PenAir Says Goodbye to the Grumman Goose

PenAir’s last remaining Grumman Goose is heading to a new home, arriving in Anchorage Friday from Unalaska.

This event marks the end of an era for PenAir. In the summer of 1977, PenAir founder Orin Seybert purchased two Grumman Goose aircraft from Bob Reeve and operated these unique aircraft in scheduled service out of Cold Bay for several years. In the early 1980’s PenAir began operating the now 70-year old Grumman Goose between Unalaska and Akutan.

Built in the 1940’s and 50’s, the Grumman Goose was known as the “flying boat” due to its unique ability to operate from land or water. At one time they were the mainstay of transportation in the state of Alaska, providing air service to small communities without runways. Its use was most prevalent in Southeast Alaska and in in the Aleutian Islands. Over time of the need for the Goose for scheduled service faded as new runways were built and air carriers were faced with high maintenance costs for an aircraft of its type.

PenAir CEO Danny Seybert and pilot Steve Hakala Jr. pose in front of the retired Grumman Goose.

In 1985 PenAir became the only remaining air carrier in the U.S. flying scheduled service with a Grumman Goose. October 22nd, 2012 marked the last day of scheduled service for PenAir’s Grumman Goose with its final flight between Akutan and Unalaska.

On Friday PenAir’s last flying boat arrived at Ted Stevens International Airport as PenAir is getting ready to say goodbye to this treasured member of the PenAir fleet. CEO Danny Seybert says, “It is a sad day but we fondly remember everywhere the Goose has flown, all it has done for the airline and all of the really great passengers it has carried. The Goose will truly be missed.”

The Grumman Goose arriving in Anchorage, which was built in 1946, will be operated by an air charter service in Alaska. The second PenAir Goose will be heading across the country to the Collings Foundation in Stowe, MA, known for their restoration and operation of WWII aircraft.

Celebrating 58 years of service, PenAir, began in 1955 in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Today PenAir is one of the largest operators of Saab 340 turboprop aircraft in the country. PenAir currently serves 10 communities in southwest Alaska. They are also proud to operate scheduled flights between Boston and Presque Isle, ME, Plattsburgh, NY and Bar Harbor, ME. Bar Harbor is served seasonally between Memorial Day and Columbus Day.