MAPLE LAKE, MINN. – The “Gearhead Days” celebration in Maple Lake, Minnesota, featured a Grumman G-44 Widgeon, owned by local resident, Jon Miller, who thought it would be a good idea to have an aviation presence at the event. So, Miller had the aircraft towed from the airport, which is on the edge of town to downtown, and had Landwehr Construction, Inc. bring in their crane to display the aircraft.
The Dodge avgas truck that was used to tow the Widgeon was used by St. Cloud Aviation in the 1970s and ’80s, then moved to Maple Lake where it was used at the seaplane base. Miller acquired the truck from Wright Aero and he has refurbished it to its original markings as produced by Shell in the early 1950s.
The Grumman G-44 Widgeon is a small, five-person, twin-engine amphibious aircraft flown by the U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Air Corps, and U.S. Army Air Forces. It was designated J4F by the Navy and Coast Guard, and OA-14 by the Army Air Corps and Army Air Forces. It was used during World War II as a small patrol and utility aircraft by the Navy, Coast Guard, and Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.
The Widgeon was originally designed for the civilian market. It is smaller but similar in design to Grumman’s earlier G-21 Goose, and was manufactured from 1941 to 1955.
A total of 276 aircraft were built by Grumman, including 176 for the military. The aircraft was nicknamed “Gosling” by the British Royal Navy.