All Survive Crash Of Historic Goose Amphib


All five people aboard suffered only minor injuries in the crash of one of the last Grumman Goose amphibs in commercial service last week. The historic aircraft, operated in daily service off Canada’s west coast by Wilderness Seaplanes, went down shortly after takeoff from Bella Bella, B.C., on Dec. 18. “The aircraft appears to have suffered an engine(s) failure and descended into the trees about half a mile from the airport,” Wilderness Seaplanes Operations Manager Vince Crooks told the Victoria Times Colonist. The plane was on its way to its base in Port Hardy, on northern Vancouver Island, with a pilot and four fish farm workers. The five were able to walk from the crash site to a road and were checked in a hospital and released.

Wilderness has three of the aircraft, making it one of the last fleet operators of the type, which was developed in 1935 as an eight-seat commuter aircraft for New York businessmen who lived on Long Island. A total of 345 were built and it’s believed about 30 of them, mostly owned by private operators, remain flying. Wilderness’s Gooses are used to serve about 50 coastal communities, resorts and commercial operations. The accident airplane is badly damaged but the fuselage remained intact. “It’s a testament to the strength of the aircraft,” Crooks told the Times Colonist. “They were built very, very solid, which is why they’re still here.”

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.


  1. I don’t know anything about the single engine performance of a Goose but wonder if those heavy old things are simply transported to the accident site by the second engine. Any Goose vets out there?

    • I understand it is considered a ‘split power’ aircraft – not multi-engine in the sense it could remain flying on one engine.
      If you lose one, you merely have a little more time to decide where to crash.

  2. Not a Goose or Grumman “vet” but the Grumman name was revered by every Grumman driver I ever encountered. That includes Gulfstream drivers. The company name they used most often was: Grumman Bridge and Iron Works. Sounds bad to most aviators but I am sure the folks that “walked away” from this crash will attest to the veracity of that moniker. I knew a lot of WWII Navy jocks that swore by the strength of their machine.

  3. Decades ago, Barry Schiff reported that the single-engine rate of climb and service ceiling are regarded as nil.
    When taking off with miles of water visible through the windshield, the notion of an engine failure immediately after liftoff is not as daunting as when flying a light twin from land. Simply land straight ahead and worry later about how difficult or impossible it can be to steer the boat on water with asymmetric thrust.