Consolidated PBY Catalina

Consolidated PBY Catalina

the PBY Catalina resulted from an October 1933 Navy contract for a new water-based patrol plane. This aircraft was originally designated XP3Y-1, the prototype and its Douglas-built rival, the XP3D-1, were the first Navy flying boats with cantilever wings. The all-metal XP3Y-1 mounted its huge parasol wing, with retractable wingtip floats, on a pylon above the fuselage. To better reflect its combat role, the P3Y was redesignated as PBY in 1936. Russia obtained three PBYs in 1938 and began building their version soon after, designated GST. An amphibious variant, the PBY-5A, appeared in November 1939 and incorporated retractable landing gear for both water and land-based operations. Together with the non-amphibious PBY-5, this version became the most-produced design with over 1,500 built. The urgent need for patrol planes in World War II led to orders from Britain, which gave the PBY its "Catalina" nickname. U.S. and Canadian plants built the PBY, including the Naval Aircraft Factory, which produced the PBN Nomad with a redesigned tail. This was incorporated on the last U.S. variant, the PBY-6A. Catalinas were exported to France, Russia and the Netherlands East Indies, and also transferred to the U.S. Army Air Forces as the OA-10. They filled many roles, including coastal, long-range and anti-submarine patrol, bombing and air-sea rescue. In the Pacific, their vulnerability to enemy fire led to a change to more successful nighttime operations, in which "Black Cats" attacked Japanese shipping. Catalinas flying "Dumbo" missions rescued thousands of downed airmen in the role for which they are perhaps best remembered.


Type: U.S. Navy amphibian patrol bomber
Length: 63'6"
Weight: 34,550 lbs.
Powerplant: Two 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 radial engines.
Max Speed: 178 mph at 7,000'
Service Ceiling: 16,200'
Armament:Three .30 cal. machine guns, two in nose turret and one in rear hull; 2 .50 cal. machine guns, one each in waist blisters
Crew: 7
Load: Provision for 4,000 lbs. of depth bombs or two torpedoes on wing racks.

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Written & Edited by Darrell Graves