To call this motorhome remodel unique is probably an understatement. There aren’t many words to describe a 1951 Grmman HU-16 Albatross Aircraft turned into a one of a kind flying RV. As crazy as that is to read it is absolutely real. John and Julie Fetcko from Crescent City, Florida, after selling their business, decided to build a motorhome that could reach places that even the most rugged RV’s cannot. They took a Grumman Airplane that was originally used by the US Air Force and converted into an airborne motorhome. Only 37 of this type of aircraft were built and this may be one of the few still in existence.
As the owner, Julie Fetcko remarks on her website: “It was fitted with special search radar in the nose, a retractable Magnetic Anomaly Detector (MAD Boom) in the tail, sonar buoy launcher and 5 hard points under the wings. The hard points could carry 500-pound bombs, depth charges, torpedoes or rocket pods. The crew could not only find subs but destroy them as well. This aircraft served in the Chilean Air Force as part of the NATO exchange program during the cold war.” After all that it finds a new life as a flying RV!
John and Julie spent nearly $500,000 just to purchase the airplane. Once they had the keys to the Grumman Albatross, they began converting the aircraft to what we would all recognize as a motorhome. This process would yield a flying RV unlike anything we have ever seen.
Renovations in airplanes are extremely difficult. Weight is a huge factor as it is on traditional RV’s. However, airplane weight doesn’t just affect the handling and the fuel economy like a traditional motorhome, it also plays a role in a laundry list of aviation related safety concerns. Much of the interior wood work was made from Balsa wood to save on weight. They were also forced to go without some of the more useful amenities such as a dishwasher. Small trade off don’t you think?
Some may say that getting there is half the fun. Most motorhome homes can make a trip from Florida to Maine in around 24 hours. This flying RV travels at 200mph and can make the same trip in just over 7 hours. The travel speed and the fact that they can fly means that the Fetcko’s get to visit some of the most untouched spots in the world. They tell stories of visiting remote locations where they don’t see another person for their entire trip. How is that for getting away?
The Albatross Flying RV Video from the Travel Channel
To this video on a mobile phone click here.