Designed by Paul Kohlmann
Watch flight videos, read excerpt from the article, and order plans.
In the world of aviation, icons can be found to represent each of the categories of aircraft. For civil aviation there are the ubiquitous J-3 Cubs and Cessna high-wing aircraft, while for warbirds the P-51 Mustang is a standout.
In the RC world we often gravitate toward these iconic types, perhaps because the full-scale designs were so well developed that they tend to retain their successful attributes when scaled down for our use.
In the case of the flying boat, the Grumman Goose is one of these icons. Starting life in 1936, the first Goose was built to transport wealthy businessmen from Long Island, New York, to New York City.
By the onset of World War II, these “flying yachts” were serving more pedestrian roles with commuter airlines, the U.S. Navy, and the Coast Guard. Gooses, as Grumman called them, were flown by many nations during the war, including Japan.
Grumman stopped production in 1945 after 345 were made, but the Goose lives on. The Goose has been a staple of island-hopping, whether that is along the rugged coast of Alaska or the sunny Caribbean.
The type is so well loved that in 2007, Antilles Seaplanes announced that it would begin building new airframes to shore up the dwindling number of originals. Familiarity and longevity are critical factors in the creation of an icon, but a little limelight helps.
Hollywood has been kind, giving the Goose a central role in the TV cult classic Tales of the Gold Monkey, a cameo in the opening of Fantasy Island, and many other appearances.
Last fall I heard that MA editor, Jay Smith, was looking for a Goose design in the 48-inch range to meet a demand from AMA’s Plans Service customers.
Jumping at the chance to model an icon, I bumped the wingspan to 49 inches so that our Goose would settle in at an even 1/12 scale.
The prototype weighed 37 ounces with a wing loading of only 13 ounces per square foot. The CG was set to 25% Mean Aerodynamic Chord and then the Goose was prepared for a dry maiden flight.
The initial plan was to hand launch it, but I thought I’d see if the Goose would scoot over the wet grass on the baseball field. Scoot it did—and six feet later the aircraft was airborne!
The Goose climbed out with authority, and after some down trim it was docile. The 370 motors provided plenty of power for non-scale flight but the low wing loading and high drag from the fat fuselage would let the aircraft slow down to a crawl.
For most of the flight, the Goose looked like the full-scale aircraft, flying low and slow, but the best part was the landings. After riding out the ground effect, it kissed the grass with a soft shushing sound, giving the impression that the lawn had turned to water.
Next I let the Goose loose on the lake. Although there was only a steady 5 mph wind, there was more of a wind chop than I had hoped for—particularly since that I had never flown a flying boat from water before.
Nevertheless, the Goose pushed off. Its big tail kept it tracking straight into the wind. It rode high in the water, taking the small waves well. The first attempt ended in a pirouette after I sank the left tip float before liftoff.
The next four attempts were textbook flights, after I learned to play the rudder and aileron together to get the Goose off of the tip floats during the run-up. The model is quite responsive to the rudder, making it easy to line up.
After the routine was set, the Goose popped off the water in a few feet and then majestically climbed away, leaving a trail of water droplets behind.
The learning curve for landing was similar. I discovered that water is bouncier than grass after coming in a little too hot. Although a splash-and-go would have been prudent, I forced the Goose back down, resulting in a spectacular geyser. After applying some more patience, the next three were a piece of cake.
Read the entire plans-build article on page 28 of the May 2012 issue of Model Aviation.
Order These Plans
Grumman Goose: 1/12 RC Scale float plane by Kohlmann spans 49 inches and weights 34 to 40 ounces. Plans cost $12.00 plus shipping and handling. Please allow at least one to three weeks for delivery within the United States—longer for overseas. All domestic plans are shipped rolled via priority mail. All foreign orders are folded and shipped First Class.
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