Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

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Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby Rajay » Thu Sep 25, 2014 3:37 pm

I'm hoping that Bill (Mr. W) in particular will be able to help me with these questions....

What is the current status of the Dean Franklin and J. Ray McDermott STCs to install 260 hp Continental IO-470 engines on a Widgeon? (Or the 240 hp O-470 and 285 or 300 hp IO-520's too for that matter....)

I don't see anything that looks like them in the current list of STCs applicable to TC no. A-734 in the FAA online RGL database. Do you (or anyone else) know if they were surrendered, cancelled, or otherwise officially withdrawn from use?

Do you happen to know what are (or were) any of the specific STC numbers in question such that they can be double-checked as such in the database? (Hmmmm. I might have one answer to that last question in the copies of the records for N23456, G-44 s/n 1270, which I bought from the FAA archives in OK City.)

AFAIK McDermott is still in business, but of course modifying Widgeons was only ever a very small part of their overall oil drilling support operations - and one that I would bet they haven't done in 30+ years or more.

Dean Franklin on the other hand finally retired about 15 years ago and as we know sold off most of his parts inventories, salvaged hulls, etc to Antilles Seaplanes, Deiter Martin in Germany, and others. I think that I heard he eventually died too - if he was still alive, he'd be something like 103 now! (Do you also happen to know when that might have been?)

I also know that most if not all of the former McKinnon STCs (engine conversions and other mods too) and the relatively new Magnum conversion STC are still "active" and now safely in the hands of Mark R. in Rochester, NY. Last time I talked with him, he was using them for his own personal purposes and did not yet know what other plans or uses he might have for them in the future.

Thanks a bunch!!!
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby MrWidgeon » Thu Sep 25, 2014 8:57 pm

McDermott got out of the conversion business over 30 years ago and surrendered the STC's back to the FAA.
A search of the FAA STC data base should turn them up (not easy, in fact it's pain in the butt).
McDermott no longer operate Widgeons and haven't for about as long.
The conversion business was started as a way to improve their own fleet, not as a money maker, but then Gulf Oil wanted one, then Union Oil and so on.
In order to get the converted airplanes into use in Nigeria, they had to incorporate the Aviation Dept. as an aircraft manufacturer and modification center.
With the decline and eventual loss of inshore exploration & drilling in South Louisiana the need for the Widgeons was gone and as soon as that need passed the conversion business was closed and the airplanes sold.
By that point they hadn't done a new conversion in probably 15 years, one of their own airplanes going to Nigeria was the last as far as I know.

As for the Franklin conversions, I've no clue as to the whereabouts/ownership of the STC's or when Dean Franklin passed away (I'm sure he has by now too).

It's good to hear the McKinnon STC's are in good hands, but I hadn't heard about the Magnum STC transfer, I thought they were still held by Dennis Burke.
So much the better as long as the holder remains in good health or has provisions in his Will.
A single private owner is worrisome to me personally.

Happy hunting for the rest Rajay.

Bill
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby Rajay » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:17 am

Results of my after work research this evening:

The records that I have for N23456 (Grumman G-44 s/n 1270) for example show that it was converted from two Ranger L-440-C5 to two Continental IO-470-M engines in accordance with Dean H. Franklin / Gander Aircraft Corporation STC nos. SA81SO and SE152SO on June 27, 1969 while it was in Kodiak, AK.

STC no. SA81SO is actually one of the various Widgeon engine conversion STCs still listed as current an/or active in the FAA RGL database:

STC Number:
SA81SO

This certificate issued to:
Paul S. Array

STC Holder's Address:
819 Peacock Plaza, #668
Key West FL 33040
United States

Description of the Type Design Change:
Installation A, B, C, or D of Continental engines and Hartzell HC-82 XF-2B/8433-2 or HC-82 XF-2B/8433-4 props, increase in take-off and landing gross wt. to 4840 lbs.

Application Date:

Status:
Reissued, 12/13/2001

Responsible Office:
Atlanta Aircraft Certification Office (ACE-115A), Tel: (404) 474-5500

Note: the second STC listed for the conversion on N23456, STC no. SE152SO, is for altering the engines as used on the Widgeon - apparently it was necessary to re-locate the throttle body & fuel injection servo.
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby Rajay » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:40 am

I also came across the fact that at least one, non-engine related, Widgeon STC owned by McDermott is still current and/or active according to the FAA RGL database:

STC Number: SA61SW

This certificate issued to:
J R McDermott & Co Inc

STC Holder's Address:
Lakefront Airport
New Orleans LA 70113
United States

Description of the Type Design Change:
Horizontal stabilizer raised 5/8 inch per STC SA2-13.

Application Date:

Status: Issued, 01/01/1960

Responsible Office:
Ft. Worth Special Certification Office (ASW-190), Tel: (817) 222-5190
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby Rajay » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:46 am

I also looked at the records I have for N90727, Grumman G-44 s/n 1334, which has the McDermott IO-470 engine conversion - but the records for that particular modification were not included in the FAA archives - it was done while the airplane was owned & registered in Canada as CF-PNT...

and historical records for former Canadian aircracft are much harder to come by ... :(

I wonder if one of the current owners would scan and send me a copy of the original records they presumably have in its actual logbooks...if I ask nicely? Pretty please? ;)
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby SeaplaneWorks » Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:53 am

Yes, Seaplane Works does own all of the McKinnon STCs along with the Magnum Conversion. Long story short, all of these STCs were acquired by Ron Broyles (aka Ace Aviation) and maintained by him through the closure of "Ace". Then a few years back, Seaplane Works did make a deal to purchase the ownership interest in all of the STCs that he had.

At this point, we are just finishing up converting S/N 1324 to the Magnum but also purchased N440GW which already has been converted. If someone is interested in doing a conversion, the STCs are available to be licensed. Also, all of the parts inventory that I had was purchased by a gentleman out in California. I do not believe that any of the parts are for sale as he is planning on restoring two or three airplanes.

As for Dean Franklin, yes he passed away a while back but his remaining wife owns the STCs. I have never talked with her so I really have no idea on how to proceed in getting use or information about them.

If there is anything else I can do to help, please feel free to post or email me.

Mark
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby MrWidgeon » Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:13 am

Hi Mark, good to hear the whole tale straight from the horses mouth (instead of from the other end of the horse as is usually the case in the Av business).
Being anchored out here in Idaho I miss a lot of the news unless it gets posted here or on one of the Grumman Yahoo Group pages.
I guess that makes you the new Widgeon Meister, Congratulations !
Are you thinking about adding the Franklin STC's ?

I'd like to see pictures of 1324 when it's finished (& N440GW) if you don't mind.
(Gotta keep up my data base you know)

Rajay, regarding the the elevator STC (SA61SW), as far as I know it was only done on McDermott's airplanes and Gulf Oil's.
Not to say it wasn't done on others, but those I'm sure of.
By 1960 I'm pretty sure most of the in house conversions had been done, the only ones done in house that I'm aware of after that were new acquisitions that the Company bought to send to Nigeria and Alaska .
Through conversations with the former Chief of Maint. who was still bending wrenches back in the day, the STC was installed on the Company airplanes during Annual Inspections.
Raising the leading edge of the stabilizer that 5/8ths of an inch changed the wing's angle of attack which lowered the nose resulting in better over the nose visibility and a slightly higher cruise speed.
That address for McDermott is very much out of date, they left New Orleans and moved the Corporate Headquarters (& Flight Dept.) to Houston back in the late 1990s or so.
So I wouldn't put much trust in the FAA's records (no surprise there).

Regarding the conversion to C/N 1334, it was a kit McDermott sold to the Canadian owner who had it installed locally.
In 1993 I had a chance to fly it once with then owner Richard Wein and I asked him if it had been done in New Orleans and he told me the log books said it was done in Canada.
It's currently for sale (like most Widgeons are).

Bill
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby SeaplaneWorks » Fri Sep 26, 2014 12:41 pm

Hi Bill,

Here is a picture of N440GW just before I flew her home from Burlington, VT.


The airplane is just coming out of annual (expired the month before the deal was closed). I do plan on doing some photo work with it when its back in the air and will send some more at that time. With regard to s/n 1324, I will send some when its complete and repainted.

At this point, I am not looking to purchase any more STCs. I did briefly look into Dean a couple of years ago to try and get some information and see if he was still around. As for being the Widgeon Meister, Thanks but that really was not my initial intentions. But hey, when do things really turn out the way we intended??? All I can say is that the STCs are safe and available if people are interested.

Mark
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby MrWidgeon » Fri Sep 26, 2014 1:11 pm

Hi Mark, got an error on the photo, it won't open.

It's good to hear the STCs are in good hands, I would have been surprised if you'd said you WERE going after the Franklin STCs.
Kind of redundant with what you already have.

I'm looking forward to those new photos. :)

Bill
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Re: Current Status of Widgeon engine conversion STCs?

Postby Rajay » Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:54 pm

In checking whatever info there was in Fred Kight's new book on Grumman Amphibians, first off I'm more & more disappointed with all of the obvious mistakes that I keep finding there, so I don't know what info I can trust that is not already known to me in its correct form separately from the book.

For example, the book more often than not improperly identifies the Lycoming engines used in the McKinnon Super Widgeon conversions as the models GSO-435-C2B (260 hp) and GSO-480-B1D (270 hp) when of course none of those engines were supercharged or had a corresponding "S" in their model designations. For the most part, the actually supercharged GSO-480 series engines, such as the GSO-480-B2D6 engines that McKinnon used on his 4-engine G-21C Goose conversion, were rated much higher at 340 hp.

Similarly, in the book, the Franklin / Gander IO-470 engine conversion is identified as STC no. SA152SO, but that too is apparently incorrect because according to the official documentation from the FAA archives in OK City that I havein my possession, the correct STC numbers are SA81SO for the installation of the IO-470 engines on the Widgeon and SE152SO to modify how the fuel injection servo is mounted on the engine itself. The "SA" code signifies an STC for modifying an Airframe and the "SE" code one for modifying an Engine - quite logically so.

So too, when the book noted that the J. Ray McDermott IO-470 engine conversion for the Widgeon was STC SA2-284, I don't know if I can trust that. I think that I'll require independent corroboration. However, I could find no record of such an STC in the current FAA database, including in terms of "surrendered" STCs, so if that number is correct and it did exist way back when, I suspect as Bill suggested that it was surrendered a very long time ago.

The search for the Widgeon X-files continues...the truth is out there!
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