Grumman J4F Widgeon 


The Grumman Widgeon, an american built two engined amphibious aircraft which was originally to be called the Gosling I by the Royal Navy, was a smaller follow on to the Grumman G-21 Goose amphibious aircraft, and was aimed at the executive and light Transport market. The prototype first flew in July 1940. The aircraft was soon adopted by the US military with the first production version being the J4F-1, used as in a utility and anti-submarine role. 167 aircraft were produced during the war, with 15 of these being supplied to the Royal Navy.

The Fleet Air Arm received 15 Grumman Widgeon G-44A J4F-2 Widgeon I delivered under Contract No Noa(S) 455 and numbered FP455-FP469. These started to be delivered to the RN for intended communications in the West Indies area. The first FP455 was delivered in October 1943 and most sent to Brunswick between March 1944 till April 1945. 738 squadron at Lewiston started to be equipped in July 1944. Operational squadrons equipped with the Widgeon included 857 squadron from May 1944 at Squantum (eg FP457), and 1835 squadron at Brunswick in January 1945.

Widgeon were based at the USNAS Air Training Centre, Pensacola from August till April 1945 for the Senior British Naval Officer. Most Widgeons were returned to US  Navy charge between October and December 1945

One of the final Grumman Widgeons in RN service, was numbered JS996. It was  was based at Nassau in 1943, and later used at the Foreign Commission, Miami in February 1946 as the Admirals Barge.

Post War some of the US aircraft were converted to Super Widgeon configuration and still fly commercially in USA, and New Zealand.

Fleet Air Arm history
Grumman G-44A J4F-2 Widgeon
Total FAA 1939-1945:           15
First delivered to RN:             1943
First squadron 1939 -1945:      857 squadron from May 1944
Last served with RN               1946

15 Grumman Widgeon G-44A J4F-2 Widgeon I delivered under contract no Noa(S) 455 Serial Numbers: FP455-FP469

First RN:         10.43 (FP455). Most to Brunswick 3.44-4.45
Sqdn:              738 Lewiston 7.44 (FP455)
Op sqdn:          857 sqdn 5.44 Squantum (FP457), 1835 sqdn Brunswick 1.45
                       Most returned US Navy charge 10-12.45
Last                 JS996 Foreign Commission, Miami 2.46 as Admirals Barge.

Aircraft Type:
Grumman G-44A J4F-2 Widgeon 
I & II
Primary Role:
Transport and Admirals Barge
First Flight: 
July 1940
Date operating with FAA squadrons:
Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corp
Two Pratt & Whitney 450-hp R-985-148 engines
 Wing Span: Length: Height: Wing Area: 
Span : 12.2m (40'0ft) 
Length : 9.5m (31'1ft) 
Height : 3.5m (11'5ft) 
Empty Weight: Max.Weight:
empty : 1,724kg (3,800lb) 
max : 2,365kg (5,200lb) 



max speed : 290km/h (180mph) 
max climb : 1,550ft/min (472m/min) 
ceiling : 18,000ft (5,486m) 
range : 1,600km (994miles) 
Crew 2, Accomodation 4
738 sqdn Lewiston 
Op sqdn: 857 sqdn 5.44 Squantum , 1835 sqdn Brunswick 
USNAS Air Training Centre Pensacola. Also 1852 and 1853 
Battle honours:
None with FAA
Additional references and notes:

Battle Honours and Operational History
None with FAA

Surviving aircraft and relics
A number of the former Fleet Air Arm Widgeons were returned to the US Navy after the war, and at least 4 of these have survived.

4 known former FAA aircraft include:

FP459 (N9207H/c/n1353)
FP467 (N139F/c/n1375)
FP469 (N700BL/c/n1377)

Maybe up to 100 wartime built Widgeons survive around the world, most are still operating in the US with over 74 airworthy US registered (built between 1941-1945). In addition preserved examples include the following: Shipping & Airlines Collection (Biggin Hill)(UK), National Museum of Naval Aviation (USA), Pima Air & Space Museum (USA), Norsk Teknisk Museum, Oslo (Norway),  Museo Do Ar, Alverca do Ribatejo (Portugal) and the Museu De Marinha, Lisboa (Portugal). Many Widgeons were also converted to Super Widgeon configuration and a few still fly commercially in US and NZ, most notably in Alaska.

Widgeon Preserved Portugal Museum

National Naval Aviation Museum: (Widgeon: BuNo V212)

National Naval Aviation Museum: (Widgeon: BuNo V212): While on routine patrol in the Gulf of Mexico, a Coast Guard crew flying a J4F attacked and sank the German submarine U-166 100 miles south of Houma, Louisiana with a bomb from its wing racks. Piloted by Ensign Henry White, USCG, the aircraft involved (BuNo V212) is on display. It was received in a flyable condition from Steve Hamilton of Reno, Nevada with post-war conversion from the original in-line, 200 hp Ranger engines with wooden propellers.

ZK-AVM in Super Widgeon configuration owned by Salt Air (NZ)

Widgeons currently resident in New Zealand (See Kiwi Aircraft Images by P Treweek for details) include:

Associations and reunions
Flightline - Preserved US Military Aircraft This list of US military aircraft preserved and displayed was originally compiled by Ben Marselis with input from many others. Our coverage of airworthy warbirds is very limited, since Ben did not cover them in the original list. We have concentrated on those which are often on display rather than personal projects.
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 0 85130 232 7 
Kiwi Aircraft Images by P Treweek Details of the Widgeon in New Zealand
Ace Aviation Specialize in restoring the Widgeon to "like-new" condition
Penair  Commercially fly the Widgeon
Sturtivant, R. & Burrow, M (1995) 'Fleet Air Arm Aircraft 1939 to 1945'  Published by Air Britain (Historians) Ltd, 1995 ISBN: 085130 232 7 
Created 3-4-1999, Modified 3-4-2000


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