Consolidated Catalina landing at Sri Lanka

Consolidated Catalina landing at Sri Lanka

Consolidated Catalina landing at Sri Lanka

This picture shows a Consolidated Catalina coming in to land on the coast of Sri Lanka, at some point during 1944. Given the lack of visible markings, this aircraft could be from any of Nos.191, 205, 321, 357 or 413 Squadrons.


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Qantas Double Sunrise Flights

After the fall of Singapore and with the Japanese occupation of South-East Asia, Australia became cut-off from direct communication with Europe. It was decided that Qantas would receive five Catalina aircraft under “Lend-Lease” to operate direct Perth – Ceylon services, operating from Crawley Bay on the Swan River in Perth and lake Koggala in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). To increase the range of the aircraft to the 3,600 nautical miles (6,700 km 4,100 mi) that would be needed, they were stripped of all non-essential equipment and additional fuel capacity was added to give them almost 2400 US gal / 2,000 imperial gallon capacity, up from the standard 1750 US gal / 1450 imp gal. Weight was so critical that only three passengers, and one passenger weight of cargo could be carried. The mail was “microfiched” so as to enable it to be carried.

The five aircraft were given the names ‘Rigel Star’, ‘Spica Star’, ‘Altair Star’, ‘Vega Star’ and ‘Antares Star’ after those stars used by the Navigators to find their way. The service started on 29 June 1943 and 271 crossings later was concluded on 18 July 1945 when Liberators took over.

Performance was so critical that should the aircraft suffer an engine failure in the first few hours of flight, it would be unable to remain airborne. Once the aircraft departed, then for the next thirty or so hours as the aircraft flew along at 100 kt, no one knew where it was until it arrived at its destination. Once there, passengers were presented with a certificate – “The Secret Order of the Double Sunrise”.

At the completion of the war, the five aircraft were scuttled off Rottnest Island off the coast from Perth / Fremantle.

Here is a talk given by one of the Double Sunrise Crew.

Another half-hour video talk about the Catalina and the Double Sunrise Flights


Naming

The designation "PBY" was determined in accordance with the U.S. Navy aircraft designation system of 1922 PB representing "Patrol Bomber" and Y being the code assigned to Consolidated Aircraft as its manufacturer. Catalinas built by other manufacturers for the US Navy were designated according to different manufacturer codes, thus Canadian Vickers-built examples were designated PBV, Boeing Canada examples PB2B (there already being a Boeing PBB) and Naval Aircraft Factory examples were designated PBN. In accordance with contemporary British naming practice of naming seaplanes after coastal port towns, Royal Canadian Air Force examples were named Canso, for the town of that name in Nova Scotia. The Royal Air Force used the name Catalina and the US Navy adopted this name in 1942. [3] The United States Army Air Forces and later the United States Air Force used the designation OA-10. US Navy Catalinas used in the Pacific against the Japanese for night operations were painted black overall, and as a result were sometimes referred to locally as "Black Cats".


Consolidated Catalina landing at Sri Lanka - History

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Roles in World War II
The final construction figure is estimated at around 4,000 aircraft, and these were deployed in practically all of the operational theatres of World War II. The PBY served with distinction and played a prominent and invaluable role in the war against the Japanese. This was especially true during the first year of the War in the Pacific, because the PBY and the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress were the only two available aircraft with the range necessary. As a result they were used in almost every possible military role until a new generation of aircraft became available.

Anti-submarine warfare
PBYs were the most extensively used ASW aircraft in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters of the Second World War, and were also used in the Indian Ocean, flying from the Seychelles. One of their jobs was escorting convoys to Murmansk. By 1943, U-boats were well armed with anti-aircraft guns and two Victoria Crosses were won by PBY skippers pressing home attacks on U-boats in the face of heavy fire: John Cruickshank in 1944 against U-347 and in the same year Flight Lt. David Hornell RCAF (posthumously) against U-1225. Catalinas destroyed 40 U-boats in total but suffered losses of their own. On December 7, 1941, Mitsubishi A6M fighters from Akagi attacked NAS Kaneohe Bay at Oahu, Hawaii, destroying or disabling all of the 33 PBYs stationed there.

Maritime patrol
In their role as patrol aircraft, Catalinas participated in some of the most notable engagements of World War II. The aircraft's parasol wing and large waist blisters allowed for a great deal of visibility this, combined its long range and endurance, made it well suited for the task.

– A Coastal Command Catalina with a USN commander among the British crew which
located the German battleship Bismarck on May 26, 1941 while she tried to evade
Royal Navy forces.
– A flight of Catalinas spotted the Japanese fleet approaching Midway Island,
beginning the Battle of Midway.
– An RCAF Canso flown by Squadron Leader L.J. Birchall foiled Japanese plans to
destroy the Royal Navy's Indian Ocean fleet on April 4, 1942 when it detected
the Japanese carrier fleet approaching Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Night attack and naval interdiction
Several squadrons of PBY-5As and -6As in the Pacific theater were specially modified to operate as night convoy raiders. Outfitted with state-of-the-art magnetic anomaly detection gear and painted flat black, these "Black Cats" attacked Japanese supply convoys at night. Catalinas were surprisingly successful in this highly unorthodox role. Between August 1943 and January 1944, Black Cat squadrons had sunk 112,700 tons of merchant shipping, damaged 47,000 tons, and damaged 10 Japanese warships. The Royal Australian Air Force also operated Catalinas as night raiders, with RAAF aircraft mounting mine-laying operations deep into Japanese-held waters. The RAAF also occasionally used Catalinas to mount nuisance night bombing raids on Japanese bases, including the major base at Rabaul. RAAF aircrews developed 'terror bombs', essentially empty tin cans filled with blunt razor blades. The high pitched screams of these falling tins would keep Japanese soldiers awake and in fear of their life.


[Source: Unknown]

Search and rescue
PBYs were employed by every branch of the US military as rescue aircraft. A PBY piloted by Lt. Cmdr. Adrian Marks (USN) rescued 56 sailors from the USS Indianapolis after the ship was sunk during World War Two. PBYs continued to function in this capacity for decades after the end of the war.

Early Commercial Use
PBYs were also used for commercial air travel. Still the longest commercial flights ever made in aviation history were the Qantas flights flown weekly from 29 June 1943 through July, 1945 over the Indian Ocean. To thumb their nose at the Japanese (who controlled the area), Qantas offered non-stop service between Perth and Colombo, a distance of 3,592 nm (5,652km). As the PBY typically cruises at 110 knots, this took from 28-32 hours and was called the "flight of the double sunrise", since the passengers saw two sunrises during their non-stop journey. The flight was made with radio silence (because of the possibility of Japanese attack) and had a maximum payload of 1000 lbs or three passengers plus 65 kg of armed forces and diplomatic mail.

Post-WWII employment
With the end of the war, flying boat versions were quickly retired from the U.S. Navy, but amphibians remained in service for many years. The last Catalina on active U.S. service was a PBY-6A operating with a Naval Reserve squadron, retired 3 January 1957. It must be noted a PBY was being maintained at Clark Air Base, Republic of the Philippines, as late as 1968. The PBY subsequently equipped the world's smaller armed services, in fairly substantial numbers, into the late 1960s.

The USAF Strategic Air Command had PBYs (OA-10s) in service from 1946 through 1947.

The Brazilian Air Force flew Catalinas in naval air patrol missions against German submarines starting in 1943. The aircraft also performed air mail service. In 1948 a transport squadron was formed and equipped with PBY-5As converted to the role of amphibian transport. The 1st Air Transport Squadron (ETA-1) was based in the port city of Belem and flew Catalinas and C-47s in well-maintained condition until 1982. Catalinas were convenient for supplying military detachments scattered among the Amazon waterways. They reached places where only long range transport helicopters would dare go. ETA-1 insignia was a winged turtle with the motto "Though slowly, I always get there". Today, the last Brazilian Catalina (ex-RCAF) is displayed at the Airspace Museum (MUSAL), in Rio de Janeiro.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau used a PBY-6A (N101CS) as part of his diving expeditions. His second son, Philippe, was killed while attempting a water landing in the Tagus river near Lisbon, Portugal, June 28, 1979. His plane had just been repaired when he took it out for a flight. As he landed, one of the plane's propellers separated, cut through the cockpit and killed the younger Cousteau.

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

China Airlines, the official airline of the Republic of China (Taiwan) was founded with two PBY amphibians.


Indholdsfortegnelse

Baggrund [ redigér | redigér wikikode ]

Catalina'en blev designet som maritimt patruljefly: et fly med stor rækkevidde, beregnet til at opspore og angribe fjendtlige transportfartøjer i rum sø, med henblik på at forstyrre eller afbryde fjendens forsyningslinier.

Efterhånden som USA's dominans i Stillhavsområdet begyndte at blive udsat for konkurrence fra Japan i 1930'erne, og med muligheden for en væbnet konflikt i Stillehavet for øje, investerede U.S. Navy i 1930'erne milloner af dollars i at få udviklet langdistance søfly, som ville kunne forsyne tropperne over store afstande. Søfly har den fordel at de kan undvære forberedte flyvepladser, teoretisk kan de benytte hele oceanet.

Omkring 1930 - 1940 benyttede Flåden søfly til en bred vifte af opgaver, som nu om dage bliver løst af adskillige specialbyggede flytyper. U.S. Navy havde taget Consolidated P2Y og Martin P3M i tjeneste i 1931, men begge typer var plaget af for ringe motorkraft, utilstrækkelig rækkevidde og begrænset lasteevne.

Udvikling [ redigér | redigér wikikode ]

U.S. Navy gav i Oktober 1933 Consolidated, Martin og Douglas en kontrakt på at bygge konkurrerende prototyper for et patruljefly. Β]

Consolidated og Douglas leverede begge en enkelt prototype af deres designs, henholdsvis XP3Y-1 og XP3D-1. Consolidated's XP3Y-1 var en videreudvikling af XPY-1 designt, der allerede uden success havde budt ind på P3M-kontrakten to år tidligere, og af XP2Y som Flåden allerede havde godkent til begrænset produktion. Selv om Douglas' fly var et godt design, valgte Flåden Consolidated: udgiften var projekteret til kun US$90,000 pr. fly.

Consolidated's XP3Y-1 design (firmaets Model 28) havde en parasolvinge med eksterne stivere, monteret på en pylon over kroppen. De små stabilliserende pontoner nær vingetipperne kunne trækkes op under flyvning, og blev dermed til strømliniede vingetipper. Designet af disse var licenseret fra Saunders-Roe. Den to-trins "våde" bund af kroppen var næsten magen til den på P2Y, men Model 28 havde en cantilever korsformet hale i stedet for en afstivet dobbelthale. En forbedret aerodynamik gav Model 28 en bedre ydelse end tidligere designs.

Prototypen var forsynet med to 825 hp (615 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-54 Twin Wasp stjernemotorer monteret på vingens forkant. Bevæbningen bestod af fire 0.30 in. (7,60 mm) Browning AN/M2 maskingeværer og op til 2.000 lb (910 kg) bomber.

XP3Y-1 fløj første gang den 28. Marts 1935, hvorefter den blev udleveret til U.S. Navy for afprøvning og vurdering. XP3Y-1 var en betydelig forbedring i forhold til tidligere patruljesøfly. Flåden forlangte yderligere udvikling for at få flyet ind i kategorien patrulje bomber, og i Oktober 1935 fik Consolidated prototypen retur for at udføre ændringer, blandt andet installation af 900 hp (670 kW) R-1830-64 motorer. Flyet, nu kaldt XPBY-1, fik en anden type hale, der løste et problem: under visse omstændigheder kunne den gamle hale dykke ned i vandet under start, og dermed forhindre starten. XPBY-1 fløj første gang 19. Maj 1936, og satte samtidigt rekord for en non-stop distance flyvning på 3.443 mi (2.992 nmi 5.541 km).

De første XPBY-1 blev leveret i Oktober 1936. Den anden produktionsordre kom 25. Juli 1936. I løbet af de næste tre år blev flyet videreudviklet, og der kom nye typer til. I 1940 kom amfibie-udgaven, det vil sige en udgave med hjulunderstel, så den både kunne operere fra vand og land.

Navngivning [ redigér | redigér wikikode ]

Designationen "PBY" blev til i overensstemmelse med "Flådens designationssystem af 1922" PB betyder "Patrol Bomber" (på dansk "Patruljefly" eller "Patruljebomber") og Y var fabrikskoden for producenten, Consolidated Aircraft. Catalinaer bygget af andre leverandører fik tilsvarende koder: Canadian Vickers-byggede eksemplarer blev kaldt PBV, Boeing Canada fly PB2B (der eksisterede allerede en "PBB": Boeing XPBB Sea Ranger) og Naval Aircraft Factory fly blev designeret PBN.

I overensstemmelse med Britisk tradition, hvor søfly blev opkaldt efter havnebyer, blev Royal Canadian Air Force eksemplarer kaldet Canso, efter Canso, Nova Scotia. Derimod brød Briterne selv med traditionen: da de første 30 fly blev bestilt i November 1941, blev flyet døbt Catalina efter Santa Catalina Island, Californien. Γ] og US Navy adopterede dette navn i 1942. Δ] United States Army Air Forces og det senere United States Air Force brugte navnet OA-10.

Dertil kom der nogle, for Flåden ualmindeligt positive slangnavne: US Navy Catalinaer der blev anvendt til natangreb mod Japanerne i Stillehavet var som regel malet matsorte, og blev kendt som "Black Cats" ("Sorte katte"). Som oftest kaldte Catalina-besætninger deres fly for "Cat" når de skulle på kampmission, og "Dumbo" når de fløj for søredningstjenesten. Ε]

PBN Nomad [ redigér | redigér wikikode ]

Naval Aircraft Factory lavede betydelige modifikationer på 156 PBY. Mange af ændringene ville have forsinket leverancerne, hvis de var blevet indført på Consolidated's produktionslinie. Ζ]

Flyet blev så kraftigt modificeret at det fik et helt nyt navn: PBN-1 Nomad. Næsen blev skarpere og to fod længere, halen blev større og fik en ny form. Den nye hale fandt tilbage til PBY fra og med model PBY-6A. Der blev indført større brændstoftanke som gav 50% større rækkevidde, og forstærkede vinger der tillod en forøgelse af max. vægt med 2,000 lb (908 kg). En APU blev installeret sammen med et forbedret elektrisk system, og våbnene blev bæltefødet i stedet for magasinfødet. Ζ]

138 tjente ved Sovjetunionens Flåde, de sidste 18 blev benyttet til træning ved NAS Whidbey Island og Naval Air Facility i Newport, Rhode Island. Η]


Consolidated Catalina landing at Sri Lanka - History



























Canadian-Vickers OA-10A Catalina
WW II Twin-engine Parasol-wing Amphibian Patrol Bomber, Canada

Archive Photos 1

[Consolidated-Vickers OA-10A "Catalina" (OA-10A) (BuNo 46595, AF 44-33875) c.2001 at the National Museum of the United States Air Force, WPAFB, Dayton, OH (Photo by John Shupek)]

Consolidated PBY Catalina (Overview) 2

The Consolidated PBY Catalina, also known as the Canso in Canadian service, is an American flying boat, and later an amphibious aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft. It was one of the most widely used seaplanes of World War II. Catalinas served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other nations.

During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escort, search and rescue missions (especially air-sea rescue), and cargo transport. The PBY was the most numerous aircraft of its kind and the last active military PBYs were not retired from service until the 1980s. In 2014, nearly 80 years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as a waterbomber (or airtanker) in aerial firefighting operations all over the world.

The designation "PBY" was determined in accordance with the U.S. Navy aircraft designation system of 1922 PB representing "Patrol Bomber" and Y being the code assigned to Consolidated Aircraft as its manufacturer. Catalinas built by other manufacturers for the U.S. Navy were designated according to different manufacturer codes, thus Canadian Vickers-built examples were designated PBV, Boeing Canada examples PB2B (there already being a Boeing PBB) and Naval Aircraft Factory examples were designated PBN. In accordance with contemporary British naming practice of naming seaplanes after coastal port towns, Royal Canadian Air Force examples were named Canso, for the town of that name in Nova Scotia. The Royal Air Force used the name Catalina and the U.S. Navy adopted this name in 1942. The United States Army Air Forces and later the United States Air Force used the designation OA-10. U.S. Navy Catalinas used in the Pacific against the Japanese for night operations were painted black overall as a result these aircraft were sometimes referred to locally as "Black Cats".

The PBY was originally designed to be a patrol bomber, an aircraft with a long operational range intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships at sea in order to disrupt enemy supply lines. With a mind to a potential conflict in the Pacific Ocean, where troops would require resupply over great distances, the U.S. Navy in the 1930s invested millions of dollars in developing long-range flying boats for this purpose. Flying boats had the advantage of not requiring runways, in effect having the entire ocean available. Several different flying boats were adopted by the Navy, but the PBY was the most widely used and produced.

Although slow and ungainly, Catalinas distinguished themselves in World War II. Allied forces used them successfully in a wide variety of roles for which the aircraft was never intended. PBYs are remembered for their rescue role, in which they saved the lives of thousands of aircrew downed over water. Catalina airmen called their aircraft the "Cat" on combat missions and "Dumbo" in air-sea rescue service.

Development 2

As American dominance in the Pacific Ocean began to face competition from Japan in the 1930s, the U.S. Navy contracted Consolidated, Martin and Douglas in October 1933 to build competing prototypes for a patrol flying boat. Naval doctrine of the 1930s and 1940s used flying boats in a wide variety of roles that today are handled by multiple special-purpose aircraft. The U.S. Navy had adopted the Consolidated P2Y and Martin P3M models for this role in 1931, but both aircraft were underpowered and hampered by inadequate range and limited payloads.

Consolidated and Douglas both delivered single prototypes of their new designs, the XP3Y-1 and XP3D-1, respectively. Consolidated's XP3Y-1 was an evolution of the XPY-1 design that had originally competed unsuccessfully for the P3M contract two years earlier and of the XP2Y design that the Navy had authorized for a limited production run. Although the Douglas aircraft was a good design, the Navy opted for Consolidated's because the projected cost was only $90,000 per aircraft.

Consolidated's XP3Y-1 design (company Model 28) had a parasol wing with external bracing struts, mounted on a pylon over the fuselage. Wingtip stabilizing floats were retractable in flight to form streamlined wingtips and had been licensed from the Saunders-Roe company. The two-step hull design was similar to that of the P2Y, but the Model 28 had a cantilever cruciform tail unit instead of a strut-braced twin tail. Cleaner aerodynamics gave the Model 28 better performance than earlier designs. Construction is all-metal, stressed-skin, of aluminum sheet, except the ailerons and wing trailing edge, which are fabric covered.

The prototype was powered by two 825 hp (615 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830-54 Twin Wasp radial engines mounted on the wing's leading edges. Armament comprised four .30 in (7.6 mm) Browning AN/M2 machine guns and up to 2,000 lbs (910 kg) of bombs.

The XP3Y-1 had its maiden flight on 28 March 1935, after which it was transferred to the U.S. Navy for service trials. The XP3Y-1 was a significant performance improvement over previous patrol flying boats. The Navy requested further development in order to bring the aircraft into the category of patrol bomber, and in October 1935, the prototype was returned to Consolidated for further work, including installation of 900 hp (670 kW) R-1830-64 engines. For the redesignated XPBY-1, Consolidated introduced redesigned vertical tail surfaces which resolved a problem with the tail becoming submerged on takeoff, which had made lift-off impossible under some conditions. The XPBY-1 had its maiden flight on 19 May 1936, during which a record non-stop distance flight of 3,443 mi (2,992 nmi 5,541 km) was achieved.

The XPBY-1 was delivered to VP-11F in October 1936. The second squadron to be equipped was VP-12, which received the first of its aircraft in early 1937. The second production order was placed on 25 July 1936. Over the next three years, the design was gradually developed further and successive models introduced.

The aircraft eventually bore the name Catalina after Catalina Island the name was coined in November 1941, as Great Britain ordered their first 30 aircraft.

Mass-produced U.S. Navy variants 2

  • PBY-1: September 1936-June 1937. Original production model. 60 aircraft.
  • PBY-2: May 1937-February 1938. Minor alterations to tail structure, hull reinforcements. 50 aircraft.
  • PBY-3: November 1936-August 1938. Higher power engines. 66 aircraft.
  • PBY-4: May 1938-June 1939. Higher power engines, propeller spinners, acrylic glass blisters over waist guns (some later units). 32 aircraft.
  • PBY-5: September 1940-July 1943. Higher power engines (using higher octane fuel), discontinued use of propeller spinners, standardized waist gun blisters. Self-sealing fuel tanks introduced during production run. 684 aircraft.
  • PBY-5A: October 1941-January 1945. Hydraulically actuated, retractable tricycle landing gear, with main gear design based on one from the 1920s designed by Leroy Grumman, for amphibious operation. Introduced tail gun position, replaced bow single gun position with bow "eyeball" turret equipped with twin .30 machine guns (some later units), improved armor, self-sealing fuel tanks. 802 aircraft.
  • PBY-6A: January 1945-May 1945. Incorporated changes from PBN-1, including a taller vertical tail, increased wing strength for greater carrying capacity, new electrical system, standardized "eyeball" turret, and a radome over cockpit for radar. 175 aircraft.

An estimated 4,051 Catalinas, Cansos, and GSTs of all versions were produced between June 1937 and May 1945 for the U.S. Navy, the United States Army Air Forces, the United States Coast Guard, Allied nations, and civilian customers.

The Naval Aircraft Factory made significant modifications to the PBY design, many of which would have significantly interrupted deliveries had they been incorporated on the Consolidated production lines. The new aircraft, officially known as the PBN-1 Nomad, had several differences from the basic PBY. The most obvious upgrades were to the bow, which was sharpened and extended by two feet, and to the tail, which was enlarged and featured a new shape. Other improvements included larger fuel tanks, increasing range by 50%, and stronger wings permitting a 2,000 lb (908 kg) increase in gross takeoff weight. An auxiliary power unit was installed, along with an improved electrical system, and the weapons were upgraded with continuous-feed mechanisms.

138 of the 156 PBN-1s produced served with the Soviet Navy. The remaining 18 were assigned to training units at NAS Whidbey Island and the Naval Air Facility in Newport, Rhode Island. Later, improvements found in the PBN such as the larger tail were incorporated into the amphibious PBY-6A.

Operational History 2

Roles in World War II

Around 3,300 aircraft were built, and these operated in nearly all operational theaters of World War II. The Catalina served with distinction and played a prominent and invaluable role against the Japanese. This was especially true during the first year of the war in the Pacific, because the PBY and the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress were the only aircraft available with the range to be effective in the Pacific.

Anti-submarine Warfare

Catalinas were the most extensively used anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of World War II, and were also used in the Indian Ocean, flying from the Seychelles and from Ceylon. Their duties included escorting convoys to Murmansk. By 1943, 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 1944, for sinking U-347 (although the submarine is now known to have been U-361) and in the same year Flight Lieutenant David Hornell of the Royal Canadian Air Force (posthumously) against U-1225. Catalinas destroyed 40 U-boats, but not without losses of their own. A Brazilian Catalina attacked and sank U-199 in Brazilian waters on 31 July 1943. Later, the aircraft was baptized as "Arará", in memory of the merchant ship of that name which was sunk by another U-boat.

Maritime Patrol

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.

A RAF Coastal Command Catalina, piloted by Ensign Leonard B. Smith of the U.S. Navy and flying out of Castle Archdale Flying boat base, Lower Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, located on 26 May 1941, some 690 mi (1,280 km 790 mi) northwest of Brest, the German battleship Bismarck, which was attempting to evade Royal Navy forces as she sought to join other Kriegsmarine forces in Brest. This sighting eventually led to the destruction of the German battleship.

On 7 December 1941, before the Japanese amphibious landings on Kota Bharu, Malaya, their invasion force was approached by a Catalina flying boat of No. 205 Squadron RAF. The aircraft was shot down by five Nakajima Ki-27 fighters before it could radio its report to air headquarters in Singapore. Flying Officer Patrick Bedell, commanding the Catalina, and his seven crew members became the first Allied casualties in the war with Japan.

A flight of Catalinas spotted the Japanese fleet approaching Midway Island, beginning the Battle of Midway.

A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Canso flown by Squadron Leader L.J. Birchall foiled Japanese plans to destroy the Royal Navy's Indian Ocean fleet on 4 April 1942 when it detected the Japanese carrier fleet approaching Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Night Attack and Naval Interdiction

During the Battle of Midway four USN PBYs of Patrol Squadrons 24 and 51 made an attack on the occupation force of the Japanese fleet on the night of June 3-4, 1942.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also operated Catalinas as night raiders, with four squadrons Nos. 11, 20, 42, and 43 laying mines from 23 April 1943 until July 1945 in the southwest Pacific deep in Japanese-held waters, bottling up ports and shipping routes and forcing ships into deeper waters to become targets for U.S. submarines they tied up the major strategic ports such as Balikpapan which shipped 80% of Japanese oil supplies. In late 1944, their mining missions sometimes exceeded 20 hours in duration and were carried out from as low as 200 ft (61 m) in the dark. Operations included trapping the Japanese fleet in Manila Bay in assistance of General Douglas MacArthur's landing at Mindoro in the Philippines. Australian Catalinas also operated out of Jinamoc in the Leyte Gulf, and mined ports on the Chinese coast from Hong Kong to as far north as Wenchow. Both USN and RAAF Catalinas regularly mounted nuisance night bombing raids on Japanese bases, with the RAAF claiming the slogan "The First and the Furthest". Targets of these raids included a major base at Rabaul. RAAF aircrews, like their U.S. 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.

Search and Rescue

Catalinas were employed by every branch of the U.S. military as rescue aircraft. A PBY piloted by LCDR Adrian Marks (USN) rescued 56 sailors in high seas from the heavy cruiser Indianapolis after the ship was sunk during World War II. When there was no more room inside, the crew tied sailors to the wings. 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.

Early Commercial Use

Catalinas were also used for commercial air travel. For example, Qantas Empire Airways flew commercial passengers from Suva to Sydney, a journey of 2,060 miles (3,320 km), which in 1949 took two days. The longest commercial flights (in terms of time aloft) ever made in aviation history were the Qantas flights flown weekly from 29 June 1943 through July 1945 over the Indian Ocean, dubbed the Double Sunrise. Qantas offered non-stop service between Perth and Colombo, a distance of 3,592 nmi (4,134 mi 6,652 km). As the Catalina typically cruised at 110 kn (130 mph 200 km/h), this took from 28 to 32 hours and was called the "flight of the double sunrise", since the passengers saw two sunrises during their non-stop journey. The flight was made in radio silence because of the possibility of Japanese attack and had a maximum payload of 1,000 lb (450 kg) or three passengers plus 143 lb (65 kg) of military and diplomatic mail.

Post-World War II Employment

An Australian PBY [named "Frigate Bird II" - an ex RAAF aircraft, registered VH-ASA] made the first trans-Pacific flight across the South Pacific between Australia and Chile in 1951 by (Sir) Gordon Taylor, making numerous stops at islands along the way for refueling, meals, and overnight sleep of its crew, flown from Sydney to Quintero in Chile after making initial landfall at Valparaiso via Tahiti and Easter Island.

With the end of the war, all of the flying boat versions of the Catalina were quickly retired from the U.S. Navy, but the amphibious versions remained in service for some years. The last Catalina in U.S. service was a PBY-6A operating with a Naval Reserve squadron, which was retired from use on 3 January 1957. The Catalina subsequently equipped the world's smaller armed services into the late 1960s in fairly substantial numbers.

The U.S. Air Force's Strategic Air Command used Catalinas (designated OA-10s) in service as scout aircraft from 1946 through 1947.

The Brazilian Air Force flew Catalinas in naval air patrol missions against German submarines starting in 1943. The flying boats also carried out air mail deliveries. In 1948, a transport squadron was formed and equipped with PBY-5As converted to the role of amphibious transports. The 1st Air Transport Squadron (ETA-1) was based in the port city of Belem and flew Catalinas and C-47s until 1982. Catalinas were convenient for supplying military detachments scattered along the Amazon. They reached places that were otherwise accessible only by helicopters. The ETA-1 insignia was a winged turtle with the motto "Though slowly, I always get there". Today, the last Brazilian Catalina (a former RCAF one) is displayed at the Airspace Museum (MUSAL) in Rio de Janeiro.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau used a PBY-6A (N101CS) to support his diving expeditions. 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. 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 1940s and early 1950s.

Steward-Davis converted several Catalinas to their Super Catalina standard (later known as Super Cat), which replaced the usual 1,200 hp (890 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines with Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14 engines of 1,700 hp (1,300 kW). 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.

Chilean Air Force (FACH) Captain Roberto Parragué, in his PBY Catalina FACH No. 405 called "Manu-Tara", which means Lucky Bird in the Rapanui language, undertook the first flight between Easter Island and the continent of South America (from Chile), as well as the first flight to Tahiti, making him a national hero of France as well as of Chile. The flight was authorized by the Chilean President in 1951, but a second flight he made in 1957 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. 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.

Catalina Affair 2

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 1952 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 2003 and raised 2004-2005).

Variants 2

  • XP3Y-1: Prototype Model 28 flying boat later re-designated XPBY-1, one built (USN Bureau No. 9459). Later fitted with a 48-foot-diameter (15 m) ring to sweep magnetic sea mines. A 550 hp Ranger engine drove a generator to produce a magnetic field.
  • XPBY-1: Prototype version of the Model 28 for the United States Navy, a re-engined XP3Y-1 with two 900 hp R-1830-64 engines, one built.
  • PBY-1 (Model 28-1): Initial production variant with two 900 hp R-1830-64 engines, 60 built.
  • PBY-2 (Model 28-2): Equipment changes and improved performance, 50 built.
  • PBY-3 (Model 28-3): Powered by two 1,000 hp R-1830-66 engines, 66 built.
  • PBY-4 (Model 28-4): Powered by two 1,050 hp R-1830-72 engines, 33 built (including one initial as a XPBY-4 which later became the XPBY-5A).
  • PBY-5 (Model 28-5): Either two 1,200 hp R-1830-82 or -92 engines and provision for extra fuel tanks (with partial self-sealing protection). 683 built (plus one built at New Orleans), some aircraft to the RAF as the Catalina IVA and one to the United States Coast Guard. The PBY-5 was also built in the Soviet Union as the GST.
  • XPBY-5A: One PBY-4 converted into an amphibian and first flown in November 1939.
  • PBY-5A (Model 28-5A): Amphibious version of the PBY-5 with two 1,200 hp R-1830-92 engines, first batch (of 124) had one 0.3 in bow gun, the remainder had two bow guns 803 built including diversions to the United States Army Air Forces, the RAF (as the Catalina IIIA) and one to the United States Coast Guard.
  • PBY-6A: Amphibious version with two 1,200 hp R-1830-92 engines and a taller fin and rudder. Radar scanner fitted above cockpit and two 0.5 in nose guns 175 built including 21 transferred to the Soviet Navy.
  • PBY-6AG: One PBY-6A used by the United States Coast Guard as a staff transport.
  • PB2B-1: Boeing Canada built PBY-5 for the RAF and RCAF from 1942. 240 built.
  • PB2B-2: Boeing Canada built version of the PBY-5 but with the taller fin of the PBN-1. 67 built. Most supplied to the RAF as the Catalina VI.
  • PBN-1 Nomad: Naval Aircraft Factory built version of the PBY-5 with major modification including a 2 ft bow extension, modified hull lines with a modified step, re-designed wingtip floats and tail surfaces and a revised electrical system. A total of 155 were built for delivery to the RAF as the Catalina V although 138 were Lend-Leased to the Soviet Navy as the KM-1.
  • PBV-1A: Canadian Vickers built version of the PBY-5A, 380 built including 150 to the Royal Canadian Air Force as the Canso-A and the rest to the USAAF as the OA-10A.
  • OA-10: United States Army Air Forces designation for PBY-5A, 105 built 58 aircraft survivors re-designated A-10 in 1948.
  • OA-10A: USAAF designation of Canadian Vickers-built version of the PBV-1A, 230 built. Survivors re-designated A-10A in 1948. Three additional aircraft from Navy in 1949 as A-10As.
  • OA-10B: USAAF designation of PBY-6A, 75 built. Re-designated A-10B in 1948.
  • Catalina I: Direct purchase aircraft for the Royal Air Force, same as the PBY-5 with six 0.303 in guns (one in bow, four in waist blisters and one aft of the hull step) and powered by two 1,200 hp R-1830-S1C3-G engines, 109 built.
  • Catalina IA: Operated by the Royal Canadian Air Force as the Canso, 14 built.
  • Catalina IB: Lend-lease PBY-5Bs for the RAF, 225 aircraft built.
  • Catalina II: Equipment changes, six built.
  • Catalina IIA: Vickers-Canada built Catalina II for the RAF, 50 built.
  • Catalina IIIA: Former U.S. Navy PBY-5As used by the RAF on the North Atlantic Ferry Service, 12 aircraft. These were the only amphibians that saw RAF service.
  • Catalina IVA: Lend-lease PBY-5s for the RAF, 93 aircraft.
  • Catalina IVB: Lend-lease PB2B-1s for the RAF, some to the Royal Australian Air Force.
  • Catalina VI: Lend-lease PB2B-2s for the RAF, some to the RAAF.

Other Users

  • GST: Soviet built version of the PBY-5 ("Gydro Samoliot Transportnyi").
  • Steward-Davis Super Catalina ("Super Cat"): Catalina converted to use 1,700 hp Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14 engines, with enlarged rudder and other changes.
  • Avalon Turbo Canso: Proposed turboprop conversion of Canso water bombers, powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart engines.

Specifications (PBY-5A) 2

General Characteristics

  • Crew: 10 - pilot, co-pilot, bow turret gunner, flight engineer, radio operator, navigator, radar operator, two waist gunners, ventral gunner.
  • Length: 63 ft 10 7/16 in (19.46 m)
  • Wingspan: 104 ft 0 in (31.70 m)
  • Height: 21 ft 1 in (6.15 m)
  • Wing area: 1,400 ft 2 (130 m 2 )
  • Empty weight: 20,910 lb (9,485 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 35,420 lb (16,066 kg)
  • Zero-lift drag coefficient: 0.0309
  • Drag area: 43.26 ft 2 (4.02 m 2 )
  • Aspect ratio: 7.73
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each.

Performance

  • Max speed: 196 mph (314 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 125 mph (201 km/h)
  • Range: 2,520 mi (4,030 km)
  • Service ceiling: 15,800 ft (4,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 25.3 lb/ft 2 (123.6 kg/m 2 )
  • Power/mass: 0.034 hp/lb (0.056 kW/kg)
  • Lift-to-drag ratio: 11.9
  • Guns: 2 × .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns (one in each waist blister)
  • Guns: 3 × .30 cal (7.62 mm) machine guns (two in nose turret, one in ventral hatch at tail)
  • Bombs: 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) of bombs or depth charges torpedo racks were also available
  1. Shupek, John. Photos via The Skytamer Photo Archive, copyright © 2001 Skytamer Images (Skytamer.com)
  2. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Consolidated PBY Catalina

Copyright © 1998-2020 (Our 22 nd Year) Skytamer Images, Whittier, California
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Consolidated Catalina landing at Sri Lanka - History

Denise Ascenzo , Niagara's History Unveiled, Series Special to Niagara Now

On the cool, wind-swept beaches in Kitty Hawk, N.C., history was being made in the dawn of the 20th century.

On Dec. 17, 1903, at 10:35 in the morning two brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright proved to the world that man was capable of successfully flying under his own power.

Their first flight lasted 12 seconds, gained a height of 10 feet and covered a distance of 120 feet, shorter than the wing span of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet. Three more flights were conducted that morning. The last flight, at noon, lasted 59 seconds, gained a height of 14 feet and flew for 852 feet.

The first flight in Canada took place in Baddeck, N.S., on Feb. 23, 1909, when John McCurdy piloted the Silver Dart.

The plane was designed by Alexander Graham Bell and the team from the Aerial Experimental Association, the majority of whom were Canadian.

McCurdy flew the plane for a distance of 2,640 feet, at an elevation of 30 feet for 45 seconds. The speed was an astounding 40 mph!

The First World War saw the aviation world expand greatly. No longer considered experimental, planes were now developed into war machines. However, when the war was over, there was a glut of pilots those thrill-seekers discovered that the return to civilian life was not easy.

In Canada, as well as in the United States, &ldquobarn storming&rdquo brought aviation to the masses. The deathdefying and thrilling aerial demonstrations were performed not just in and around large cities but out in rural communities.

Young people now dreamed of flying, a dream that was attainable. Small airports and flight schools popped up across the country.

In May 1929, the St. Catharines Flying Club received its charter to be officially recognized by the Canadian government to run a flight school. The first Niagara District Airport was just northeast of the Welland Canal but in 1935 it moved to its present location.

The St. Catharines Flying Club moved as well and has been an integral part of the airport, even to this day. Both the flying club and the airport are celebrating their 90th anniversaries this year.

When the Second World War broke out airplanes were once again considered war machines. However, this time, Canadian pilots did their training in Canada with the newest branch of the Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Although we did have pilots flying and fighting during the First World War, they were trained and commanded under Britain&rsquos Royal Air Force. After the war the Canadian government debated back and forth whether a permanent air force could or should be maintained. The decision was finally made on April 1, 1924: Canada would have a permanent air force.

In 1939, Germany invaded Poland and war was declared throughout Europe including Great Britain, which meant all the Commonwealth countries. Canada was now at war and the three branches of our military, army, navy and air were in full training.

At the time, small airports were deeded to the Department of National Defence. Niagara District Airport was included and became the Elementary Flying Training School (#9) in the fall of 1940. During the years from 1940 to Jan. 15, 1944, a total of 1,848 pilots were trained in the basics of flying. Further training in aerial combat was done in Britain.

One well-known pilot to go through the training at the Niagara District Airport was John Gillespie Magee. When he finished his training in Canada, he was shipped out to England where he continued to train.

He was one of several who experimented with high-altitude (40,000-feet plus) flight into the stratosphere. After his first high-altitude flight he composed the poem &ldquoHigh Flight,&rdquo which he sent to his mother on the back of one of his letters.

On Dec. 11, 1941, Magee died in a training session. He is buried in Lincolnshire, England.

After his death, his parents had the poem published. It is now the official poem of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Air Force and the U.S. Air Force Academy. This poem can be seen at the Niagara District Airport just outside of the main terminal building.

Another important alumnus is St. Catharines native Leonard Birchall, who is also known as the &ldquoSaviour of Ceylon&rdquo (now Sri Lanka). Birchall always wanted to fly and saved relentlessly to just purchase one more hour of flight training. Eventually he attended the Royal Military College and just after his graduation, the Second World War was declared. And, like all young men at that time, he volunteered and joined the RCAF.

His first tour of duty was flying anti-submarine combat patrols off the coast of Nova Scotia. Later, he was sent to northern Scotland where he flew the new Consolidated Catalina long-range amphibious aircraft to run patrols throughout the British Isles. This was short-lived as Japan had entered the war and Birchall&rsquos squadron was sent to Ceylon.

Birchall was not even there 48 hours when he was sent out on a patrol. On April 4, 1942, just a few hours into the patrol, a huge Japanese naval fleet was spotted heading toward Ceylon. The air crew were able to send a coded message back to headquarters before they were detected by the Japanese and shot down. Birchall and six of his eight surviving crew members were held as prisoners of war.

The Japanese tortured the men to find out if a message had been sent but all claimed they hadn&rsquot had time before they were shot down. The Japanese fleet continued toward Ceylon, which was now prepared for battle. Although heavy damage was inflicted by the Japanese, they were not able to take the port and eventually withdrew.

On Birchall&rsquos return to Canada after the war, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He died on Sept. 10, 2004, and is buried in Kingston, Ont..

The Niagara District Airport is celebrating its 90th anniversary of operation. Over the years there have been many ups and downs, it has seen businesses come and go and many stories to reflect upon.

The airport is ideally located in the beautiful wine region of the Niagara peninsula. Close to Niagara Falls, historic Niagara-on-the-Lake, golf courses, the theatre and excellent restaurants.

It boasts a 5,000-foot runway with a 24-hour customs clearance capability. On-site services include jet refuelling, NAV Canada and Avgas (aviation fuel).

There is a flight training school on site as there has been since the first airport opened its doors in 1929. Daily flights to Toronto are available as are helicopter tours over the region. The new terminal building offers hassle-free services to all commuters and visitors to the region.

Another anniversary celebration must also be noted. The first parachute jump in Canada was made on July 4, 1919, by Frank Ellis. He jumped from a Curtis JN4 aircraft piloted by Don Russell over Crystal Beach, Ont.

At 10,000 feet, using a 28-foot circular canopy as his parachute, Ellis jumped. Landing in Lake Erie, he used two rubber tubes as flotation devices until a pleasure craft was able to pick him up.

The Niagara Historical Society is bringing the Canadian Forces Snowbirds back to the Niagara District Airport next week for everyone to enjoy their wonderful show. However, we now realize just how fortuitous the date is that we were given by the Snowbirds.

A celebration of 90 years of operation for the Niagara District Airport and 100 years of the first parachute jump in Canada offers a great day for all.

On Sept. 11, not only will you be able to watch the aerial display of the Snowbirds but you will also have an opportunity to watch the Geronimo! Sky Diving team. Free parking, food trucks, merchants and many displays will also be on hand as well.


Canada in the Second World War

A Bristol Beaufighter of No 404 Squadron in June 1944, still bearing the distinctive markings of Allied planes on D-Day. National Defence Image Library, PL 41049.

In Great Britain air force units protecting merchant convoys from enemy submarines were placed under the control of the Royal Air Force (RAF) Coastal Command. Its mission was essentially a defensive one: air patrols ensuring convoy safety by preventing U-boat attacks. The actual destruction of the submarines remaining a secondary, albeit desirable, objective.

Before the war, the RAF and the Admiralty developed a command and control structure in order to integrate, as much as feasible, air force operations within the operational control framework of the Royal Navy. Air force and naval commands had combined headquarters and operation rooms, thus greatly improving information sharing by giving Coastal Command immediate access to Admiralty operational data. The Royal Navy superior officer had the authority over operations as a whole, since he was in a better position to gain a full picture of the situation at sea. The air group commander, for his part, had all the latitude to take appropriate measures, given his assessment of the situation and the resources available.

The depth charges and machine-guns used by the air patrols were formidable enough that a detected U-boat would dive, thereby giving up the chase. Planes were, therefore, a major deterrent. Unfortunately the Bristol Bleinheims, Lockheed Hudsons, and Handley Page Hampdens used by Coastal Command at the beginning of the war could not carry enough depth charges to destroy an enemy submarine. Moreover, the earlier depth charges were not powerful enough to seriously damage a submarine hull.

The Mark XIII depth charge, with its powerful Torpex charge and a Star detonator that could ignite it at a depth of only 5 metres, only came into use in July 1942. That improved depth charge, however, still needed to be within 7 metres of a U-boat to pierce its hull. Through the combined use of Mark XIII depth charges and of better airplanes, especially Consolidated Catalina flying boats and four-engine Consolidated Liberator bombers, Coastal Command had much better chances of destroying German submarines. The Catalina had a 25-hour flight autonomy and a 960-km range, while the Liberator, as modified to provide extra-long range, could escort a convoy over 1,600 km.

In addition to convoy escort duties, Coastal Command was responsible for offensive operations against German vessels. Several of those operations targeted areas close to U-boat bases, such as in the Bay of Biscay their objective being to intercept and destroy enemy submarines as they left or returned to their bases. Finally, Coastal Command had some units engaged in actions against German shipping traffic three Canadian squadrons took part in those operations.

The RCAF Squadrons

A Beaufighter, flown by Lt L.C. Boileau, 404 Squadron, firing rockets at German merchantmen Aquila and Helga Ferdinand near Fjord Migdulen, November 8th, 1944. Both ships were sunk. National Defence Image Library, PMR 93-073.

Canada, like Great Britain, was convinced that the development of the air force should concentrate on strategic bombing and fighter operations. For that reason, the RCAF’s overseas aeronaval involvement was limited to eight squadrons. Let us not forget that the RCAF was also responsible for protecting maritime traffic along the coasts of Canada within the framework of the Home War Establishment mandate.

The first RCAF squadrons to serve under the British Coastal Command were formed in Great Britain in 1941. Three squadrons, No 404, No 407, and No 415 took part in attacks against German ships along the coasts of north-western Europe. Equipped with Bristol Beaufighters in the spring of 1943, No 404 played a role in the development of a new weapon, the three-inch (7,6 cm) rocket with a 25-pound (11.3 kg) armour-piercing charge, as it hunted down Axis ships off the coasts of Norway. After an initial period where it flew Blenheim and Hudson light bombers, No 407 Squadron received twin-engine Vickers Wellingtons. Those were improved aircraft that allowed No 407 to attack and sink more ships than any other squadron of its group. No 415 Squadron, for its part, experienced many frustrations as its planes were poorly suited for their missions, and as it was frequently forced to relocate. Those problems were solved in 1944 when the squadron was assigned to Bomber Command.

No 413 Squadron was created in the summer of 1941 and equipped with Consolidated Catalina flying boats, then one of the best aircraft for anti-submarine warfare. Less than a year later, the squadron was transferred to Southeast Asia where the Japanese fleet threatened to annihilate the Royal Navy and invade Bengal. No 413 Squadron’s first Catalina reached Koggala in Ceylon (today Sri Lanka) on March 28th, 1942. Patrols started a few days later on the morning of April 4th.

In Koggala, an airstrip is being built for No 413 Squadron’s Catalinas, February 10th, 1943. Coolies quarried, crushed and carried all the stone required without any mechanical help. National Defence Image Library, PL 18412.

On his first patrol, after twelve hours of unsuccessful search, Squadron Leader L.J. Birchall and his crew of eight located the Japanese fleet. They closed in to assess the number of warships but were rapidly spotted by Japanese Zero fighters that were covering the ships. The Zeros attacked the Catalina that Birchall tried desperately to keep in flight while the wireless operator sent in coordinates of the fleet. The badly damaged plane dived and Birchall, together with six of his crewmates, managed to get away from the wreck, only to be rescued by a Japanese destroyer and made prisoners of war. Birchall’s call, however, had warned the Allies that a Japanese attack against the island was imminent and earned him to be known as “the Saviour of Ceylon”,

A Short Sunderland of No 422 Squadron landing at Castle Archdale. National Defence Image Library, PL 40996.

After the April and May 1942 Japanese attacks, the Southeast Asia theatre grew much quieter and months after months of monotonous patrolling were to be the lot of No 413 Squadron.

Created in 1942, No 422 and No 423 Squadrons flew aboard Short Sunderland flying boats. Those were heavy, four-engine aircraft with less autonomy and range than Catalinas they had been originally designed for passenger service. The hull was actually so huge that it could be fitted with two decks. On the lower deck a small kitchen equipped with an oven provided the crew with a wartime luxury: coffee and hot meals.

9 Oct /44, Monday, Castle Archdale. Just for a change, here we are over in north-west Ireland, on Lough Ewe, about 20 miles from the west coast. Sunderlands and Catalinas are the vehicles here.
F/L F.H.C. Reinke’s Diary, October 1944

Given the defensive nature of their missions, most Coastal Command squadrons had to fly lengthy patrols without even a glimpse of the enemy. Bad weather was actually a worse threat. Patrols followed one another and men had to fight boredom that would make them less vigilant. Encounters with the enemy may have been rare but they certainly were not without danger. U-boats were tough targets for planes to fire at, and one had to get really close to get a hit. With its machine-guns and anti-aircraft 20-mm guns, a U-boat could certainly fire back in a sustained manner (Type IX U-boats even had an additional 37-mm gun). Risks were high and so were losses in lives and material.

At 1339 hours on 24th April, 1944, Sunderland A/423 was flying at 2100 feet when the captain saw visually a wake bearing 175°T distant 16 miles. Speed was increased to 140 knots while the second pilot confirmed with the binoculars that the wake was that of a U-Boat…
Attack on U-672 by Sunderland “A”, 423 Squadron

An average of 2,000 to 3,000 Canadians served with the Coastal Command during the war’s last two years. In April 1944 the aircrews, ground personnel and administrative support personnel of all RCAF squadrons amounted to 2,065 men 919 more Canadians were with various RAF units.

  • For a description of the aircraft used by Canadian airmen, see the “Collection” section on the National Aviation Museum website or the Wings of Freedom website
  • For medals and citations awarded to Canadian airmen, see the Air Force Association of Canada website

Suggested Reading:

  • W.A.B. Douglas, The Creation of a National Air Force: the Official History of the Royal Canadian Air Force Volume II, 1986.
  • Brereton Greenhous et al., The crucible of war, 1939-1945: History of the Royal Canadian Air Force Volume III, 1994.
  • Larry Milberry, Hugh Halliday, The Royal Canadian Air Force At War 1939-1945, 1990.

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Operational history

source : www.pinterest.com

Roles in World War II

Around 3,300 aircraft were built, and these operated in nearly all operational theatres of World War II. The Catalina served with distinction and played a prominent and invaluable role against the Japanese. This was especially true during the first year of the war in the Pacific, because the PBY and the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress were the only aircraft available with the range to be effective in the Pacific.

Anti-submarine warfare

Catalinas were the most extensively used anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft in both the Atlantic and Pacific Theaters of World War II, and were also used in the Indian Ocean, flying from the Seychelles and from Ceylon. Their duties included escorting convoys to Murmansk. By 1943, 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 1944, for sinking U-347 (although the submarine is now known to have been U-361) and in the same year Flight Lieutenant David Hornell of the Royal Canadian Air Force (posthumously) against U-1225. Catalinas destroyed 40 U-boats, but not without losses of their own. A Brazilian Catalina attacked and sank U-199 in Brazilian waters on 31 July 1943. Later, the aircraft was baptized as “Arará”, in memory of the merchant ship of that name which was sunk by another U-boat.

Maritime patrol

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.

A RAF Coastal Command Catalina, piloted by Ensign Leonard B. Smith of the U.S. Navy and flying out of Castle Archdale Flying boat base, Lower Lough Erne, Northern Ireland, located on 26 May 1941, some 690 nmi (1,280 km 790 mi) northwest of Brest, the German battleship Bismarck, which was attempting to evade Royal Navy forces as she sought to join other Kriegsmarine forces in Brest. This sighting eventually led to the destruction of the German battleship.

On 7 December 1941, before the Japanese amphibious landings on Kota Bharu, Malaya, their invasion force was approached by a Catalina flying boat of No. 205 Squadron RAF. The aircraft was shot down by five Nakajima Ki-27 fighters before it could radio its report to air headquarters in Singapore. Flying Officer Patrick Bedell, commanding the Catalina, and his seven crew members became the first Allied casualties in the war with Japan.

A flight of Catalinas spotted the Japanese fleet approaching Midway Island, beginning the Battle of Midway.

A Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Canso flown by Squadron Leader L.J. Birchall foiled Japanese plans to destroy the Royal Navy's Indian Ocean fleet on 4 April 1942 when it detected the Japanese carrier fleet approaching Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

Night attack and naval interdiction

During the Battle of Midway four USN PBYs of Patrol Squadrons 24 and 51 made an attack on the occupation force of the Japanese fleet on the night of June 3â€"4, 1942.

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) also operated Catalinas as night raiders, with four squadrons Nos. 11, 20, 42, and 43 laying mines from 23 April 1943 until July 1945 in the southwest Pacific deep in Japanese-held waters, bottling up ports and shipping routes and forcing ships into deeper waters to become targets for U.S. submarines they tied up the major strategic ports such as Balikpapan which shipped 80% of Japanese oil supplies. In late 1944, their mining missions sometimes exceeded 20 hours in duration and were carried out from as low as 200 ft (61 m) in the dark. Operations included trapping the Japanese fleet in Manila Bay in assistance of General Douglas MacArthur's landing at Mindoro in the Philippines. Australian Catalinas also operated out of Jinamoc in the Leyte Gulf, and mined ports on the Chinese coast from Hong Kong to as far north as Wenchow. Both USN and RAAF Catalinas regularly mounted nuisance night bombing raids on Japanese bases, with the RAAF claiming the slogan "The First and the Furthest". Targets of these raids included a major base at Rabaul. RAAF aircrews, like their U.S. 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.

Search and rescue

Catalinas were employed by every branch of the U.S. military as rescue aircraft. A PBY piloted by LCDR Adrian Marks (USN) rescued 56 sailors in high seas from the heavy cruiser Indianapolis after the ship was sunk during World War II. When there was no more room inside, the crew tied sailors to the wings. 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.

Early commercial use

Catalinas were also used for commercial air travel. For example, Qantas Empire Airways flew commercial passengers from Suva to Sydney, a journey of 2,060 miles (3,320 km), which in 1949 took two days. The longest commercial flights (in terms of time aloft) ever made in aviation history were the Qantas flights flown weekly from 29 June 1943 through July 1945 over the Indian Ocean, dubbed the Double Sunrise. Qantas offered non-stop service between Perth and Colombo, a distance of 3,592 nmi (4,134 mi 6,652 km). As the Catalina typically cruised at 110 kn (130 mph 200 km/h), this took from 28 to 32 hours and was called the "flight of the double sunrise", since the passengers saw two sunrises during their non-stop journey. The flight was made in radio silence because of the possibility of Japanese attack and had a maximum payload of 1,000 lb (450 kg) or three passengers plus 143 lb (65 kg) of military and diplomatic mail.

Post-World War II employment

An Australian PBY [named "Frigate Bird II" - an ex RAAF aircraft, registered VH-ASA] made the first trans-Pacific flight across the South Pacific between Australia and Chile in 1951 by (Sir) Gordon Taylor, making numerous stops at islands along the way for refueling, meals, and overnight sleep of its crew, flown from Sydney to Quintero in Chile after making initial landfall at Valparaiso via Tahiti and Easter Island.

With the end of the war, all of the flying boat versions of the Catalina were quickly retired from the U.S. Navy, but the amphibious versions remained in service for some years. The last Catalina in U.S. service was a PBY-6A operating with a Naval Reserve squadron, which was retired from use on 3 January 1957. The Catalina subsequently equipped the world's smaller armed services into the late 1960s in fairly substantial numbers.

The U.S. Air Force's Strategic Air Command used Catalinas (designated OA-10s) in service as scout aircraft from 1946 through 1947.

The Brazilian Air Force flew Catalinas in naval air patrol missions against German submarines starting in 1943. The flying boats also carried out air mail deliveries. In 1948, a transport squadron was formed and equipped with PBY-5As converted to the role of amphibious transports. The 1st Air Transport Squadron (ETA-1) was based in the port city of Belem and flew Catalinas and C-47s until 1982. Catalinas were convenient for supplying military detachments scattered along the Amazon. They reached places that were otherwise accessible only by helicopters. The ETA-1 insignia was a winged turtle with the motto "Though slowly, I always get there". Today, the last Brazilian Catalina (a former RCAF one) is displayed at the Airspace Museum (MUSAL) in Rio de Janeiro.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau used a PBY-6A (N101CS) to support his diving expeditions. 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. 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 1940s and early 1950s.

Steward-Davis converted several Catalinas to their Super Catalina standard (later known as Super Cat), which replaced the usual 1,200 hp (890 kW) Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp engines with Wright R-2600 Cyclone 14 engines of 1,700 hp (1,300 kW). 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.

Chilean Air Force (FACH) Captain Roberto Parragué, in his PBY Catalina FACH No. 405 called "Manu-Tara", which means Lucky Bird in the Rapanui language, undertook the first flight between Easter Island and the continent of South America (from Chile), as well as the first flight to Tahiti, making him a national hero of France as well as of Chile. The flight was authorized by the Chilean President in 1951, but a second flight he made in 1957 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. 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.

Catalina affair

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 1952 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 2003 and raised 2004â€"2005).


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