A letter from Grumman Albatross n44RD at Hiller Aviation Museum
A word directly from this magestic aircraft…
My Journey Around the World
- six months
- 6 continents
- 21 countries
- 38 stops
- 26,000 miles
Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m known as the Flying Yacht, as well as the Boat in the Sky. Some people even refer to me as “the GOAT,” and I can appreciate that, because yes, I am—the Greatest Of All Time. My name is Grumman Albatross, and I am the largest aircraft on display at Hiller Aviation Museum.
It has come to my attention that last year, Rutland Water, the 747 in residence at Hiller Aviation Museum, wrote to you, and I must say I was a bit taken aback. Rutland Water is only a cockpit and first-class cabin of an aircraft, while I’m the whole plane, and I’m a boat, too! I’m as at home on a runway as I am on the sea and can even withstand 10-foot swells. And the 747’s windows don’t even open like mine! Finally, while the 747 recently celebrated 50 years in the sky, Grumman Albatrosses are going on 60+ years in flight. So, I think it is clear that if one of us is speaking on behalf of the museum, it should be me.
With that settled, let me tell you more about how this GOAT came to be an educator at Hiller Aviation Museum. I started off my career as a US Navy search and rescue aircraft, and ironically, it was me who was later rescued from the Arizona desert and restored by venture capitalist Reid Dennis. After years of restoration, followed by many adventures, I embarked on my most epic journey, when I become the first Albatross to circumnavigate the globe.
In 1997, I flew all the way around the world as a support plane to pilot Linda Finch, who was recreating the final flight path of Amelia Earhart in a Lockheed Electra 10E on the 60th Anniversary of her attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937.
In 2012, I was donated to Hiller Aviation Museum, where I represent the best of what these historical aircraft—and their daring pilots—offer, which is the inspiration to do things that have never been done before and stretch the bounds of what is possible through innovation, trial and error, and sheer determination.
In one of my proudest moments, I overheard Hiller Aviation Museum President & CEO Jeffery Bass say I was the most impressive aircraft at the museum! Together with the other aircraft and the museum staff and volunteers, we welcome more than 100,000 annual visitors, including families, school field trips, scouts, and Aviation Camp participants. My favorite activities are quarterly Open Cockpit Days when my door swings open and the public is welcomed aboard my impeccably restored cabin.
I’d like to ask you to consider making a year-end gift to Hiller Aviation Museum to support me and my fellow aircraft (yes, including the 747) and ensure that our visitors are inspired by all our aviation stories and delighted by the hands-on science exhibits and programs, including our Invention Lab, Drone Plex, and Flight Sim Zone. Your gift would directly help inspiration take flight!
Your generosity is the engine that keeps Hiller Aviation Museum going! A gift of $50, $250, $500 or more would truly support aviation and science education. Would you please make a donation today?
Regardless of what kind of aircraft (or boat) you take on your next journey, I wish you safe travels, and I look forward to seeing you at the museum in 2023!
P.S. On behalf of the entire team at Hiller Aviation Museum, thank you for considering making a donation this holiday season. Tax-deductible donations can be made online or by mailing your donation to the museum. Gifts of stock and gifts via Donor Advised Funds also appreciated!
The first $25,000 in gifts will be matched by an anonymous donor and fan of the Grumman Albatross! Double your impact by donating today!
Most frequently asked question about me:
Why do I have the Apple logo with the word “Inside” painted on me?
On my trip around the world in 1997 a new Apple laptop computer was onboard. “Apple Inside” was a form of word-play directed at Intel and its tagline “Intel Inside.” Just some Silicon Valley humor!