YouTube – PBY Catalina
Pratt & Whitney
2- R 1,200 hp. ea.
63 ft. 10 in.
The PBY Catalina built by Consolidated first flew in 1935. It was originally designed as a long range patrol bomber intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships. It could be equipped with depth charges, bombs and torpedoes.
The PBY Catalina served with every branch of the U. S. military and in the air forces and navies of many nations. They were among the most widely used and versatile planes of World War II. They were used as a submarine hunter, for search, rescue, reconnaissance, as a night bomber, for convoy escort, and as a transport.
PBY Catalina aircraft were responsible for the sighting of the Bismarck, leading to its eventual sinking, plus the spotting of the Japanese fleets at Midway and Wake Islands.
The amphibians distinguished themselves as exceptionally reliable. They were involved in the rescue of thousands of downed airmen.
When the new Catalina was introduced it featured several innovations which were unique for the time. It had a parasol wing, similar to previous models. The difference was that bracing for the wing and the tail was done internally. This helped lessen overall drag. The floats retracted into the wing tips, greatly reducing drag. Eventually the aircraft acquired retractable landing gear, making it a true amphibian.
The last active military PBY Catalina aircraft were retired from service in the 1980’s. Today some continue to fly as private transports, tour aircraft, and air tankers.
Stephen Thomas, from Australia, built his PBY Catalina over a four year period, taking about 3,000 hours to complete. It has a wingspan of 20 ft. 8 in., and a length of 14 ft. 2 in. Construction is primarily from balsa and ply. Power comes from a pair of DA 150 engines, and all up weight is around 248 lbs.
Sturla’s Design (rcsturla.com) has plans for the PBY Catalina. Wingspan is 13 ft. and length is 8 ft. Suggested power can come from Quadra 35 cc engines. Weight is around 48 1/2 lbs.
We received the following email from Sturla Design: “I just built a set of landing gears for the PBY Catalina and I made a video demonstrating how it works: