Model Airplane News
April, 1944

Model Airplane News Cover for April, 1944 by Jo Kotula Consolidated PBY Catalina

Consolidated PBY "Catalina"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for April, 1944
by Jo Kotula
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The Catalina was the most successful (and numerosu) flying boat in aviation history. It served extensively throughout World War II as a search and rescue plane, even (at times) delivering bombs. It began life as the Consolidated Model 28, designed by Isaac Laddon in late 1933. The prototype first flew in 1935 and had distinctive features, most notably, the parasol wing with no supporting structures. This absence of struts and bracing wires offered an immediate improvement in performance. Another new feature was the introduction of stabilising floats which retracted in flight to form the wingtips. Initial trials of the prototype left little doubt that the Navy was about to acquire a significant aircraft. PBY-1 began to enter squadron service in 1937 and by mid-1938 14 squadrons were operational.

Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat

Consolidated PBY "Catalina" Flying Boat
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Initial export aircraft went to Russia, where the type was built subsequently in large numbers under the designation GST. The RAF acquired a single example for evaluation in 1939 and almost immediately ordered a batch of 50, the first of many to serve with Coastal Command. The name Catalina (adopted first by the RAF) was used later by the USN for the various versions which entered service. The type was also to serve with the RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF and the air arm of the Dutch East Indies. Many Catalinas remained in service for air-sea rescue for some years after the end of the war

Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat   Design Patent D-92,912    Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat   Design Patent D-92,912

Patent Diagrams for the Consolidated PBY Catalina
Design Patent D-92,912
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Click Here to learn how to get free patent diagrams

The PBY was a very popular subject in the mass media from its unique retractable wing floats to its use in search and rescue. Here are three articles from the mid-1930s as found in our review of Popular Mechanics.

Aricle from Popular Mechanics June, 1939    Aricle from Popular Mechanics May, 1937    Aricle from Popular Mechanics April, 1936

Consolidated PBY Catalina in the Media
(Left) June, 1939 (middle) May, 1937 (right) April, 1936
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Here is a video that has a "walk around" and takeoff of a restored PBY:

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 007 of the Wings Friend or Foe series   PBY Catalina Flying Boat

Trading card representation of the Consolidated PBY "Catalina"
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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The venerable Catalina continued in service as an air rescue vehicle for some time. It appeared on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated several times. In 1943, it was used to illustrate naval gunnery and a photograph of the nose gun appeared -- this open gun position dates from the earliest days of aviation. In 1948, the Catalina's role as an air rescue vehicle was highlighted.

Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated November 1943    Consolidated PBY Catalina Flying Boat on the cover of Mechanix Illustrated March 1943

Catalina Cover Girl
(left) November, 1943 (right) March, 1948
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Click Here for more information about the Consolidated PBY "Catalina" Flying Boat.

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