A great video clip of a great plane

A Consolidated PBY Catalina amphibian, brought from South Africa to the USA two years ago, has been fully restored to wartime condition for the soon-to-be-established Greatest Generation Naval Museum in San Diego.  In celebration of this achievement, and as an overview of the history of the plane, a seven-minute video has been prepared.  It makes great viewing for aviation enthusiasts.

I can’t embed the video here, but I urge you to click over to Vimeo and see it for yourselves.  It’s worth your time and trouble to do so.



  1. Too nice by far. the Anchorage, AK air museum has a basket-case PBY that was left over from WW2. It'd be nice to see that one restored–ad they plan to–but she's pretty far gone. This one though…Wow.

  2. Yep, beautiful AND forgiving birds to fly, according to some folks at our last squadron reunion who flew them in WWII.

  3. I've always been intrigued…. Flying Boat is sooo perfect,lol.
    One of the few airships I've yet to crawl over….but the clip helped until then 😀

  4. That one is the 5A version – a PBY5A because it is amphibious – it has wheels for ground landing.

    My father flew PBY's during WWII in the Gulf of Mexico looking for subs. He told of twelve-hour hops. He also said that the aircraft was ruined when they added wheels. He said it killed the useful load.

  5. One of my Dad's college buddies flew in one of those in the Pacific Theater (left side window observer ?) but I don't recall any descriptions or details of the experience.

    Beautiful plane – thanks for the picture.

  6. I've always believed that He made the PBY, then God had to create air and water so it would have someplace to soar and set down. All other uses for air and water are secondary to existing as media to support the plane.

  7. Years ago, I was working with a guy who flew them after the war, doing geologic surveys in AK. He told of the time they flew into a box canyon, not knowing until they rounded the last turn. He said there was usually a stiff wind blowing down those, so throttles back, flaps down, and they BACKED all the way out of the canyon (climbing ability of the PBY was "barely"). Called the geologist in the rear to look outside, and who proceeded to freak when he realized the rock walls were moving the wrong direction!

    He said the backing out was a typical thing, it was the reaction of the guy in back that made that flight memorable.

    Wish I could recall his name. He did lots of things connected with the early atomic age. He rode a Rokon in the Sierra Mts in the 80's, and was near 70 himself, IIRC.

  8. Drat! For some reason, I added flaps to the story. Possibly due to my continuing astonishment that they didn't build them with flaps?

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