 HP each JATO (Jet assisted take-off) was used when heavily loaded

Crew Chief

Don Thoman

Country of origin




b/n or serial number



General Purpose Utility Amphibian


Pacific Coast Air Museum


There’s always something great going on at the Pacific Coast Air Museum. We have Open Cockpit weekends once a month,  special events throughout the year, and regular hot dog lunches. We host school field trips, special group tours, birthday parties, and family get-togethers, all among our collection of historic aircraft and educational exhibits.