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By , U-boats were well-armed with anti-aircraft guns and two Victoria Crosses were won by Catalina pilots pressing home their attacks on U-boats in the face of heavy fire: Flying Officer John Cruickshank of the RAF, in , for sinking U although the submarine is now known to have been U [11] and in the same year Flight Lieutenant David Hornell of the Royal Canadian Air Force posthumously against U Catalinas destroyed 40 U-boats, but not without losses of their own.

In their role as patrol aircraft, Catalinas participated in some of the most notable naval engagements of World War II. The aircraft's parasol wing and large waist blisters provided excellent visibility and combined with its long range and endurance, made it well suited for the task. Smith of the U. On 7 December , before the Japanese amphibious landings on Kota Bharu, Malaya , their invasion force was approached by a Catalina flying boat of No.

The aircraft was shot down by five Nakajima Ki fighters before it could radio its report to air headquarters in Singapore. Targets of these raids included a major base at Rabaul. RAAF aircrews, like their U. Navy counterparts, employed "terror bombs", ranging from scrap metal and rocks to empty beer bottles with razor blades inserted into the necks, to produce high pitched screams as they fell, keeping Japanese soldiers awake and scrambling for cover.

Catalinas were employed by every branch of the U. When there was no more room inside, the crew tied sailors to the wings.

PBY Catalina Operations Over The SW Pacific During & After WWII

The aircraft could not fly in this state; instead it acted as a lifeboat, protecting the sailors from exposure and the risk of shark attack, until rescue ships arrived. Catalinas continued to function in the search-and-rescue role for decades after the end of the war. Catalinas were also used for commercial air travel.

With the end of the war, all of the flying boat versions of the Catalina were quickly retired from the U. Navy, but the amphibious versions remained in service for some years. The last Catalina in U. The Brazilian Air Force flew Catalinas in naval air patrol missions against German submarines starting in The flying boats also carried out air mail deliveries. In , a transport squadron was formed and equipped with PBY-5As converted to the role of amphibious transports. Catalinas were convenient for supplying military detachments scattered along the Amazon.

They reached places that were otherwise accessible only by helicopters. His second son, Philippe , was killed in an accident in this aircraft that occurred on the Tagus River near Lisbon. The Catalina nosed over during a high-speed taxi run undertaken to check the hull for leakage following a water landing.


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The aircraft turned upside down, causing the fuselage to break behind the cockpit. The wing separated from the fuselage and the left engine broke off, penetrating the captain's side of the cockpit. Paul Mantz converted an unknown number of surplus Catalinas to flying yachts at his Orange County California hangar in the late s and early s. A larger, squared-off rudder was installed to compensate for the increased yaw which the more powerful engines could generate. The Super Catalina also had extra cabin windows and other alterations. The flight was authorized by the Chilean President in , but a second flight he made in was not authorized, and he was dismissed from the Chilean Air Force.

Of the few dozen remaining airworthy Catalinas, the majority are in use as aerial firefighting aircraft.

Catalina PBY-5A splash-and-go flight (onboard)

China Airlines , the official airline of the Republic of China Taiwan was founded with two Catalina amphibians. Platforms are folded out and deployed from Catalinas for use in open ocean fishing and Mahi Mahi tracking in the Pacific Ocean. The Catalina Affair is the name given to a Cold War incident in which a Swedish Air Force Catalina was shot down by Soviet fighters over the Baltic Sea in June while investigating the disappearance of a Swedish Douglas DC-3 later found to have been shot down by a Soviet fighter while on a signals intelligence mission; it was found in and raised — From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Further information: The Double Sunrise. Main article: Catalina affair. Aviation portal. Retrieved: 30 March Retrieved 31 January Retrieved: 14 November Deutsche U-Boote — — u-boot-archiv.

Consolidated PBY Catalina. 1935.

Retrieved 26 December Retrieved: 15 February Retrieved: 18 June Retrieved: 20 May Retrieved: 19 July Naval History and Heritage Command. Retrieved 21 April Qantas Empire Airways. March Retrieved 23 November Retrieved: 30 October Encyclopedia of World Air Power. London: Aerospace Publishing Ltd, Bridgeman, Leonard.

PBY Specifications

London: Studio, Cacutt, Len, ed. London: Marshall Cavendish, Creed, Roscoe. Crocker, Mel. Dorny, Louis B. Freeman, Elmer Spokane, Wash. Gaunt, Coral and Robert Cleworth. Cleworth, Greenhous, Brereton et al. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Gunston, Bill American Warplanes. New York: Crown Publishers Inc. Hendrie, Andrew. Consolidated got some satisfaction out of the failure of the P3M, with the company's Reuben Fleet commenting that Martin "underbid us a half-million and lost a million on the job.

The XP3Y-1 was a logical progression from earlier Consolidated flying boat designs but was state-of-the-art, being a very clean all-metal monoplane -- except for fabric-covered ailerons -- with a stepped hull, and the braced wing high-mounted on a pedestal above the fuselage, additional support being provided by dual struts from the fuselage. The flight engineer's station was in the pedestal, with living quarters featuring bunks for long patrols in the fuselage midsection. The tailplane was mounted well up the tailfin. Fuel storage was in the wing center section, capacity being 6, liters 1, US gallons.

One particular innovation was wingtip floats that retracted outward to the wingtips, using a crossbrace scheme. The XP3Y-1 had an enclosed cockpit, a glassed-in nose gun position with a single 7. There were two stores racks on each wing outboard of the struts; warloads included up to four kilogram 1,pound bombs, or four kilogram pound depth charges, or two Mark 13 torpedoes. Bombs were aimed with a Norden bombsight, sighting through a window in the bow, with an external roll-up protective screen. Wheatley at the controls, being flown from Buffalo to Norfolk, Virginia, a week later for Navy trials.

It was flown back to the factory in October , to be updated to a refined standard, and re-emerge as the "XPBY-1" in May -- the new designation meaning "Patrol Bomber", and not just "Patrol", indicating a long-range antiship role.

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On 29 June , well before the end of trials, the Navy had ordered 60 production machines to be designated "PBY-1" -- originally "P3Y-1". There were other tweaky changes, such as refinements to the other gun positions. On the completion of trials, the XPBY-1 performed a non-stop flight from Norfolk, Virginia to San Diego, California -- a journey of 5, kilometers 3, miles , which was a new international distance record.

Service machines were delivered with beaching wheels that could be attached to the hull to allow the aircraft to be pulled up on shore, as well as folding work platforms that could be hung off the airframe for performing maintenance. As PBYs were rolled off the assembly line, they were flown in groups to distant duty stations. Richard Archbold in Consolidated called this and the other few commercial machines "Catalina", after Catalina Island off the California coast, though the Navy wouldn't formally adopt the name until This aircraft was to be used to support an expedition into the interior of New Guinea.

PBY-5A Catalina (Lelystad) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - TripAdvisor

Archbold gave it the name "Guba", which was Papuan for "fierce storm". However, the Guba never got to its intended destination; it was bought off for a high-profile search and rescue effort, with Sir Hubert Wilkins hunting for the crew of a lost Soviet trans-Polar flight, under the command of Sigizmund A. The aircraft and its seven crew were never found. The Guba ended up in service to the Soviets for transport use, finally being destroyed in a bombardment by a German submarine of the harbor of the northern island of Novaya Zemlya in July Three commercial PBY-1s, designated "Model ", were also sold to the Soviet Union as part of a license production package, discussed in more detail later.

Initial delivery of this variant was in May Archbold to replace his "Guba" flying boat, to be of course known as "Guba II". They could be visibly distinguished from PBY-2s by the fact that the carburetor intake was moved from the bottom of the engine nacelles to the top.

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Deliveries were in The next variant, the "PBY-4", was fitted with R engines providing kW 1, HP each; the props had spinners, which were not fitted to any other Catalina variant. Most of the batch retained the sliding gun-port hatches behind the wing, but the last three featured glassed-in blisters that each mounted a single Browning, and provided excellent observation positions.

They would prove such a distinctive feature of the PBY that it's surprising to learn early production didn't have them. Following the PBY-4, Catalina production would go into high gear. It was classic FDR sleight-of-hand, since it amounted to providing military assistance to the British against the Germans. The whole thing was kept as secret as possible. On 20 December , the Navy accordingly placed a big order examples of a considerably improved Catalina, the "PBY-5" -- one of the three PBY-4s with waist blisters being refined as a prototype.

The PBY-5 version featured a further revised tailfin featuring a rudder with a straight rear edge, as well a new tailplane, and R Twin Wasp radials with kW 1, HP take-off power.


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  • The top-mounted carburetor was relocated to under the top lip of the engine cowling. Later production PBY-5s and all subsequent Catalina variants would feature the R, with the same take-off power but better high-altitude performance; they would also feature self-sealing fuel tanks. Up to that time, the Catalina had been a pure flying boat, incapable of landing on an airstrip and requiring beaching gear to be brought up on shore. An amphibious version, capable of operating off either land or sea, seemed like a good idea, and in April the first production PBY-4 went back to the Consolidated factory to be fitted with retractable tricycle landing gear.

    All landing gear were hydraulically-actuated and had single wheels, the nose gear retracting into a closed well, the main gear tucking up and over to the sides. Empty weight increased by almost two tonnes. Late-production PBY-5As had twin 7. In addition, fittings for four "jet assisted take-off JATO " solid-fuel rocket bottles were added on the fuselage behind the main landing gear. There are images of PBY-5s that also featured a magnetic anomaly detector tailboom, to detect the presence of a submarine underwater; presumably they could drop sonar buoys to get a more precise location of a submarine if one was detected -- and use homing torpedoes to engage it.

    They were allocated as follows:. The changes were significant enough to ensure that Consolidated could not build the new design without having to take down the production line and re-tool -- and since interrupting production was out of the question, on 16 July the US Navy awarded the Naval Aircraft Factory a contract to build examples under the designation of "PBN-1 Nomad". It featured:. Deliveries of the Nomad were badly delayed, with the variant not reaching service until early , and of the order were actually provided to the Soviets under Lend-Lease.

    The PBY-6A also had microwave radar by default. The Catalina had already seen action of sorts in support of the Atlantic "neutrality patrols", and was immediately in the thick of the action -- helping to hold the line against German U-boats. PBYs suffered badly in the initial onslaught in the Pacific, but their scouting provided badly-needed intelligence to help stem the Japanese tide.

    The PBY served in all oceanic theaters, from the Arctic to the tropics. In service, the Catalina was noted for the heaviness of its controls, that apparently being a common issue with Consolidated aircraft. It was also painfully slow and its defensive armament inadequate, making it an easy target for enemy fighters. Its primary virtues were very long range and reliability.

    Along with scouting, anti-submarine patrol, and convoy escort, the Catalina gained considerable appreciation from aircrews in the air-sea rescue role, with downed aircrews overjoyed to see a "Dumbo", as they called the PBY, show up to bring them to safety -- sometimes performing rescues under fire. Catalinas were also fitted with a lifeboat under one wing that could be paradropped to survivors.

    While the PBY proved highly vulnerable in daylight combat, from late they increasingly performed attacks on Japanese shipping at night, the black-painted machines being called, of course, "Black Cats". Catalinas also performed aerial minelaying, which proved particular devastating to enemy shipping. A few Catalinas were fitted with a magnetic ring, running from nose to tail and around the wingtips, to detonate magnetic mines.