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Consolidated PBY Catalina "1935"

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 2014, nearly 80 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.

Consolidated PBY Catalina

Role Maritime patrol bomber, search and rescue seaplane
National origin United States
Manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft
First flight 28 March 1935
Introduction October 1936, United States Navy
Retired January 1957 (United States Navy Reserve)
1982 (Brazilian Air Force)
Primary users United States Navy
Produced 1936–1945
Number built 3,308 (2,661 U.S.-built,[1] 620 Canadian-built, 27 Soviet-built)
Variants Bird Innovator

Consolidated / Convair Millitary aircraft

Convair / Consolidated / Vultee Aircraft

Convair B-36 Peacemaker (1946) – intercontinental bomber
Stinson 108 (1946) – general aviation aircraft
Consolidated B-24 – Consolidated PBY Catalina
Convair CV-240 (1947) Convair CV-340 Convair CV-440 Metropolitan
Convair C-131 Samaritan Convair CV-540 (1955) Convair CV-580
Convair CV-600 (1965) Convair CV-640 Convair CV 5800
Canadair CC-109 Cosmopolitan – licence built turboprop powered CV-440
Convair F-102 Delta Dagger (1953) – Convair B-58 Hustler (1956) – Convair F-106 Delta Dart (1956) –
Convair 880 (1959) – Convair 990 Coronado (1961) – Vultee BT-13 Valiant – Vultee A-13 Vengeance

 

Grumman

Consolidated
PBY Catalina "1935"

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Consolidated
PBY Catalina "1935"

Background

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.

Initial development

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.[3] 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. 

Operational History

Roles in World War II

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 the Japanese.

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.

Operators

 Netherlands

Netherlands ordered 48 planes for use in the Dutch East Indies.

Royal Netherlands Air Force
Dutch Naval Aviation Service

 United Kingdom

 

The RAF also acquired a former Soviet Navy GST which landed in

Royal Air Force

 United States

United States Navy

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Consolidated PBY Catalina (1935)

US Navy
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.

Specifications

  • Crew: 10 (pilot, co-pilot, bow turret gunner, flight engineer, radio operator, navigator, radar operator.
  • Length: 63 ft 10.875 in (19.47863 m)
  • Wingspan: 104 ft (32 m)
  • Height: 21 ft 1 in (6.43 m)
  • Empty weight: 20,910 lb (9,485 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 35,420 lb (16,066 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 1,200 hp (890 kW) each
  • Maximum speed: 196 mph (315 km/h, 170 kn)
  • Cruise speed: 125 mph (201 km/h, 109 kn)
  • Range: 2,520 mi (4,060 km, 2,190 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 15,800 ft (4,800 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,000 ft/min (5.1 m/s)
  • Lift-to-drag: 11.9
  • Wing loading: 25.3 lb/sq ft (124 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.067 hp/lb (0.110 kW/kg)
  •  

Armament

    • Guns: 10 × .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns in 4 turrets and two waist positions
    • Bombs: ** Short range (˜400 mi [640 km]): 8,000 pounds (3,600 kg)
      • Long range (˜800 mi [1,300 km]): 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg)
      • Very long range (˜1,200 mi [1,900 km]): 2,700 pounds (1,200 kg)

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By the end of World War II, the technological breakthroughs of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress and other modern types had surpassed the bombers that served from the start of the war. The B-24 was rapidly phased out of U.S. service, although the PB4Y-2 Privateer maritime patrol derivative carried on in service with the U.S. Navy in the Korean War.

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