Consolidated PBY Catalina

The Consolidated PBY Catalina is a flying boat and amphibious aircraft that was produced in the 1930s and 1940s. In Canadian service it was known as the Canso. 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. The last military PBYs served until the 1980s. As of 2021, 86 years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as a waterbomber (or airtanker) in aerial firefighting operations in some parts of the world. None remain in military service.

The PBY was the most numerous aircraft of its kind, with around 3,300 aircraft built.

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 type operated in nearly all operational theatres of World War II. The Catalina served with distinction and played a prominent and invaluable role in the war against Japan.

These patrol planes shared with land based patrol bombers the combat roles while the very long range Consolidated LB-30 and the Consolidated Coronado were pressed into service to increase the all important logistic strategic air lift capability in the vast Pacific theater. The pairings allowed the Catalina to take on the role of eyes of the fleets at longer ranges than the float plane scouts.

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.


Consolidated PBY Bundle

$25.00