Al Williams' Grumman Gulfhawk
Flight Simulation


Al Williams' Grumman Gulfhawk


This is the eighth of the series of scale models from the Golden Age Of Air Racing. I deviated somewhat from my plan of building scale models of racing airplanes. First, this Grumman Gulfhawk was never used for racing, but was from that same period of aviation history. Second, I did not follow my original idea of building all these scale models to 1/12 scale. This one is 1/16 scale (3/4 inch per 1 foot). The 1/12 scale would have had a twenty eight inch wing span, a little too large for my display space. This one is a little over twenty inches. I did not attempt to make the landing gear retractable. I can remove the landing gear and insert dummy wheels into the wheel wells for simulated flight. See the photos below.

The Grumman Gulfhawk airplane was built for Major Al Williams, who had previously raced airplanes up until 1930 and was holder of the airplane speed record until 1934. The Gulfhawk was painted in the Gulf Oil Company's colors. Records don't indicate whether Wiliams or Gulf Oil purchased the airplane. The Gulfhawk design was almost identical to the Grumman F3F fighter airplanes that were aboard U.S. Navy aircraft carriers until 1941. The Gulfhawk was much lighter, stripped of all the military equipment.

Grumman Aircraft Company had a close relationship with the Navy, but by the mid 1930s, company officials were worried about the firm's sole reliance on military business and decided to also design planes for the commercial market. The company's first ventures into the non-military realm occurred in 1936 when it developed the G-21 "Goose" and the G-22 "Gulfhawk."

The Gulfhawk was made-to-order for the famous stunt pilot and one time air speed record holder Major Al Williams. A former naval aviator, Williams had long admired Grumman engineering, and when he needed a new acrobatic plane, he had Grumman build it. The Gulfhawk was a highly manoeuvrable single-engine, biplane with a maximum speed of 290 miles per hour (467 kilometres per hour), and in Williams's hands, it performed brilliantly. During the late 1930s, it was a major attraction at air shows worldwide. His demonstrations were also to promote Gulf Oil Company's aviation products.

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Gulfhawk Model Gulfhawk Model Photo of Restored
Grumman Gulfhawk

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