The Grumman J2F-5 Duck

The Grumman J2F-5 Duck

In 1923 Grover Loenings' Loening Aircraft Engineering Corporation of New York city introduced the first of their "Flying Shoehorn" amphibian designs, the COA-1, for the US Army. A few years earlier a young ex naval Aviator, Leroy Grumman, had gone to work for Loening where he honed his engineering and test flying skills developing Loening's fighters and amphibians. In 1928 Loening was bought by Keystone, which, was in turn, bought by Curtiss-Wright. Grumman and others quit rather than leave the East Coast and started Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation in Baldwin on Long Island. Their business plan called for doing repair and sub-contract work whilst developing their own design and manufacturing capabilities.

Their first design/production project was an amphibious float package for the Navy's Vought scouts. This work, and Grumman's prior association with the Loening "Flying Shoehorns" led directly, in 1933, to the first Duck, the XJF-1, which made its maiden flight on 4th May 1933 & which looks like a developed Loening. The XJF-1 design was accepted by the Navy in 1933 and, with some minor changes, ordered into production. It quickly evolved through the JF-1, -2 and -3 series. A total of 48 JF series Ducks was delivered to the Navy between May of 1934 and October of 1935.

The first of the J2F series, was delivered to the Navy in April 1936 and the last Grumman built J2F-5 (J2F-5 was the first to receive the official name Duck) was accepted by the Navy in July of 1941. The main externally visible difference between the -1/-4 series and the -5 & -6 series of Ducks is the chord of the engine cowling. The -5 & -6 also had slightly revised forward fuselage lines behind the engine cowling. Production and design responsibility were turned over to Columbia Aircraft Corporation to free Grumman to work on their more aggressive aeroplane designs. Altogether Grumman built 303 Ducks for the US Navy, Marines and Coast Guard and 12 for Argentina.

The Columbia Duck was designated J2F-6 and was essentially the same as the last -5s from Grumman. Columbia built 330 Ducks between mid 1941 and the end of 1945. The combined total of 645 aeroplanes was small for wartime, but the distinctive appearance of the Duck has made it more familiar and instantly recognizable than its numbers would seem to warrant.

Most of the aircraft served though out the Second World War on task such as liaison coastal patrol, survey, and rescue.

Armament: in some cases two 325 lb (147 kg) depth bombs.

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