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PBY-5A Catalina

The Catalina is a truly marvellous addition to the static display line up at RIAT 2014. An American flying boat originally produced by Consolidated Aircraft in the 1930s-1940s, it was used for many roles during World War II; namely maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, plus interdiction and sea convoy escort missions. The PBY-5A received its name from the US Navy's designation system which labelled it as a 'Patrol Bomber' and recognised it's manufacturer, Consolidated Aircraft, using the code 'Y'. The '5A' model was an amphibious version of the PBY-5, gaining a retractable undercarriage which allowed it to operate from hard runways. The Catalina at RIAT 2014 is operated by Plane Sailing Air Displays Ltd on behalf of Catalina Aircraft Ltd which is in turn supported by an enthusiastic fan club - The Catalina Society. Flying on the UK civil register as G-PBYA, the aircraft's origins lie with the Royal Canadian Air Force which referred to it as a 'Canso A' and used it in a reconnaissance and anti-submarine role after it began its service life in 1943. It was converted to a freighter in 1948 but later became involved in photographic reconnaissance, and flood relief work alongside search and rescue flights. Although it was struck of charge by the military in 1961 it survived in civil ownership as a water bomber and caught the interest of Plane Sailing Ltd which was on the hunt for a new aircraft. After arriving in the UK it began appearing at air shows during the 2004 season and continues to be a star performer throughout Europe, operating out of Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire.

“It was an epic spectacle, as magical as anything you've ever seen in the West End, and as loud as anything you've ever heard at Knebworth.”

Jeremy Clarkson, Television Presenter

“All the thrills, excitement and noise of a Grand Prix, but in the air!”

Jenson Button, Formula 1 Racing Driver

“This is the best airshow!”

Buzz Aldrin, Apollo 11 Astronaut

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