G-ASXG - not really a "McKinnon G-21C" as reported

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G-ASXG - not really a "McKinnon G-21C" as reported

Postby Rajay » Fri Jul 19, 2013 10:36 pm

I was about to start on my next installment of "From the beginning, starting with c/n 1201 - McKinnon style!" with a discussion of G-ASXG, Grumman G-21A Goose serial no. 1083, but it occurred to me that maybe it deserved a whole new thread of its own.

G-ASXG has often been mistakenly identified as a "McKinnon G-21C" because of its turbine conversion in 1967-1968, and it has been identified as such both with its OEM Grumman serial no. "1083" while still in the UK and later supposedly initially in Canada with McKinnon serial no. "1202" after being re-registered there as C-FAWH in 1973. Of course, the truth of the matter is that this aircraft was never actually, or at least never properly, re-certified under TC 4A24 as a "McKinnon" aircraft - because it was never actually eligible to be so re-certified.

It was not eligible to be re-certified as a "McKinnon G-21C" for two reasons:
1) Because it was not “built” (i.e. converted) or re-certified as such actually by McKinnon and
2) It was never actually a model G-21C - i.e. it never “conformed” to the official model G-21C “type design” as defined by TC 4A24 Section I and McKinnon Master Drawing List (MDL) no. 7, supposedly modified with turbine engines or otherwise.

Compare this aircraft to the "real" four-engine model G-21C aircraft, N150M (s/n 1201)
and N3459C (s/n 1202) pictured in the "McKinnon Style!" thread elsewhere under this
"Grumman G-21 Goose Reference Archive"

I'm not arguing that it wasn’t or contesting the fact that it actually was re-registered and identified as a "McKinnon G-21C" in the UK; the historical records from the G-INFO aircraft registration database are clear enough on that point; see http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/HistoricalMaterial/G-ASXG.pdf for yourselves. I'm just saying that it was a mistake for it to have been ever re-registered or identified as a “McKinnon G-21C” because it wasn’t one – not ever.

Besides which, as I have already discussed previously in the “McKinnon Style!” thread, a completely different aircraft was previously, as far back as 1959, converted and re-certified as “McKinnon G-21C serial no. 1202” – and that aircraft had been N3459C in the US and AP-AUY in East Pakistan, and by 1973 when G-ASXG became C-FAWH in Canada, the “real” four-engine McKinnon G-21C serial no. 1202 had become S2-AAD in Bangladesh.

So too the notion that a “McKinnon G-21C” conversion would still carry its original Grumman serial number as G-ASXG was re-identified and registered in the UK actually still as serial no. “1083” after its turbine conversion in 1968 is just absolutely ludicrous and nonsensical! IMHO it demonstrates that too many of the people involved in the modification of this aircraft were significantly if not totally ignorant of the regulations pertaining to aircraft production, certification, and identification – and also that the UK’s CAA, not unlike the FAA in the US, is a somewhat brain-dead bureaucracy that is incapable of validating the data that it mindlessly requires aircraft owners to submit.

At this point I can only guess that the owner of G-ASXG at the time, the Grosvenor Estates of the Duke of Westminster in Eccleston, Chester, submitted an application for a new registration to the UK CAA after it was modified by Marshalls of Cambridge using parts and engineering data furnished by McKinnon in the form of STC kits – but that is not the same thing as having been “built” or “converted” as a new “McKinnon” aircraft under TC 4A24 actually by McKinnon – which is the only valid way that any Goose could become an actual “McKinnon” aircraft.

Anything else or by any other means would have meant that it was still just a “Grumman G-21A” aircraft, albeit one that was modified with McKinnon STCs – which is something very different than the cases in which similar aircraft were converted and essentially rebuilt as almost completely new G-21 series aircraft – and actually re-certified by McKinnon under his TC 4A24. Even McKinnon did not re-certify all of the Goose aircraft that he modified; many were done not as new “McKinnon” aircraft manufactured under the auspices of FAR Part 21 and the authorities of his TC (no. 4A24) and his Production Certificate (no. 409) but only as modifications or “major alterations” of legacy “Grumman” aircraft accomplished or carried out under the auspices of FAR Part 43 by his certified repair station (CRS no. 4424) using his various supplemental type certificates as the requisite “approved data”.

I would also have to guess that the application for that new registration was not properly supported with documentation that is nominally required in the US – such as an FAA Form 317 “Statement of Conformity which certifies its production by the TC holder under and in conformity with a particular type certificate and approved type design. I said “nominally” because such documentation is nonetheless sometimes still overlooked - as it is known to have been in the cases of several other faux “McKinnon” Goose conversions that were actually accomplished by persons or organizations other than Angus G. McKinnon and/or McKinnon Enterprises Inc. of Sandy, Oregon.

In any case, the basic fact regarding the “major alteration” of any aircraft by means of a supplemental type certificate (STC) is that such aircraft actually remain certified in a primary sense still under the same type certificate under which they were originally built and certified. In the case of a Grumman model G-21A Goose such as G-ASXG, regardless of which STC’s are “installed” to modify it, it is still certified as a “Grumman” aircraft under ATC-654; the STC does not change that fact – it only “supplements” the original design configuration or parameters of the aircraft in question.

The interesting thing about Grumman Goose G-ASXG is that the records of its turbine-engine conversion once thought to have been lost have apparently now been found once again and the opportunity exists for us to be able to stop speculating and instead actually see what official paperwork was actually submitted in conjunction with its re-certification in the UK. The question is – does anyone over there care enough about this subject to go look them up?

I recently stumbled across the following records in the UK National Archives in Kew, but apparently they have not yet been digitized and so are not yet available for direct download via the Internet. Someone will pretty much have to volunteer to go there in person, dig them up, and hopefully scan or copy them themselves – and then also share them at least with me!



Are there any interested or dedicated flying boat enthusiasts over there on that side of “the pond” who would be willing to volunteer for this mission?
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Re: G-ASXG - not really a "McKinnon G-21C" as reported

Postby Kenny » Sat Jul 20, 2013 12:54 am

That might be me if they are in Kew, as I live about 8 miles from TNA and do visit on occasion, but as I'm presently so far behind with sorting out the last pile of images I snapped from my last visit two months back or so I can't guarantee how soon it will be...

I'll tag this page and check in just in case there are any other volunteers that may be able to get there sooner...
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Re: G-ASXG - not really a "McKinnon G-21C" as reported

Postby Rajay » Thu Jul 25, 2013 2:14 pm

Contrary to the info in my previous post, which is directly supported by the data from the G-INFO UK aircraft registration database, I have had to go by the word of others with regard to the historical records that supposedly exist (or once existed) of how G-ASXG was identified after it was sold and re-registered in Canada as C-FAWH in 1973 or so. I have been told (but still have yet to see for myself) that old, hardcopy, aircraft registration records or annual “yearbooks” published by Transport Canada show that it was initially identified as “McKinnon G-21C serial no. 1202” (I don’t suppose that any of you have access to old copies of Canadian aircraft registration “yearbooks” from the early 1970’s, do you?)

Of course, I have already demonstrated, I hope clearly enough for everyone to follow, that the identification of G-ASXG / C-FAWH as a “McKinnon G-21C” especially as serial no. “1202” was never valid – if for no other reason than the fact that it was already previously (and “still” at the time this aircraft was sold and re-registered in Canada) used by, for, or on a completely different aircraft – i.e. the second “real” four-engine model G-21C that McKinnon had “built” in 1959 and which was registered as N3459C from 1959 until 1967, as AP-AUY from 1967 until 1971 or so, and as S2-AAD from that time onward until it was scrapped in the fall of 2011.

The aircraft that had been registered previously as G-ASXG in the UK on the other hand, just to refresh your memories, was (and should have remained always identified as) Grumman G-21A serial no. 1083. And of course the other reasons that it was never validly identified as a “McKinnon” model “G-21C” is that it was not converted (“built”) actually by McKinnon and it also never “conformed” to the model G-21C type design as officially defined by TC 4A24 Section I and McKinnon Master Drawing List (MDL) no. 7.

Dave Hilchie adds: "I took this snapshot when I was working for Air West Airlines
at Vancouver as a mechanic. We had just completed several months work on the
aircraft that included stripping out the executive interior and installing high density
passenger seating (10 seats), reversing the engine intake scoops from the bottom to
the top of the nacelles, extensive avionics replacements and associated wiring and
a complete exterior paint stripping and repainting in the Air West colors of basic
white with black, red and orange trim.

(Ref. http://1000aircraftphotos.com/Contributions/6150.htm)

Mr. Hilchie’s comments are curious to me because according to the FAA type certificate for the Grumman model G-21A (i.e. ATC-654,) it is certified for only 8 seats – including the pilot’s and co-pilot’s – and even a McKinnon model G-21C per TC 4A24, Section I, is certified for a total of only 9 seats, once again including the pilot’s and co-pilot’s seats too. So how did Air West get away with installing 10 passenger seats presumably for a total of 12 seats including the pilot’s and co-pilot’s seats?

C-FAWH was converted back to R-985 radial (piston) engines in 1986 or so.

“Reportedly the aircraft was sold in 1978 to Trans Provincial Airlines (TPA) at Prince Rupert, and by 1986 it was owned by Jim Pattison Industries (also at Prince Rupert), while it converted back to R-985 radial (i.e. piston) engines [editor's note: something that would not have been possible if it had ever actually been re-certified as a McKinnon model G-21C; there is no STC to modify a McKinnon G-21C with R-985 radial engines.] It was sold to Air BC Ltd. of Richmond before being written off in a water landing accident on May 12, 1988. The remains are supposedly still in the aircraft junkyard at Port Hardy Airport, British Columbia.”
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