Grumman American AA-5 Series

Development

Following American Aviation's success with the AA-1 Yankee Clipper two-seat light aircraft in 1969, the company decided to produce a four-seat aircraft. They started with a new "clean-sheet" design that was designated the American Aviation AA-2 Patriot. The AA-2 design did not meet its performance goals during test-flying and only one was ever built.

Still needing a four-seat aircraft to fill its product line, the company simply enlarged the external and cabin dimensions of the AA-1 Yankee to create the four-seater. This decision capitalized on the marketplace identification of the Yankee and its derivative the AA-1A Trainer and also resulted in 2/3 parts commonality between the designs, saving development time and production costs.

Construction

All models of the AA-5 have four seats under a sliding canopy, which can be partly opened in flight for ventilation. Entry for all four occupants is from the wing root over the canopy sill. Compared to competitive aircraft of the same era the AA-5s are noted for their light and pleasant handling characteristics as well as high cruising speed for the installed power.

As derivatives of the original AA-1 Yankee, the AA-5 series share the same unique bonded aluminum wing and honeycomb fuselage that eliminates the need for rivets without sacrificing strength. The main landing gear is fibreglass with a spring-steel nose gear tube. There is no nosewheel steering as the nosewheel is free-castering through 180 degrees. Steering is by main wheel differential braking operated by using one's toes to push the tops of the rudder pedals.

Courtesy of: Wikipedia

AA-5 & AG-5 Production

All told, 3,282 AA-5s and AG-5s were produced by the five manufacturers between 1971 and 2005.

Suitable Triple R Grumman American Aircraft

AA-5A Cheetah

Grumman's engineers felt that the AA-5 design had more speed potential than the original Traveler, even with its 1975 improvements, and so embarked on an aerodynamic cleanup and redesign. Changes were made to the engine cowling and baffling to reduce cooling drag, the exhaust system was redesigned, the main landing gear fairings were further improved, the ventral fin was deleted and the horizontal tail was enlarged to allow a larger center of gravity range. Fuel capacity was increased from the Traveler's 37 US gallons to 52 gallons, thus increasing its range.

The new variant was named the AA-5A Cheetah and was introduced as a 1976 model in late 1975. In keeping with its namesake it was six knots (seven mph) faster than the Traveler with the same 150 hp (110 kW) Lycoming O-320-E2G powerplant. Because the Cheetah looked very much like the Traveler externally, Grumman's marketing department created a "leaping cheetah" emblem to differentiate it from the earlier AA-5.

Grumman sold its light aircraft division to Gulfstream Aerospace in 1978 and the division was renamed Gulfstream American. Gulfstream continued production of the AA-5A until 1979. A total of 900 Cheetahs were produced.

AA-5B Tiger

The final variant of the AA-5 line was the AA-5B Tiger. The Tiger was designed by Grumman engineers and was first produced in late 1974 as the 1975 model.

The Tiger was the outcome of the same redesign work on the AA-5 Traveler that resulted in the 150 hp (110 kW) Cheetah and it was originally little more than the same aircraft with a Lycoming O-360-A4K 180 hp (130 kW) engine, resulting in a 139-knot (257 km/h) cruise speed. Gross weight was increased from the AA-5/AA-5A's 2,200 lb (1,000 kg) to 2,400 lb (1,100 kg) on the Tiger. Externally the Tiger looked much like the AA-5 Traveler and AA-5A Cheetah so once again Grumman's marketing department came up with a distinctive decal package to differentiate the design – this time a "galloping tiger".

While the earlier AA-1s and AA-5s did not change much from year to year the AA-5B Tiger underwent almost continual improvement. As with the AA-5A, the AA-5B was continued in production by Gulfstream when they purchased Grumman's American division. Gulfstream ceased production of all piston-engined aircraft in 1979 and the highly successful Tiger design went out of production after 1323 aircraft had been delivered.

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