Sunday, March 02, 2008

The RCAF consolidated PBY Catalina

The WW2 RCAF consolidated PBY Catalina was a wonderful airplane that saved many downed airmen during the Second world war. From the Atlantic to the Pacific and the South Atlantic the PBY Catalina proved to be a formidable foe for German Uboats and a welcomed sight for the ditched Canadian and other airmen of the Allied Air Forces. The Catalina came into service in 1936 and flew with many air forces of the world until the late 1970's. 4000 Catalina's were build between the mid 1930's until the end of the Second World war in 1945. The Catalina proved to be a very versatile and enjoyable airplane to fly for the Allied Airmen being able to land on a runway or on water. Hundreds of sailors and airmen were rescued in harms way thanks to the Catalina. Sadly, there aren't too many of them left in flyable condition. Some say about 30 Catalina's are still in flyable condition to this day? This goes to show that anything historical should be preserved at all cost or restored to their original historical condition because once they are gone they can never come back to their original condition. The Americans used their Catalina's for search and rescue off the coast of the US and to attack Japanese convoys in the Pacific and the British and Canadians used them in the Atlantic for search and rescue and to attack German Uboats. The Australians and New Zealanders also used the PBY Catalina in the Pacific for strafing the Japanese and also for search and rescue.

In Canada the PBY was build by the Vickers Company in Cartierville which still exist today and the company is now named Canadair. The maker of the world famous Challenger and global jets and also the yellow Canadair water bombers that have some design familiarities with the PBY. The PBY's were also manufactured by the Boeing Aircraft Company and have two Pratt and Whitney engines that consist of radial piston engines. Weight: Empty 20,910 lbs., Max Takeoff 35,420 lbs.Wing Span: 104ft. Length: 63ft. 10.5in. Height: 20ft. 2in. Performance: Maximum Speed: 179 mph Long-Range Cruising Speed: 117 mph Ceiling: 14,700 ft. Range: 2,545 miles Armament: Five 7.62-mm (0.3-inch) machine guns Up to 4,000 pounds of bombs or depth charges. There were many variations of the PBY throughout the war until the end of it's production in 1945. I will be making more tributes in time to come to some of our great Canadian and Allied airplanes and fliers of WW2. To be followed.

We were very fortunate to have a wonderful aircraft such as the consolidated PBY Catalina and great pilots and air crews that contributed to save the lives of the people in need and helped the Allies win the war over the oceans of the world.

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