One of the best-kept secrets in Ketchikan is not to be missed, and that’s seeing “821,” the nickname of an impeccably restored Grumman Goose amphibious aircraft that connected Ketchikan to the rest of the world from the 40s to the 70s.

Before Ketchikan’s airport opened in the early 70s, anyone who flew in or out of the community did so by way of the Goose, which can take off from and land with ease on rugged beaches and water. Just 345 of these Grummans were made in the 1930s and were used almost exclusively by the military during World War II. Their use in Alaska provided remote island communities like Ketchikan and Kodiak with a reliable option for transportation, groceries and other supplies.

Credit for preserving this critical piece in Ketchikan’s transportation history goes to a lot of volunteers, but the driving force behind the entire project to restore “821” is Don “Bucky” Dawson, whose determination single-handedly kept the project moving forward over nearly two decades.

Look up Bucky when you’re in town to get a tour of the Goose and hear the amazing story of what it took to restore it to its original design, using authentic parts and a just a few volunteers. You’ll get the real scoop from a man who is passionate about saving an iconic aircraft that played a decades-long role in our air culture.

Getting There

Latitude: 55.355393
Longitude: -131.710603
Driving Directions