The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an American
flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft. It was
one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. PBYs served
with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and
navies of many other nations. In the United States Army Air Forces and later in
the United States Air Force their designation was OA-10. A Canadian-built PBY
would be familiarly called a Canso.
Swedish Air force Consolidated PBY Catalina on
display at the Swedish Air force museum in Linkoping, Sweden
During World War II, PBYs were used in
anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escorts, search and rescue
missions (especially air-sea rescue), and cargo transport. The PBY was the most
successful aircraft of its kind; no other flying boat was produced in greater
numbers. The last active military PBYs were not retired from service until the
1980s. Even today, over 70 years after its first flight, the aircraft continues
to fly as an air tanker in aerial firefighting operations all over the world.
The initialism of “P.B.Y.” was
determined in accordance with the U.S. Navy aircraft designation system of
1922; PB representing “Patrol Bomber” and Y being the code used for
the aircraft’s manufacturer, Consolidated Aircraft.
The Catalina supports a crew of 8 (pilot,
co-pilot, bow turret gunner, flight mechanic, radioman, navigator and two waist
gunners). It is powered by 2-Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial
engines that produce 1,200hp each and give the plane a maximum speed of 196