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Consolidated PBY Catalina

United States (1936)
Picture of Consolidated PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat
Picture of Consolidated PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat Picture of Consolidated PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat
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The Consolidated PBY Catalina was one of the more important flying boats for the Allies during World War 2.


Detailing the development and operational history of the Consolidated PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat.  Entry last updated on 5/21/2018. Authored by Staff Writer. Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com

Maritime aircraft play an understated - yet hugely important - role during World War 2 where their long range capabilities were put to good use. Flying boats came to pass as a peacetime development, the earliest forms appearing prior to World War 1 (1914-1918) and this allowed their use as military platforms during the war proper. Their continued evolution, with appropriate tactics and doctrine soon fleshed out, led to ever-more impressive designs soon taking shape - particularly those designs emerging from Britain and the United States. With the arrival of the Second World War, the role of the flying boat was broadened considerably and now included overwater patrolling, reconnaissance, Search and Rescue (SAR), submarine hunting, and anti-shipping service carrying varied ordnance such as bombs, torpedoes and mines.

The PBY Catalina series became one of the more important of the American flying boats to see service in World War 2. The aircraft was designed, developed, and produced under the Consolidated Aircraft Company brand label in the United States and soon appeared as local, licensed products in other countries. Its reach also benefited through the Lend-Lease initiative which ensured the aircraft was stocked in foreign inventories during the war.

At its core, the PBY Catalina was a high-winged, twin-engined aircraft, classified as a flying boat for its boat-like/aircraft-like qualities allowingit to land on water or a prepared runway. The Catalina was crewed by seven to nine personnel that included pilots, engineers, bombardiers, and machine gunners - the total crew complement varied by variant. In prototype form, the PBY first flew on March 28, 1935 and beat out a competing Douglas Aircraft product in competition. Production models were accepted as "PBY-1" in October of 1936 (with the USN).

The wartime period would see a variety of engines fitted, revision of the defensive and offensive armament, and ever-expanding roles for the aircraft line. Tricycle landing gear tests on late PBY-4s would yield the truly amphibious PBY-5 and PBY-5A series models. Production of the PBY series would be undertaken by Consolidated in the United States, Canadian Vickers and Boeing of Canada in Canada (620 examples), and state factories in the Soviet Union (24 examples) under the Lend-Lease Act. In all, 3,305 PBY Catalina-based systems would be produced with 2,661 coming from American factories alone. The Soviets designated their Catalinas as "GST" (PBY-5) while Britain used the "Catalina Mk" identifier from marks I to VI.

The flying boats would go on to serve a critical role int he war particularly as the war was fought over such varied terrain types including long stretches of ocean and sea. Catalinas were in service until 1979 before being retired by the Brazilian Navy. French Catalinas were in operational service in Indochina for a time. Other operators included Australia, Chile, and Taiwan.

Many went on to have post-war careers in both military and civilian service. Still others soldiered on as fire-fighting platforms.

The PBY-5A featured a crew of ten. Its power came from 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 "Twin Wasp" radial piston engines outputting at 1,200 horsepower each. The engines were fitted along the wing leading edges which allowed for clearance against the punishing salty sea air. Performance included a maximum speed of 195 miles per hour, a cruise speed of 125 mph, a range out to 2,520 miles, a service ceiling of 15,800 feet, and a rate-of-climb of 1,000 feet per minute. Standard armament were 3 x 0.30 caliber machine guns (two fitted at the nose and the third at a ventral tail position) and 2 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns (one at each beam position). Bomb load was up to 4,000 lb of stores - conventional drop bombs, torpedoes, or depth charges being typical.


Picture of the Consolidated PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat
Picture of the Consolidated PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat



Any available statistics for the Consolidated PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat are showcased in the areas immediately below. Categories include basic specifications covering country-of-origin, operational status, manufacture(s) and total quantitative production. Other qualities showcased are related to structural values (namely dimensions), installed power and standard day performance figures, installed or proposed armament and mission equipment (if any), global users (from A-to-Z) and series model variants (if any).




Cockpit picture from the Consolidated PBY Catalina Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat
Consolidated PBY Catalina Cockpit Picture


Our Data Modules allow for quick visual reference when comparing a single entry against contemporary designs. Areas covered include general ratings, speed assessments, and relative ranges based on distances between major cities.

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Relative Maximum Speed Rating
Hi: 200mph
Lo: 100mph
    This entry's maximum listed speed (179mph).

    Graph average of 150 miles-per-hour.
City-to-City Ranges
NYC
 
  LON
LON
 
  PAR
PAR
 
  BER
BER
 
  MOS
MOS
 
  TOK
TOK
 
  SYD
SYD
 
  LAX
LAX
 
  NYC
Graph showcases the Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina's operational range (on internal fuel) when compared to distances between major cities.
Aviation Era
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Pie graph section
Useful in showcasing the era cross-over of particular aircraft/aerospace designs.
Unit Production Comparison
Comm. Market HI*: 44,000 units
Military Market HI**: 36,183 units
3305
3305


  * Commercial Market High belongs to Cessna 172.

  ** Military Market High belongs to Ilyushin Il-2.


Altitude Visualization
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Origin: United States
Year: 1936
Type: Long-Range Maritime Patrol Flying Boat
Manufacturer(s): Consolidated; Boeing - USA / GST - Soviet Union / Royal Aircraft - UK / Canadian Vickers - Canada
Production: 3,305
Status: Retired, Out-of-Service
Global Operators:
Argentina; Australia; Brazil; Canada; Chile; China (Taiwan); Colombia; Cuba; Denmark; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; France; Iceland; Israel; Japan (post-WW2); Mexico; Netherlands; New Zealand; Norway; Peru; Philippines; South Africa; Sweden; Soviet Union; United Kingdom; United States; Uruguay
Historical Commitments / Honors:

Military lapel ribbon for Operation Allied Force
Military lapel ribbon for the Arab-Israeli War
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Britain
Military lapel ribbon for the Battle of Midway
Military lapel ribbon for the Berlin Airlift
Military lapel ribbon for the Chaco War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cold War
Military lapel ribbon for the Cuban Missile Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Falklands War
Military lapel ribbon for the French-Indochina War
Military lapel ribbon for the Golden Age of Flight
Military lapel ribbon for the 1991 Gulf War
Military lapel ribbon for the Indo-Pak Wars
Military lapel ribbon for the Iran-Iraq War
Military lapel ribbon for the Korean War
Military lapel ribbon for the 1982 Lebanon War
Military lapel ribbon for the Malayan Emergency
Military lapel ribbon for the attack on Pearl Harbor
Military lapel ribbon for the Six Day War
Military lapel ribbon for the Soviet-Afghan War
Military lapel ribbon for the Spanish Civil War
Military lapel ribbon for the Suez Crisis
Military lapel ribbon for the Vietnam War
Military lapel ribbon for Warsaw Pact of the Cold War-era
Military lapel ribbon for the WASP (WW2)
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 1
Military lapel ribbon for the World War 2
Military lapel ribbon for the Yom Kippur
* Ribbons not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective campaigns/operations.
Measurements and Weights icon
Structural - Crew, Dimensions, and Weights:
Unless otherwise noted the presented statistics below pertain to the Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina model. Common measurements, and their respective conversions, are shown when possible.

Operational
CREW


Personnel
10


Dimension
LENGTH


Feet
63.81 ft


Meters
19.45 m


Dimension
WIDTH


Feet
104.00 ft


Meters
31.7 m


Dimension
HEIGHT


Feet
20.18 ft


Meters
6.15 m


Weight
EMPTY


Pounds
20,911 lb


Kilograms
9,485 kg


Weight
LOADED


Pounds
35,422 lb


Kilograms
16,067 kg

Engine icon
Installed Power - Standard Day Performance:
2 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 14-cylinder "Twin Wasp" air-cooled radial piston engines developing 1,200 horsepower each.

Performance
SPEED


Miles-per-Hour
179 mph


Kilometers-per-Hour
288 kph


Knots
156 kts


Performance
RANGE


Miles
2,545 mi


Kilometers
4,095 km


Nautical Miles
2,211 nm


Performance
CEILING


Feet
14,698 ft


Meters
4,480 m


Miles
2.78 mi


Performance
CLIMB RATE


Feet-per-Minute
526 ft/min


Meters-per-Minute
160 m/min

Supported Weapon Systems:

Graphical image of an aircraft medium machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft heavy machine gun
Graphical image of an aircraft anti-ship missile
Graphical image of an aircraft aerial torpedo
Graphical image of an aircraft conventional drop bomb munition
Armament - Hardpoints (2):

STANDARD:
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in bow turret
2 x 12.7mm machine guns in fuselage blisters (one each side).
1 x 7.62mm machine gun in ventral tunnel section.

OPTIONAL:
Bombload of up to 4,000lb that includes 2 x torpedoes, bombs, depth charges or anti-ship mines.
Variants: Series Model Variants
• PBY Catalina - Base Series Name
• Model 28 - Base Prototype Model Designation
• XP3Y-1 - Prototype Model Designation
• PBY-1 - Initial Production Model featuring improved and more powerful R-1830-64 900hp engines; 60 produced.
• PBY-2 - Modified United States Navy Model of which 50 were produced.
• PBY-3 - Fitted with R-1830-66 1,000hp engines of which 66 were produced.
• PBY-4 - Integrated the recognizable fuselage "blister" gun positions; name "Catalina" is utilized for the series; fitted with R-1830-72 1,050hp radial engines of which 33 produced.
• PBY-5 - R-1830-82 or R-1830-92 radial engines capable of 1,200hp; export version for UK, Dutch East Indies, Australia and Canada; Tricycle landing gear testing implemented and integrated to final PBY-5 production models making the system completely amphibious; general improvements throughout.
• PBY-5A - Full Amphibious Variant of which 761 were produced.
• PBY-5B - Improved Amphibious Model
• Mk I - RAF Coastal Command Designation of the PBY-5 model series.
• Canso - Canadian designation of the PBY-5 model series as produced by Canadian Vickers and Boeing of Canada.
• PBN-1 "Nomad" - Naval Aircraft Factory production model with taller fin and rudder systems; model supplied to the USSR; aerodynamic and hydrodynamic improvements to airframe.
• PBY-6A - "Amphibians" with search radar installed.
• OA-10B - United States Air Force Designation of the PBY-6A Catalina amphibians.
• GST - Model Designation of PBY series as produced by the USSR; unknown production numbers.