The Albatross was first produced for the. U. S. Navy in late 1947 as the UF-1. A modified version appeared in 1955 as the UF-2. The USAF acquired 305 of them with the majority serving with the Air Rescue Service of MATS under the designation SA-16A with the UF-2 version designated SA-16B. It replaced the PBY-5A Catalina amphibian for air-sea rescue work. With the uniform designation of all U.S. military aircraft in 1962, the SA-16s became HU-16A and B. The type also was used by the U.S. Coast Guard. It could be equipped with JATO bottles for takeoff assistance. A few Navy Albatrosses were equipped with skis for Antarctic service It has provisions for a crew of four plus 10 passengers or stretchers or cargo. Most were phased out of service in the 1970s; some are still in use by foreign navies. A few saw service with commercial operators but its powerful, fuel hungry engines made it unattractive to most.
By kjfitz @ 2007-03-10 15:14:07