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Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina walkaround

16 February 2011

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina walkaround — Fantasy of Flight Aircraft Collection

Consolidated’s Catalina design of the mid 1930s has been one of my all time favorites ever since I can recall knowing about aircraft. Able to operate from land or water and stay aloft for half a day’s time, though not fast, the PBY is hardy. I’m speaking in the present tense since several of these aircraft operate today, as this one in Kermit’s collection can at the Fantasy of Flight* in between Tampa and Orlando. Kermit’s Catalina is gorgeous with its early WW II camouflage — one that was changed quickly to eliminate the red circle within the star since it was too similar to Japanese aircraft markings. Back in the day, ocean patrol missions satisfied a simple equation which was to take as many pairs of eyes aloft as was feasible for as long as possible. Thus the Catalina was slow with a maximum speed of ~125 mph (200kph) but had a range of over 2000 miles (3200km). Having the capability to fly onto and off of the water gave the Catalina certain advantages. PBY squadrons (including seaplane tenders) could be deployed to islands that did not possess airstrips as situations demanded. Naturally, the ability to land on water during an emergency was invaluable on many occasions. Though not fast the Catalina was used in many mission profiles such as rescue, night attack, antisubmarine duties and firebombing (after WW II).

So, here she is:

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina of the Fantasy of Flight Aircraft Collection — photo by Joe May

Port side view of the PBY-5A — photo by Joe May

View showing the hull, pylon supporting the wing and fuselage blisters for better crew observation abilities — photo by Joe May

Empennage of the PBY-5A — photo by Joe May

* Several posts have published regarding the Fantasy of Flight facility, to see them simply place “Fantasy of Flight” into the search window and select ENTER.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Cate permalink
    16 February 2011 08:47

    Very interesting looking plane. You do seem to find some unique crafts.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      16 February 2011 09:19

      We are lucky that so many interesting aircraft are out there … much more that the top twenty so-to-speak 😉

  2. travelforaircraft permalink*
    16 February 2011 09:18

    I could not agree with your thought sand observations more. I think there is an operation in Canada as well as in New Zealand that takes paying passengers for a short flight … I will go on one or the other one day.


  1. Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina walkaround (via Travel for Aircraft) « Webseite des PCCB e.V.

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