Catalina Buzzes The Ever Living Daylights Out Of Boaters
Built by Consolidated Aircraft starting in the 1930s, the Consolidated PBY Catalina is a seaplane that saw use in military conflicts around the world until quite recently. The patrol bomber (for which PB stands for) entered US military service in 1936 and remained active until the 1970s, being part of all American armed forces during that time span.
- Although slow and lacking proper defenses, the flying boat took part in most maritime battles during World War 2.
- It was also used as a stealth night fighter, painted black and flown under enemy radars; a tactic that proved successful for Allied forces, despite the plane’s shortcomings.
- Ongoing improvement caused its great longevity as a military aircraft.
With a slew of different nicknames ranging from Black Cat to Pig Boat, the Consolidated PBY Catalina is also successfully used by civilians for surveys, fire-bombing mission and even transport to and from remote areas (due to its water landing capabilities.) It’s a very versatile airframe which is why over 3,000 of them were built over the years.
As of this writing, there are 20 airworthy Catalinas all around the world, with many more under restoration.