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Consolidated PBY Catalina: the Peacetime Record

24 April 2016

Consolidated PBY Catalina: the Peacetime Record, David Legg, 2001, ISBN 1-55750-245-5, 192 pp.

Consolidated PBY Catalina: the Peacetime Record by David Legg

Consolidated PBY Catalina: the Peacetime Record by David Legg

Consolidated’s PBY Catalina, one of a handful of aircraft beloved and romanticized, and—incredibly—yet flying though approaching a century in age. What has not been written about the Catalina? Thankfully, David Legg found such a niche needing attention and he has skillfully addressed the task—Catalinas after World War II and what a history there is to tell.

Legg’s book on the Catalina is captivating. He centers not on the famous Catalina wartime exploits but on the individual aircraft histories—and their histories are fascinating as well as intriguing. Consolidated PBY Catalina: the Peacetime Record answers questions about modifications, fates and explanations of how present day Catalinas came to be where they are—amazingly all across the globe.

Every PBY which has been addressed in this blog (and there are many) is explained in this excellent book. The four engine modification of a PBY is explained as well as its “demodification”, and what a colorful career it had. Wrecks are listed as are their locations. What is not to like about this well researched book? Hardly a thing as, aside from the dozens upon dozens of black and white images (many hardly, if ever, previously published), there are 32 gorgeous color postcard-sized photos.

David Legg has written a book which belongs in the libraries of any person having an interest in seaplane history as well as the PBY Catalina. Creativity of aircraft users and modifiers are illustrated as are the whims of ownerships creating gripping stories of human endeavor.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 24 April 2016 01:18

    One of my friends in Mississippi, a fellow airport bum, had been a Naval aviator. Flew Catalinas during the post WW-2 period. He tells the story about being on a routine flight off the California coast when he felt a lurch and the controls jerked, but then everything was back to normal.

    While trying to figure out what just happened, one of the crew in the back called on the intercom, “Skipper, you better come back here and take a look at this.”

    He handed the plane off to the copilot and made his way back to one of the observation bubbles. The observer pointed toward the wing. He was gobsmacked to see one of the ailerons had completely departed the airplane. As he put it, “The damn thing is almost the size of an entire C-172 wing, and it was GONE.”

    He said when he went back up front and took over the controls, it didn’t fly much different, so they just went back to base and made a normal water landing. I didn’t think to ask what might have been said to the crew chief about safety wires and fasteners. Probably just as well.

    • travelforaircraft permalink*
      25 April 2016 07:59

      Incredible! Thanks 🙂

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