The Grumman G-73 Mallard is a medium, twin-engined amphibious aircraft. Many have been modified by replacing the original Pratt & Whitney Wasp H radial engines with modern turboprop engines. Manufactured from 1946 to 1951, production ended when Grumman's larger SA-16 Albatross was introduced.
Design and development[edit | edit source]
Building on the success of the Goose and Widgeon, Grumman Aircraft developed larger G-73 Mallard for commercial use. Retaining many of the features of the smaller aircraft, such as twin radial engines, high wings with underwing floats, retractable landing gear and a large straight tail, the company built 59 Mallards between 1946 and 1951. Unlike the smaller aircraft, the Mallard featured tricycle gear, stressed skin, a two-step hull and wingtip fuel tanks.
Operational history[edit | edit source]
The Mallard prototype first flew on 30 April 1946, with the first production aircraft entering service in September of that year. While the Mallard was designed for regional airline operations with two pilots and ten passengers, especially aimed at harbor-based, city-to-city hops on the eastern seaboard, postwar surplus aircraft sales and the availability of smaller airports limited market potential. A number of smaller air carriers did use the Mallard in its intended role, notably Tahiti-Hawaii Airlines and Pacific Western Airlines (Canada). However, most of the 59 Mallards delivered were for corporate use. A prominent user in the United States was Roy Fruehauf and the Fruehauf Trailer Corporation. Fruehauf owned and operated a fishing camp, Killarney Lodge at Georgian Bay, Canada, and ferried customers there from Detroit. Another, Detroiter, William Packer of General Motors, also owned a Mallard, which he often flew to Killarney. another Mallard was purchased in the early 1950s by the Aga Khan.
The Royal Egyptian Air Force used a Mallard as part of their Royal Flight; it was reportedly King Farouk's favourite aircraft.
The Mallard received a new lease on life in the 1970s when a number of airframes were refitted by Frakes Aviation with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turbines and upgraded for 17 passengers, to become "Turbo Mallards." Today, through attrition, only 32 Mallards remain registered in the United States. Many of the rest are in use around the globe.
A similar program has been undertaken by Paspaley Pearling in combination with Aeronautical Engineers Australia to fit new engines and modernize its Mallard fleet, which is used to support its pearling operations in Northern Australia. The fleet has been extensively rebuilt and also refitted with PT6A turbines, and is currently undergoing a life extension program.