PBY Catalina (Walk Around 5505)
By W.E. Scarborough
Publisher: Squadron/Signal Publications 1996 80 Pages
PDF 26 MB
The intent of the WALK AROUND series is to provide maximum information in a limited number of pages. This led us to the decision to restrict this book to the PBY-5/5A/6A and their variants, USAF OA-lOA and Catalinas/Cansos of the Allied Air Forces.
Considered obsolete by many as the Second World War II began, the PBY proved a tremendous asset to all the services that flew her, performing in roles never envisioned by her designers. Maritime patrol, convoy escort and ASW were her primary duties, but in all combat areas, especially the South Pacific, the PBY proved to be a capable bomber and outstanding Search and Rescue Dumbo, saving hundreds of survivors. Bombing and strafing "Black Cats", overall Black PBYs flying at night, were the scourge of enemy efforts to supply bypassed forward area bases. Basically unchanged from first production in 1936 to the last PBY, delivered in 1945, the Catalina's operational capability had increased enormously with improved armament, power-boosted ammunition supply, armor, fuel dump valves, self-sealing fuel tanks, thermal deicing, radar and communication gear.
PBYs continued to serve many armed services after the war. The last Navy Catalina, a PBY-6A, flew until 1957 in the Naval Reserve. Foreign air forces operated PBYs into the 1970s, principally for search and rescue and logistic support of outlying installations.
Catalinas have served in many civilian roles since the Second World War, providing passenger and freight service to remote areas and for many more exotic pursuits. Some serve as water bombers, fighting forest fires all over the World with water scooped into hull tanks through retractable probes as the PBY skimmed over a lake or river surface. Several have been configured as air yachts by private owners. For improved performance, many have been re-engined with 1,700 hp Wright R-2600 engines and nacelles from B-25 bombers. A revised vertical tail improves stability and control and has led to a new name - "Super Cat".