The smallest of Grumman's amphibians developed for civil use, the Widgeon was conceived as a light personal and executive transport, following the success of the larger Goose.
The prototype Widgeon flew for the first time in July 1940, but America's impending entry into WW2 stalled plans for civilian production. The first production Widgeon was the military J4F1, a three seat anti submarine patrol and utility version for the US Navy. The US Navy and US Army Air Force ordered large numbers of Widgeons throughout the war years, others saw service with the US Coast Guard and 15 were supplied to Britain's Royal Navy, that service originally calling the aircraft Gosling. In all, 176 Widgeons were built for military service during the conflict.
After the war, Grumman refined the Widgeon for commercial use by altering the hull profile for improved handling on water and increasing seating capacity for up to six. Grumman built 50 of these as the G44A, while a further 40 were built in France as the SCAN30. Most SCAN30s were delivered to customers in the USA.
US firm McKinnon Enterprises offered conversions during the 1960s to both the Grumman Goose and Widgeon. McKinnon's Super Widgeon conversion involved fitting G44As with Lycoming GO480 flat six cylinder engines driving three blade propellers, which significantly boosted top speed, climb performance and range through improved fuel economy and extra fuel tankage. Other changes incorporated on the Super Widgeon were then modern IFR avionics, new wider cabin windows, more soundproofing, an emergency escape hatch, and as an option retractable wingtip floats. Modifications to the hull and structure meanwhile allowed an increase in the Super Widgeon's maximum takeoff weight.
Small numbers of Widgeons and Super Widgeons still fly, mostly in private hands, with a few in commercial service.
Original Aircraft - Design: Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation