Our Goose: N703
Our Goose: N703
Pictured here in 2014 at the Goose Hangar.
On the Shore of Lake Hood
This is where our Goose sat from 1971 to 1994.
To "someday" be rebuilt
Among the rest of the junk on the site.
Mechanics were able to remove the props to start to peel away the shell of N703
Fabric along the wings was removed to view the structure.
Mechanics peeled back the layers to get a better look.
The Left Engine Revealed
It was going to talk a lot of work.
Fuselage On Cradles
Stripped down even further, the fuselage appeared to be intact
Removing the Outer Paint
As the paint was being removed....
A Long History
...the history of the airplane started to shine through.
Original Bureau of Aeronautics Number
The more paint that was taken off,....
...the more the airplane told us about itself.
This Goose, serial number B-81, carried Bureau of Aeronautics Number (Bu. No.) 37828 in military service which began August 31, 1944. In civilian service for the US Fish and Wildlife Service it was given the designation N703, which is the FAA tail number. Many of the markings on the fuselage reflect the aircraft military service during World War II.
Our Goose was manufactured and approved by the military August 31, 1944 as a JRF5. It first saw service with the United States Marine Corps, and was stationed at several Naval Air Stations including Annapolis, Point Mugu, and Santa Barbara.
In the 1960's it was surplussed to the US Fish and Wildlife Department, and operated out of Anchorage until being sold to a private owner in 1974.
N703 then sat dormant in the weeds on the shore of Lake Spenard (part of Lake Hood seaplane base at Anchorage international Airport) until being purchased by John Pletcher, and restored to original condition. Ownership has recently been transferred to B-81 LLC, which now owns and operates the aircraft.
The focus of the restoration was to keep it simple--bringing it back to its original condition from the 1940's. The restoration took nearly two years of work, totalling over 8000 labor hours. Since the airplane spent a long time in storage with the military and saw very few modifications, N703 is likely the most original military Goose in existence.
Since 1996 our Goose has been a familiar sight flying out of Anchorage, Alaska.
(use the slide handle below!)