Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina

Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina

One of the most versatile aircraft in history, the Consolidated PBY Catalina was developed in response to a 1933 US Navy request for a flying boat to replace Consolidated's P2Y. It was to have increased range and a greater load capacity. Approximately 4,000 Catalina's were built between 1936-1945 and used as a patrol aircraft by numerous Allied air forces throughout the Second World War II in virtually every theater of the conflict. The aircraft saw extensive civilian service for decades following the war. The US Forest Service only recently retired its last PBY where it was employed as a fire-bomber.

About the Museum's Aircraft
The Museum's Catalina, a PBY-5A (US Navy Bureau No. 48406 / Consolidated construction #1768), is the amphibious version. Featuring retractable tricycle undercarriage that allowed it to touch down on land as well as water, it represents the most-produced variant of the legendary Catalina. Originally delivered to the Navy on 31 December 1943, it was assigned to Johnston Island in the Pacific from which it patrolled the Gilbert and Marshall islands.

After the war, the aircraft was used by the Coast Guard until its purchase by Thomas W. Kendall in 1956. It was donated to the Museum in January 1986 by the Thomas W. Kendall family. In May 1986, the PBY was flown from Van Nuys, California, to the Naval Air Rework Facility at North Island where volunteer craftsmen completed the first phase of restoration. When this work was completed in November 1988, the Catalina was transported by barrage across San Diego bay to the Convair facilities on Harbor Drive near downtown San Diego where the second phase of its restoration was carried out by volunteers from the Convair Alumni Association.

The Catalina is now displayed in the Museum's Edwin D. McKellar Pavilion of Flight.

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