Grumman S2F Tracker + Crew
The Grumman Tracker was very successful in service of the Royal Netherlands Navy.
In total the Navy Air Arm received 45 Trackers. 28 US build S-2F and 17 Canadian (C)S-2F. The Canadian type was mostly used in the former Dutch Antilles. Naval Air Station HATO at the island of Curacao was it's home base.
Not one was lost. Only Tracker 153 became world news.
In 1964, a Tracker (153) was hijacked. A young, highly intelligent aircraft electronic mechanic would like to transfer to pilot school. He was accepted, but for one or the other reason, had to leave pilot training at a later stage.So did return a very frustrated mechanic to his old squadron. A disaster was in the pipeline.
During a squadron rotation to Malta, he hijacked tracker 153 from the apron by himself and flew, during a flight lasting almost 4 hours, to a desert landing strip near Benghazi in Libya. No maps, no manuals! Not a scratch to the aircraft. Due to diplomatic effort, the plane was, after one year, handed back to The Netherlands. The mechanic asked and was granted political asylum.
Later on, missing his family, he decided to return to The Netherlands. On arrival at Schiphol Airport, he was arrested in the aircraft by the Military Police. After trial he was sentenced for a while to the military prison. Later he emigrated to the US.
The Tracker, lashed to the deck of the carrier Hr.Ms. karel Doorman. The crew is posed in front for a photo shoot. Not finished yet is the SH-34J Sikorsky helicopter that will accompany the Tracker. So the diorama will be back.
Comments are most welcome.
8 additional images. Click to enlarge.