PBY Catalina in Action (Aircraft 62)
By W.E. Scarborough, Don Greer
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1983 50 Pages
PDF 13 MB
No design can challenge the PBY Catalina for being the most successful flying boat ever produced. In production continuously for over ten years, it was built in larger numbers than any other flying boat, in fact, it was built in largernumbers than all other flying boats combined. Ironically, the PBY would probably never have been produced had Consolidated not underbid Douglas in mid-1935, when the Navy* requested bids from the industry for a production batch of patrol planes based on the Consolidated XP3Y-1 and the Douglas XP3D-1 prototypes. The competing designs had both completed successful flight test programs and had met all specified performance requirements with no significant problems. With near-identical performance, the choice between the two aircraft came down to price — and Consolidated's bid of $90,000 per Diane, being substantially lower than the Douglas bid of $110,000. won the contract.
The PBY was named "Catalina" by the British in November 1940, shortly after delivery of the first of many PBYs that would eventually serve with the RAF. The Catalina was named for the resort island off the California coast, satisfying the RAF requirement that aircraft names be representative of the manufacturer. When the United States officially decreed names for aircraft in 1941, many British designations for airplanes common to the two nations, including Catalina for the PBY, were adopted. The Canadians identified the RCAF version of the PBY flying boat as "Canso" and the amphibian as "Canso A". Still another, not widely known name for a PBY variant, was "Nomad", the name selected for the PBN-1, a major redesign of th PBY-5 undertaken and produced by the Naval Aircraft Factory at Philadelphia in 1944-45.