Shown from left to right are Mr Codi Diamond, 94th ACG Company Pilot, Dr. Sean Gallegan, Principle of George T. Baker Aviation School, Captain Roberto Gomez, Manager of Watson Island Sea Plane Base, USCG Commander Andy Delgado, Executive Officer Coast Guard Air Station-Miami and Benny F. Benitez 94th ACG Founder & CEO
The Project launch team next to the nose section of the Grumman HU-16 Albatross
Present at the Grumman Albatross Project kick off meeting as shown from left to right is Mr. Ignacio "Nacho" Vega and Captain Roberto Gomez who manage the operation at the Miami Sea Plane Base located on Watson Island and known on the charts as X-44. The restored Grumman HU-16 Albatross nose section will be displayed at X-44 to pay tribute to the men and women of South Florida Coast Guard / U.S. Naval Aviation
Engaged in conversation within Dr. Gallegan office concerning the details of the Grumman HU-16 Albatross Project kick off meeting is Commander Andy Delgado, Executive Officer Coast Guard Air Station Miami, School Principle Dr. Sean Gallegan and Mr. Ignacio Vega of the Miami Sea Plane Base, X-44
Captain Roberto Gomez explains his idea for the project as USCG / AMT2 George Martinez and George T. Baker Instructor Mr. Allen Munoz listen. AMT2 Martinez will be the liaison between the School and the Coast Guard Air Station. Mr. Munoz shall head the team of students who will undertake the cosmetic restoration of the Grumman HU-16Albatross nose section
Mr. Codi Diamond, 94th ACG Company Pilot listens as AMT2 George Martinez and Captain Roberto Gomez share ideas of the structural repair to undertake to restore the Albatross nose section
The nose section of the Grumman Albatross as it sit prior to the commencement of restoration work. The large hole on the aircraft nose required the installation of the aircraft radome cover which was removed for transportation by dolly to the School
An example of a USCG HU-16E as when they operated from GCAS-Dinner Key up until 1971. This is the color / paint scheme that shall be applied onto the project nose section so as to represent USCG-Aviation in South Florida
Miami, Florida 14th January 2013: With the start of the New Year 2013, the 94th AeroClaims-Aviation Consultant Group (94th ACG) kicked of the year by coordinating yet another community project in support of the George T. Baker Aviation School and to show support toward their friends at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Miami at Opa Locka Airport. Originally, Captain Roberto Gomez approached and tapped Benny Benitez, Founder & CEO of the 94th ACG for ideas concerning the possible restoration of a Grumman Albatross nose section which was saved from the scrapper torch at Opa Locka Airport.
Benny and the 94th ACG are strong and avid support of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) and draw up an idea to restore the Grumman Albatross nose section in the colors and markings so as to pay tribute to USCG Aviation long time and historical presence within South Florida.
Within days, Benny contacted his friend Captain Richard Keinn, USCG 7th District Chief of Staff who linked him up with the leadership at Coast Guard Air Station (CGAS) Miami who welcome the idea and within a very short time Benny was in direct communication with Captain Joe Kimbell, Commanding Officer of CGAS-Miami and with his 2nd in command, Commander Andy Delgado, the Executive Officer.
Benny idea was in two folds, first to save a historical part of USCG-Aviation and to engage the Students at the George T.Baker Aviation School to partake in a project that invokes and support USCG-Aviation.
Being an facilitator in nature, Benny organized the project first and successful meeting that kicked off the project by and between the School and the CGAS-Miami. The goal set would to have the students display their aircraft restoration work and abilities at a May 2, 2013 Miami-Dade School Aviation event to be held at Opa Locka Airport. Further reports are to follow as the students make progress on their project.