Grumman Goose

Designed by Paul Kohlmann Watch flight videos, read excerpts from the article, and order plans.

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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.

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What a great job you did building this classic. I am so inspired, despite having 10 birds in the basement now.... wife is tapping her foot.... I ordered the plans and the laser cut kit. Would like to ask you if your 100% sure that is the best engine option, would you change anything now in retrospect and also where did you get the engine cowls for the nacelles? I am going to use a similar covering scheme to yours as it just looks so classy that way! Thanks for the build and effort to get it all published.. What a treat, I can not wait.

Thanks very much David! You and I have already discussed this but to close the loop what I would change if I had it all to do over again would be: 1) fiberglass the hull for better durability. Mine is sealed with water-based polyurethane and it is holding up ok but I don't expect it to last forever. 2) seal the framework before covering. I learned about this after I built mine. I hear that spraying a coat of Deft sealer is the hot ticket. Have fun with yours! Paul

Wonderful model of a classic plane - enjoyed the artical and the video. Regards

Thanks very much Cliff! Glad you enjoyed it. I've had alot of fun with this project. Paul

Manzano Laser Works offers ONLY the laser cut wood parts. The plastic parts need to be ordered from Parkflyer Plastics.

The vacuum formed plastic cowls are available here:

The Park Flyer Plastics web page is alive, except when I tried to order plastic cowls for the Goose. The the my computer couldn't connect. Same thing happened when I tried to open "Contact Us." I tried calling and emailing Keith, but no response. Is he out of business?

Hi Don! We have contacted Park Flyer Plastics for you. You should receive a response soon. Best of luck with your project!

I'm about 3/4 th finished with the build. I bought the Laser kit and even though I've been a scratch-build from plans builder for over 50 yrs., I'm really glad I bought the kit. Goes together pretty well. Only difficulty is in covering especially the nacelles as the stringers are so fragile and easily broken while heating and stretching material. I ended up replacing certain stringers with bass wood so I could tack and stretch against them. I should be maidening in a week or so. I'll report back on flight.

Glad to hear that the build is going well for you. Please do report back after you get her in the air. I'm looking forward to hearing she flies for you. Mine is still going strong. Take care, Paul

Well Paul not sure if you remember me, but I am going to try again. i have relived every moment of all three crashes and I know what the problem was. The pushrods I used were too light. They did not have the turger to handle the push from the servos thats why the plane never responded to my controls and why it always crashed. I can not live with the failure any longer and need to try one more time. I will keep you posted.

So which stringers did you upgrade exactly? Going to build one myself and of course would prefer to prevent pitfalls up front. Thanks

I enter my valid AMA number when ordering the plan and the Paypal total does not include the 20% discount. How do I get the 20% discount on the Goose plans? Thanks.

The retail price of the plans are $12.00. The $9.60 price you see is the discounted 20% off price. The 20% off offer is only good through October 31, 2013 - so be sure to order soon. Thanks!

OK, thanks for clarifying. I was just expecting to see a line item with the discount... I'll get my order in.

I want to buy the plan for the Grumman Goose, but the link doesn't work! I want to pay with PayPal

Hi Henning- All the links seem to be working, can you explain what errors you are experiencing?

Hello, thanks for your answer. I made a mistake with the link - now it works! I've already sent the money by PayPal. I'm looking forward to receive the plan. Greetings from Erding (Germany)

Great! It is a beautiful aircraft, enjoy.

Hello, I want to ask for my plan. When will the plan arrive? I have transferred my payment with PayPal at the 30.01.2014. Is the plan on the way? Was something wrong with the payment?

Hello Henning, Please contact Greg Prater at AMA Plans Service at (800) 435-9262, ext. 507, or to check on the status of your order. Thank you.

I built the Goose using the laser kit last year and it has been the favorite at all the Float Flys I've been to. Fantastic flyer and a thrill to fly and watch. Such a scale take-off ! Really would like to build an 80" version if I could get the laser kit for it. Super project Paul !!!

Thanks, Dr. Mike! Your model is absolutely beautiful and I'm very pleased that she is flying well for you. I'm looking forward to flying mine at our club's July 4th float fly. My best, Paul

Does anyone make the gear for this or did you scratch build yours? do you have drawings available for them? I just ordered the short kit for this and already have the plans for the plane. thank you for your help.

Hi Paul, Sorry I didn't see your note sooner. My prototype Goose did not have gear. The wheels are simply decals. I have seen a couple Gooses built from this plan that did include retracts, though. The builders of each of those worked up the designs independently. You might be able to contact them through RCGroups. Hope this is of some help, Paul

Paul--I'm well into the build of your Grumman Goose, using the short kit from Manzano. It is going well except for one thing--the balsa stringers. They are so fragile that they break with the slightest pressure…very frustrating. I wish I had used basswood as someone earlier suggested. Because of this I sheeted most of the fuselage sides with 1/32 balsa to give additional strength. I intend to fiberglass the lower hull and seal the upper hull with epoxy resin.

Hi Don, Sorry you had problems with the stringers. Builders of models of this type will break and repair a few stringers along the way, but it sounds like your issue was well beyond that. Wood selection can be a critical factor. The wood you were working with may have been too soft. As you are probably aware, the harder grades of balsa approach the hardness of basswood. I wouldn't suggest you go that far, but selecting wood that is just hard enough to withstand your personal level of finesse can make a big difference. In any event, adding some 1/32" balsa sheeting won't add a lot of weight. I hope this works out for you. Paul

How does this plane steer on the water? Looks like it has no water rudder and that the main rudder does not sit in the water. differential power would be a great way to taxi, can a Spektrun DX7 be configured with a 3 position switch for left/both/right motors, or can you mix the throttles with the rudder?

I have a Spektrum DX7s, and setup a mix rudder to throttles. You need to use an auxiliary receiver channel for the second ESC. A Y connection will not work, I use a switch to turn on and off the mix.

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