Grumman Goose G21A

gooseSometimes an aircraft design is so right, so attuned to a special set of tasks that it flies on long after the production line shuts down. The Grumman Goose is that kind of plane, and the story of aviation in Alaska and western Canada would not be the same if this sturdy flying boat had never gotten off Grumman’s drawing board.

Rugged, roomy, powerful, and above all amphibian, the Goose can go anywhere. Its boat hull and retractable landing gear provide the ability to take off from and land on a runway or the water, so the Goose can get to places most aircraft can’t. Manufactured by Grumman Aeronautical Engineering Co., whose sturdy World War II combat aircraft earned the company its “Grumman Iron Works” reputation, the Goose is built like a battleship-or a tank. It can handle heavy loads, take a lot of punishment, and still operate economically. Its twin radial engines, mounted high on the wing to keep them relatively dry while maneuvering on the water, give it the kind of reliability that made naval aviators feel safe flying over the vast expanses of the Pacific Ocean.

The Goose was designed during the heyday of the flying boat in the late 1930s, when big, luxurious four-engined Boeing, Sikorsky, and Martin “Clippers” provided the well-heeled a glamorous means of travel to exotic locales. The more modestly scaled Goose-initially intended as a transport for wealthy Long Island businessmen-first flew in 1937. It soon caught the eye of the U.S. Navy, which eventually acquired two-thirds of its entire production. Originally designed to carry six passengers in luxury comparable to the big Clippers, the Goose became a Navy utility transport-a workhorse that could get people and equipment into and out of remote areas. From people and parts hauling to target towing to antisubmarine patrol with bombs and depth charges, the Goose did it all.

With the end of World War II, the big flying boats vanished from the world aviation scene. The biggest of them-Howard Hughes’ gigantic eight-engined “Spruce Goose”-flew just one mile before disappearing from public view in 1947. The Grumman Goose, on the other hand, has never fallen out of favor wherever people need transport to coastal and island locations. Forty of the 345 Gooses built by Grumman between 1937 and 1945 are still flying; some have even been converted from piston to turbine power. Thirty-four more are in museum collections, or being rebuilt or restored.

In this era of mass transit air travel, the Goose is an honest, old-fashioned aircraft that’s easy to love, and one that, after seventy years of service, still transports people and goods to places few modern aircraft can.


U.S. Metric
Maximum Speed 201 mph 323 km/h
Cruise Speed 191 mph 307 km/h
Engine Two Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-1
Propeller Hartzell three-blade constant speed
Maximum Range 695 nm 1,118 km
Service Ceiling 21,300 feet 6,492 meters
Fuel Capacity 200 gallons 757 liters
Empty Weight 5,425 pounds 2,460 kilograms
Maximum Gross Weight 12,500 pounds 5,670 kilograms
Length 30 feet, 3 inches 9.2 meters
Wingspan 48 feet 14.61 meters
Height 12 feet 3.66 meters
Seating 8

Flight Notes

Many factors affect flight planning and aircraft operation, including aircraft weight, weather, and runway surface. The recommended flight parameters listed below are intended to give approximations for flights at maximum takeoff or landing weight on a day with International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) conditions.

Important: These instructions are intended for use with Flight Simulator only and are no substitute for using the actual aircraft manual for real-world flight.

Note: As with all of the Flight Simulator aircraft, the V-speeds and checklists are located on the Kneeboard. To access the Kneeboard while flying, press SHIFT+F10, or on the Aircraft menu, click Kneeboard.

Note: All speeds provided in the Flight Notes are indicated airspeeds. If you’re using these speeds as reference, be sure that you select “Display Indicated Airspeed” in the Realism Settings dialog box. Speeds listed in the specifications table are shown as true airspeeds.

By default, this aircraft has full fuel and payload. Depending on atmospheric conditions, altitude, and other factors, you will not get the same performance at gross weight that you would with a lighter load.

Required runway length

Takeoff from hard runway: 1,000 feet (305 meters), no flaps

Landing on hard runway: 1,500 feet (457 meters), approach flaps fully extended to 60 degrees

Takeoff from water: Approximately a 15-second run

Landing on water: As appropriate

The length required for both takeoff and landing is a result of a number of factors such as aircraft weight, altitude, headwind, use of flaps, and ambient temperature. The figures here are conservative and assume:

Weight: 9,000 pounds (4,082 kilograms)

Altitude: Sea level

Wind: No headwind

Temperature: 15ºC

Runway: Hard surface

Lower weights and temperatures result in better performance, as does having a headwind component. Higher altitudes and temperatures will degrade performance.

Engine startup

The engines are running by default when you begin a flight. If you shut the engines down, it is possible to initiate an auto-startup sequence by pressing CTRL+E on your keyboard. If you want to do the startup procedures manually, follow the checklist procedures on the Kneeboard.

  • The throttle levers on the Goose control engine power, from idle to takeoff power. As you move the throttles forward engine power increases.
  • The propeller levers are operated forward and aft for setting the required revolutions per minute (rpm) for various phases of flight.


On land, because the Goose is a taildragger, you may need to raise the seat (press SHIFT+ENTER). The normal power setting for taxiing is between 800-1,000 rpm (press F2 on the keyboard, or drag the power levers). You can lock the tailwheel during any long, straight portions of the taxi path to make directional control easier (press SHIFT+G).

For information about taxiing on water, see Flying Floatplanes in the Learning Center.


On the Goose, available flap settings are from 30-60 degrees. See the Kneeboard for the flap operating speeds.

Takeoff (water)

Run through the Before Takeoff checklist found on the Kneeboard. With the aircraft aligned with the runway centerline, check that the propeller levers are full forward, and the tailwheel is locked. Directional control is maintained by use of the rudder pedals (twist the joystick, use rudder pedals, or press 0 (left) or ENTER (right) on the numeric keypad).

To reduce spray when taking off from the water, use the maximum takeoff manifold pressure of 36.5″ Hg. Hold the joystick back all the way until on the step. To learn more about flying amphibians, see Flying Floatplanes in the Learning Center.

  • A takeoff from water with a full load and no wind will take about 15 seconds.
  • Once airborne, raise the wing floats using the switch on the overhead panel (press SHIFT+6 to display the overhead panel).
  • As soon as the aircraft is flying above 108 mph (93 knots), reduce power to 30″ Hg and 2,000 rpm.

Takeoff (hard surface)

  • At approximately 40 mph (35 knots), the tail will come up (use the joystick or press the UP ARROW key to apply some forward pressure).
  • At around 75 mph (65 knots), gently pull back on the controls to take off.
  • As soon as the aircraft is showing a positive rate of climb on liftoff (both vertical speed and altitude are increasing), retract the landing gear (press G or drag the landing gear lever) and allow the speed to increase.


At 108 mph (93 knots), reduce power to 30″ Hg manifold pressure and 2,000 rpm. (Press F2, use the throttle control on your joystick, or drag the throttle levers to set the manifold pressure. Press CTRL+F2 or drag the propeller levers to set the rpm.) Maintain this speed while climbing to your cruising altitude.


Cruise altitude would normally be determined by winds, weather, and other factors. You might want to use these factors in your flight planning if you have weather systems along your route. Optimum altitude is the altitude that gives the best fuel economy for a given configuration and gross weight. A complete discussion about choosing altitudes is beyond the scope of this section.

Let’s say you’ve filed a flight plan for 5,000 feet (1,524 meters). Approaching your cruising altitude, begin leveling off at about 50 feet (15 meters) below your target altitude.

A typical cruise power setting in the Goose is 27″ Hg manifold pressure and 1,900 rpm, giving you an indicated airspeed of around 130 mph (113 knots) at 5,000 feet.

Remember that true airspeed is actually higher than indicated airspeed in thin, cold air. Experiment with power settings to find the setting that maintains the cruise speed and fuel consumption you want at the altitude that you choose.


A good descent profile includes knowing where to start down from cruise altitude and planning ahead for the approach. A good rule for determining when to start your descent is the 3-to-1 rule (three miles distance per thousand feet of altitude). Take your altitude in feet, drop the last three zeros, and multiply by 3.

For example, to descend from a cruise altitude of 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) to sea level:

5,000 minus the last three zeros is 5.

5 x 3=15

This means you should begin your descent 15 nautical miles from your destination, maintaining a speed of 130 mph (113 knots; it may not indicate this high until you descend into denser air) and a descent rate of 500 feet per minute. Add two extra miles for every 10 knots of tailwind.

In the Goose, adjust thrust during descent to maintain 130 mph (use the joystick throttle or press F2 to decrease thrust, or press F3 to increase thrust). The propeller lever should remain at 1,900 rpm.


As you near the approach phase of flight, bring the power back to 15″ and fly at 90 mph on downwind. When you intercept the glide slope or enter the downwind, set the flaps to 30 degrees (press F6 or click the flap lever).

  • If you’re landing on the water, check that the landing gear is retracted.
  • If you’re landing on a hard-surface runway, lower the landing gear (press G or click the landing gear lever). If the landing gear fails to lower automatically, press CTRL+G repeatedly to lower the gear manually.

Abeam the touchdown point, lower the flaps to 40 degrees. Turning base, go to full flaps.

Note: With full flaps, the approach angle is steep in this airplane. If you are new to the Goose, you may want to make the first few landings with flaps at 30 degrees. However, all water landings should be made with flaps set to 60 degrees.

Once committed to landing you should maintain 90 mph (78 knots).

Landing (water or hard surface)

The forward deck of the Grumman Goose is level when in a three-point attitude for landing. To learn more about three-point landings, see Flying Taildraggers in the Learning Center.

As you cross the threshold at around 50 feet (15 meters) AGL, maintain a slightly nose-low attitude with flaps down. Whether landing on the water or land, maintain this attitude to within a few feet of contact.

Raise the nose slightly to flare and slow the descent rate. Bring the power back to idle and hold some back pressure on the controls (hold the joystick aft or press the DOWN ARROW key). You should touch down at around 70-75 mph (65 knots).

On land, once the tail wheel is on the runway, apply the brakes (press the PERIOD key) to slow to taxi speed, exit the runway, and taxi to parking.

You can improve taxiing maneuverability in the water by lowering the landing gear. When approaching a beach with the intention of taxiing out of the water, it’s best to approach slowly and at an angle.

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