We are excited to begin this journey to restore this 1943 Grumman Goose G-21A N74588 serial number 1165 back to its former glory. N74588 has a very storied past to include service in Ketchikan Alaska, Seattle Washington, and the Virgin Islands. N74588 also starred in the 1954 Film Noir "Cry Vengeance".
"Bud" Bodding, aka "Father Goose" and Alaska bush pilot legend, stands atop N74588 while preparing for a flight with Ellis Airlines in Ketchikan, AK around 1948. After production, N74588 was first drafted into WWII as part of the Royal Air Force's auxiliary arm in Trinidad. After WWII was over N74588 was put into U.S. Navy surplus, where it was bought by Ellis Airlines.
In 1962, Ellis Airlines merged with Alaska Coastal Airlines, continuing service throughout Southeast Alaska. N74588 also did a short stint with Alaska Airlines between 1968 and 1972!
Part of the largest commercial seaplane operation in the world, N74588 carried passengers and cargo throughout the Virgin Islands including St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. Johns, as well as to Puerto Rico and Tortola. In 1982, N74588 began a period of storage and restoration, which is the state it is currently in.
The Goose comes in for a picture-perfect landing, bringing the main character Vic Barron from Annette Island to the Ketchikan Harbor--a common route for the Ellis Airline's Gooses.
N74588 taxis up to the dock and a star is born!
Further screen time for the Ellis Airline's Gooses.
The G-21A Goose was first designed in 1937 by Leroy Grumman and his engineers to provide a luxurious mode of transportation for businessmen to ferry back and forth from Long Island to the downtown waterfront of New York City. Built as an amphibious aircraft, the Goose was designed to be extremely versatile with the ability to land on both water (including lakes, rivers, and oceans) and runways.
Soon after the Goose began its private service, the drums of WWII came to the U.S. Built with the robust strength and detail of the famous "Grumman Ironworks", powered by two 450 horsepower Pratt and Whitney R-985 engines, and with a long range and loitering time, the Goose was presssed into service with the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard as well as numerous foreign militaries for coastal patrol and Search and Rescue missions.
After WWII, the Goose became a cultural icon in San Pedro in the 1960's through the 80's (as it had in Southeast Alaska as well as the Virgin Islands) as it flew across the channel between Catalina and the mainland, taking passengers to and from the "Island of Romance". To this day, there is a large model of the Goose hanging from the Island Express Terminal building in San Pedro, and references to the vital role the Goose played in Catalina's culture can be seen throughout the island.
N74588 is now located at the Louis Zamperini Field Airport (KTOA), right around the corner from San Pedro and Long Beach where the Goose used to be a common sight only a few decades ago.
We will continue to update the website with pictures and descriptions as the restoration progresses. Stay tuned!
Southern Cross Aviation, LLC is owned by Kurt and Amy Bohlken in San Pedro, California. Kurt is a retired Navy fighter pilot and Amy is a successful business developer for a construction company in Los Angeles. Kurt fell in love with flying and the Grumman Goose when he was eight years old and saw the Goose blaze across the TV in the 1982 series adventure "Tales of the Gold Monkey". Keeping it in the Grumman family, Kurt was privileged to fly the F-14D Tomcat while in the Navy. Now retired, the time has come for him to pursue his dream of flying the Goose. Kurt and Amy purchased the project Goose from good friends and fellow Goose lovers Rex and Noelle Mayes in Williams, California, owners of Goose N401SJ. Several years ago, Kurt came up with the Southern Cross idea for the business when he and his sister had a discussion over a few beers about what would be their favorite song to sing at karaoke--Crosby, Stills, and Nash's island-hopping adventure "Southern Cross" first came to mind for both of them. Coincidentally, the song includes the line "From a noisy bar in Avalon I tried to call you" which ties it all back to Catalina. Once N74588 is completed, Kurt and Amy hope to rekindle the "golden age" of aviation by reviving the Goose flights between San Pedro, Catalina, and beyond.