FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

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FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby Rajay » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:51 pm

FAA Type Certificate No. A33SO (Rev. 7, dated Aug. 16, 2010) is one very screwed-up “official” document. I am wondering if that is really the fault of the original owner who presumably submitted the erroneous data to the FAA, the FAA who apparently did absolutely nothing to review, confirm, or otherwise validate the data, or both. Probably “both”!

This TC, which was issued in accordance with 14 CFR §21.25(a)(2) for Restricted category “special purpose” operations only and not actually in accordance with the contemporary standards of 14 CFR Part 25 for Large, Transport category aircraft, was originally registered to and owned by Air Crane Inc. in Miami, FL.

On June 29, 2010, it was transferred / sold to Robinson Air Crane Inc. (probably really just an administrative paperwork exercise due to a change of name involving the very same company – so I would guess.) However, about two weeks later it was transferred / sold once again and it is currently registered to/owned by:

Amphibian Aircraft International, Inc.
c/o Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, PLLC (a law firm)
199 Liberty Street, SW
Leesburg, Virginia 20175

Type Certificate No. A33SO nominally pertains to or covers the following models of surplus, ex-military Albatross amphibians that were built originally by Grumman:

HU-16A
HU-16B
HU-16C
(UF-1, UF-1G)
HU-16D (UF-2)
HU-16E (UF-2G)
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Re: FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby Rajay » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:52 pm

As has been discussed previously both here on this forum and elsewhere, those HU-16 series designations nominally represent or signify the following:

HU-16A = short-wing Grumman “model” (actually just an “in-house” design no.) G-64 originally produced for the USAF as the SA-16A; re-designated as the HU-16A after 1962.

HU-16B = long-wing Grumman model / design no. G-111* conversions of legacy short-wing SA-16A aircraft produced for the USAF; originally designated as SA-16B but re-designated as HU-16B in 1962. This apparently was the most numerous type of the various long-wing conversions produced by Grumman with some 88 examples having been done.

(*Not to be confused with the civilian model G-111 long-wing conversions produced by Grumman subsidiaries in Stuart and St. Augustine, FL in the early 1980’s to create FAR Part 25 Transport category certified “airliner” versions of the Albatross for use by Chalk’s and Resorts International under FAA TC no. A22SO.)

HU-16C (aka UF-1, UF-1G) = short-wing Grumman model / design no. G-64 originally produced for the US Navy as the UF-1 or for the US Coast Guard as the UF-1G; US Navy UF-1 aircraft were re-designated HU-16C after 1962 but no short-wing versions of the Albatross remained in service with the USCG by 1962 so none were still around to be similarly re-designated.

HU-16D (aka UF-2) = long-wing Grumman model / design no. G-211 conversions of legacy short-wing UF-1 aircraft produced for the US Navy; originally designated as UF-2 but re-designated as HU-16D in 1962. Some 33 examples of this type were converted by Grumman for the US Navy.

Note that the last 21 out of 464 production Albatross aircraft were actually built from “scratch” as the long-wing variant and were not conversions of legacy, short-wing variants, but all were built for foreign military customers. Of those 21 aircraft, 11 (5 Grumman design no. G-191 aircraft for West Germany and 6 Grumman design no. G-262 for Japan) were contracted for through the US Navy acting as the purchasing agent with Grumman and as such, they were all designated as model UF-2 aircraft and carried USN Bureau of Aeronautics-assigned serial numbers (in addition to their Grumman OEM serial or “construction” numbers.) The other 10 were Grumman design no. G-231 aircraft that were purchased directly by the RCAF in Canada, which designated the type as CSR-110 aircraft.

HU-16E (aka UF-2G) = long-wing conversions of legacy short-wing UF-1G aircraft produced for the US Coast Guard; originally designated as UF-2G but re-designated as HU-16E in 1962. Some 79 examples of this type were converted by Grumman for the US Coast Guard and they were comprised of three separate production batches which included 59 design no. G-234 aircraft, 9 design no. G-270 aircraft, and 11 design no. G-288 aircraft.

The things is, the serial numbers listed as being “eligible” examples of each type under their respective sections, at least according the research I have been able to do, in too many cases do not make any sense according to those distinctions.
Last edited by Rajay on Mon Feb 27, 2017 8:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby Rajay » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:53 pm

Under Section I for the “Grumman Model HU-16A (Restricted Category), approved September 29, 1988” nominally meaning ex-USAF short-wing Albatross aircraft, the following ex-military serial numbers are listed:

149836, 142428, 132429, 131266, 131892, 137900, 137926, 137927, 131916, 142361, 141276, 131911, 142361, 137930, and 49-075

First of all, all of the serial numbers highlighted in red are actually US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics serial or "Bu." numbers and have nothing to do with USAF aircraft.

Note that “142361” is actually listed twice under Section I of the TC, but even worse, all of the serial numbers listed here under this Section of the TC, except for the very last one (49-075) are actually US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics-issued serial or “Bu.” numbers – which would suggest that they actually represent ex-USN short-wing, model HU-16C aircraft. So why are they listed here as supposedly ex-USAF model HU-16A aircraft?

Bu. no. 149836 was originally built for the USAF as a model SA-16A aircraft (Grumman OEM serial no. G-90 and USAF serial 51-017) but was apparently later transferred to the US Navy and re-designated as a model UF-1 (HU-16C) so, logically speaking, it should be listed either under Section I as a model HU-16A with serial no. 51-017 or under Section II as a model HU-16C with serial no. 149836, but certainly not under Section I as an ex-USAF model HU-16A with ex-USN Bu. no. 149836.

Bu. no. 142428 is actually listed twice in TC A33SO as well; under Section I as an ex-USAF short-wing model HU-16A in conjunction with its ex-US Navy Bu. no. 142428 but also under Section II supposedly as an ex-USAF long-wing model HU-16B using its former USAF serial no. 51-7162. However, there is no record that it was ever converted to a long-wing configuration of any kind. It was apparently built originally for the USAF as a short-wing SA-16A (serial no. 51-7162) and was later transferred to the US Navy as a short-wing model UF-1 (HU-16C) with “Bu.” no. 142428. Even worse, on its current registration as N51025, it is identified as Grumman HU-16C serial no. 17162. That serial number (“17162”) is just a corrupted version of its former USAF serial number 51-7162. (“17162” represents only how it was once painted on the tail of the aircraft, but it is neither valid nor proper in terms of an official serial number identification.)

Two other serial numbers listed under TC A33SO Section I as supposed ex-USAF, short-wing model HU-16A aircraft do not even correspond to any known military records for Albatross aircraft or to any current FAA registrations for such aircraft. They are serial numbers 132429 and 131266.

If “132429” is just a typographical error that was supposed to be 142329, then in the case of that particular aircraft, it was built as a short-wing USAF model SA-16A aircraft (Grumman OEM serial no. G-214 / USAF serial no. 51-7164) but it was later transferred to the US Navy as a model UF-1L / LU-16C* with Bu. no. 142329. Serial no. “17164” (aka 51-7164) is already listed under TC A33SO Section III as a short-wing US Navy HU-16C (once again also using a corrupted version of its former USAF serial number.) It should be listed under either Section I as an ex-USAF model HU-16A with serial number 51-7164 or Section III as an ex-USN model HU-16C aircraft with Bu. no. 142329. (*A “winterized” variant for service in Antarctica.)

If “131266” is just a typographical error that was supposed to be 141266, then in the case of that particular aircraft, it was built as a short-wing USN model UF-1 aircraft (Grumman OEM serial no. G-413 / USN Bu. no. 141266.) That aircraft became the 8th long-wing design no. G-211 conversion for the US Navy and was eventually re-designated as a model HU-16D. As such, it should be listed under TC A33SO Section IV. It is also still owned by the US Navy and currently “registered” as N693S because it was formerly on loan to and operated by the Smithsonian Institution. It is currently on loan to and displayed at the Sun ‘n’ Fun Air Museum in Lakeland, FL.
Last edited by Rajay on Fri Jun 28, 2013 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby Rajay » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:54 pm

Under Section II for the “Grumman Model HU-16B (Restricted Category), approved September 29, 1988” nominally meaning ex-USAF long-wing Albatross aircraft, the following ex-military serial numbers are listed:

0126, 1030, 9099, 51-5291, 51-7195A, 51-0043, 86B, 51-0019, 51-7162, 49-097, 99-7213, 51-7187, 51-025, 2132, 51-7246, 51-5303, 146427, and 51-7240

Of those serial numbers, 0126, 1030, 9099, 51-7195A, 86B, 99-7213, 2132, and 146427 are not valid ex-USAF serial numbers.

If “0126” is a typo for “1026” then that aircraft was Grumman OEM s/n G-100 and it was built for the USAF as a short-wing model SA-16A (USAF serial no. 51-026, aka “1026” as would have been painted on its tail) but it was subsequently transferred to the US Coast Guard as a model UF-1G (USCG serial no. 1026) and was subsequently converted into a long-wing model UF-2G / HU-16E – which would now be covered under Section V of the TC in question.

1030” probably represents Grumman OEM s/n G-104 which was built for the USAF as a short-wing model SA-16A (USAF serial no. 51-030, aka “1030” as would have been painted on its tail) but it was subsequently transferred to the US Coast Guard as a model UF-1G (USCG serial no. 1030) and was subsequently converted into a long-wing model UF-2G / HU-16E – which would now be covered under Section V of the TC.

9099” is most likely Grumman OEM s/n G-57 which was originally ordered by the US Navy as a model “PF-1” (Bu. no. 124322) but prior to delivery the contract was cancelled and the aircraft was completed for the USAF as a short-wing model SA-16A (USAF serial no. 49-099, aka “9099” as would have been painted on its tail.) In 1958 it was sold to Chile but then in 1962 it was converted into a long-wing SA-16B ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) variant with a bulbous, nose-mounted sea search radar and a MAD (Magnetic Anomaly Detection) telescoping boom or “stinger” in the tail (Grumman in-house design no. G-251 for Norway but G-315 for Chile; Job no. 848-003, Project no. 03CT, i.e. the 3rd such aircraft for Chile) and which was eventually re-designated as an SHU-16B. As such, it is legitimately listed here under Section II.

51-7195A” is obviously really just ex-USAF serial no. 51-7195 that has been administratively altered by the FAA because of some technical detail related to its reissuance for some reason. USAF serial no. 51-7195 was built by Grumman as a short-wing model SA-16A (OEM serial no. G-258) that was subsequently converted / upgraded to a long-wing configuration for the USAF (Grumman design no. G-111, Project no. 85B – meaning the 85th such conversion for the USAF.) As such, it is legitimately listed here under Section II.

86B” is actually a secondary serial or “project” number assigned by Grumman to OEM serial no. G-219, which was built originally for the US Air Force as a short-wing model SA-16A (USAF serial no. 51-7169) and which was later converted / upgraded to a long-wing configuration (Grumman design no. G-111, Project no. 86B which indicates that it was the 86th such conversion for the USAF.) As such, it is legitimately listed here under Section II. It was registered up until Aug. 6, 2009 as N123RK (before which it was registered as N113LA) but was apparently scrapped due to damage incurred during one of the hurricanes that hit Florida in 2004.

99-7213” is obviously really just ex-USAF serial no. 51-7213 which may have been administratively altered by the US Air Force probably because of its age or status prior to removal from service and final disposition. USAF serial no. 51-7213 was built by Grumman as a short-wing model SA-16A (OEM serial no. G-288) that was subsequently transferred to the US Coast Guard as a model UF-1G (USCG serial 7213) before being converted to a long-wing configuration for the USCG (Grumman in-house design no. G-288, Job no. 809, Project no. 74C which indicates that it was the 74th such conversion for the USCG.) As such, it really should be listed under TC A33SO Section V as a model HU-16E.

2132” most likely corresponds to ex-USCG serial number 2132 which was Grumman OEM serial number G-359 and which was built for the USAF as a short-wing model SA-16A (USAF serial no. 52-132.) This aircraft was transferred to the USCG as a model UF-1G prior to its long-wing conversion as Grumman design no. G-234, Job no. 728, Project no. 24C – meaning that it was the 24th such conversion for the US Coast Guard. As such, it became a model UF-2G and was subsequently re-designated as an HU-16E in 1962 – and it should be listed in TC A33SO under Section V. Even though it is currently registered with the FAA as N226GR, model HU-16E s/n 2132, it is currently painted up to represent a very colorful example of a USAF model HU-16B.

146427” is obviously another ex-US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics serial or “Bu.” number and it corresponds to Grumman OEM serial no. G-445. This design no. G-191 aircraft was one of the few Albatross aircraft that were built from “scratch” as a long-wing variant; in this case, as a model UF-2, serial no. 146427, for the West German Bundesmarine or Federal Navy. It was later further upgraded by Grumman and then sold to the Indonesian Navy. After being declared surplus, it was first registered as a civilian aircraft in Indonesia as PK-VAB and then it was sold to a private owner in the US and registered as N10GN. It currently belongs to a museum in Chino, CA, but as a model UF-2 (aka HU-16D) it should be listed under TC A33SO Section IV.
Last edited by Rajay on Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:08 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby Rajay » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:55 pm

Under Section III for the “Grumman Model HU-16C (UF-1, UF-1G) (Restricted Category), approved January 23, 1995” nominally meaning ex-USN and ex-USCG short-wing Albatross aircraft, the following ex-military serial numbers are listed:

131904, 131905, 131906, 131910, 131917, 137912, 137921, 137924, 137928, 137932, 137933, 141262, 141265, 141271, 142360, 142362, 17164

This Section of the TC seems to contain the fewest errors. The only spurious serial number listed here is “17164” which as mentioned earlier corresponds to Grumman OEM serial number G-214, which was built as a short-wing USAF model SA-16A aircraft (USAF serial no. 51-7164) but later transferred to the US Navy as a model UF-1 (HU-16C) with Bu. no. 142329. Note that it was actually one of a very few Albatross aircraft “winterized” by the US Navy for operations in Antarctica and was in fact designated as a UF-1L, which was later re-designated as an LU-16C. Albatross serial no. “17164” (aka 51-7164) is listed here as a short-wing US Navy HU-16C once again using a corrupted version of a previously-issued USAF serial number instead of the USN serial number actually assigned to it by the Navy’s Bureau of Aeronautics. It should be listed either under Section I as an ex-USAF model HU-16A with serial no. 51-7164 (as it was built originally) or under Section III as an ex-USN model HU-16C aircraft with Bu. no. 142329 (as it officially ended up prior to final military disposition and becoming a civilian-owned aircraft.)

Inexplicably however, most of the civilian registrations for the aircraft covered under this Section actually identify them each only as a generic model “HU-16”. So too as well, the registration specifically for N43GL (ex-USN “Bu.” no. 142360, aka OEM serial no. G-367) identifies it as a supposedly ex-USAF model “HU-16A” but it never actually served with the US Air Force. It did however apparently serve for a while with the US Coast Guard as UF-1G serial no. 1290, but it must have been returned to the US Navy before 1962 because the Coast Guard no longer operated any short-wing UF-1G Albatross aircraft after that time and other records show it as an HU-16C once again in US Navy markings as “Bu.” no. 142360 at NAS Key West in March 1965.
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Re: FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby Rajay » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:57 pm

Under Section IV for the “Grumman Model HU-16D (UF-2) (Restricted Category), approved January 23, 1995” nominally meaning ex-USN long-wing Albatross aircraft, the following ex-military serial numbers are listed:

7188, 7214, 7227, 7245, 7226, 1311, 146426, 141278

Of those however, only two (146426 and 141278) are valid ex-USN serial or “Bu.” numbers representing actual UF-2 / HU-16D aircraft and the rest appear to be ex-US Coast Guard serial numbers for Albatrosses, almost all of which were built originally by Grumman as short-wing model SA-16A aircraft for the USAF and which were only later transferred to the Coast Guard and eventually converted as long-wing USCG model UF-2G (HU-16E) aircraft. One (serial no. 1311) was actually built by Grumman originally for the USCG as a model UF-1G (OEM serial no. G-407) before later being upgraded / converted to a long-wing model UF-2G / HU-16E. Regardless, all of those former USCG model HU-16E aircraft should be listed separately under Section V of the TC.

HU-16D serial no. 146426 however, having been built originally as a model UF-2 for the West German Bundesmarine (Federal Navy) and then later sold / transferred to the Indonesian Navy, is currently registered in the US as N695S, a second Albatross formerly operated by the Smithsonian Institution, but it is spuriously identified as a supposed ex-USAF model “SA-16B” in conjunction with its former US Navy Bureau of Aeronautics serial no. 146426.

Also currently but nonetheless improperly registered are ex-USCG model HU-16E Albatross serial no. 7214 (Grumman OEM serial no. G-289) which is registered as N1384D and identified as ex-USAF (i.e. short-wing model SA-16A) serial no. “51-7214” and ex-USCG model HU-16E serial no. 7226 (Grumman OEM serial no. G-307) which is registered as N226CG and identified as an ex-USAF long-wing model “HU-16B” in conjunction with its ex-USCG serial no. 7226.
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Re: FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby Rajay » Mon Jun 24, 2013 9:58 pm

Under Section V for the “Grumman Model HU-16E (UF-2G) (Restricted Category), approved January 23, 1995” nominally meaning ex-USCG long-wing Albatross aircraft, the following ex-military serial numbers are listed:

1265, 1272, 1294, 137904, 137911, 2135

Of those, four (serial nos. 1265, 1272, 1294, and 2135) are known to be valid long-wing model UF-2G / HU-16E conversions for the US Coast Guard, but two (serial nos. 137904 and 137911) were actually built for the US Navy as short-wing model UF-1 aircraft and later upgraded / converted, still for the US Navy, as long-wing UF-2 (HU-16D) aircraft – and they never served with the US Coast Guard at all. As such, they should be listed actually under Section IV of the TC as Grumman model HU-16D aircraft.

Inexplicably, the first of those HU-16D Albatrosses listed under Section V as a supposed ex-USCG model HU-16E aircraft is actually currently registered as N8523H and improperly identified as a supposedly ex-USAF model “HU-16B” with USN “Bu.” or serial no. 137904. All of the rest of the aircraft listed under this Section, regardless of whether they were valid model HU-16E aircraft or really a model HU-16D (as in the remaining case of serial no. 137911) are identified on their current certificates of registration as only generic model “HU-16” aircraft.
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Re: FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby Rajay » Mon Jun 24, 2013 10:28 pm

So, the example of this particularly "screwed-up" FAA type certificate, at least for me, goes a very long way toward illustrating exactly why FAA regulations and other official publications stipulate that ex-military serial numbers are not supposed to be used to identify civilian-registered aircraft if, as is true in this case of these Albatross aircraft, a previously-issued OEM (i.e. Grumman) civilian serial or "construction" number for each does in fact exist.

Ref. 14 CFR 45.13(a) "Identification Data" and
FAA Advisory Circulars AC 21-12C "Application for U.S. Airworthiness Certificate, FAA Form 8130–6"
and AC 21-13 "Standard Airworthiness Certification of Surplus Military Aircraft and Aircraft Built from Spare and Surplus Parts"

That does not do much to eliminate the confusion over the military model numbers that changed both over time and with each transfer to another branch of the military, but at least the use of the original Grumman "G-" series construction numbers for the "official" civilian identifications and registrations of these aircraft would eliminate half of the confusion.

The military model numbers or designations are considered to be valid data for civilian registrations in this case (of Grumman Albatrosses) only because no comparable but separate "civilian" models of the military Albatross aircraft were ever certified or approved by the FAA or its predecessors - as was the G-21A variant of the Goose for example. Note that the model G-111 certified under FAA TC no. A22SO is not a "comparable" civilian model because it was specifically modified and upgraded to bring it up to full, modern, 14 CFR Part 25 "Transport" category certification standards and as such it was a far cry more advanced and refined than the earlier HU-16 series aircraft built for military service and only 13 of the 466 Albatrosses ever built were so "upgraded" to official FAA-certified status as model G-111 aircraft.

And of course, at least so far, I haven't been able to find anyone who cares....
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Re: FAA TC No. A33SO is really "screwed up"

Postby GMendes » Fri Jun 28, 2013 7:48 pm

Wow! That's a lot of research!
I love the Albatross, and the Portuguese Air Force had three in the mid and late 1950's. One of them went to Spain in early 1960's, the others crashed and were write-offs.. Strangely, despite all having short wings, a lot of sources state that they were a Sa-16A and two Sa-16B... A confusion that still exists today!

Best regards,

G_Mendes
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