List of Consolidated PBY Catalina operators

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The List of Consolidated PBY Catalina operators lists the countries and their naval aviation and air force units that have operated the aircraft:

Military operators[edit]



A formation of Australian Catalinas in 1943

The Royal Australian Air Force operated the PBY Catalina extensively. The Royal Australian Air Force ordered its first 18 PBY-5s (named Catalina) in 1940,[2] around the same time as French purchase. Some of these would be used to re-establish the British-Australian airlink through Asia as the Double Sunrise. By the end of the war the RAAF had taken delivery of 168 Catalinas. The RAAF used Catalinas in a wide range of roles including reconnaissance and anti-submarine patrols, offensive mine-laying and air-sea rescue, the deployment of folboats (collapsible canoes), notably the Hoehn MKIII military type for Commando raids. [3] The rescue of personnel and closer visual observation, as well as psychological warfare. In addition, RAAF PBYs were used to transport Australian personnel home at the end of the war.[2] The RAAF retired its last Catalina in 1952.[4]

Royal Australian Air Force


Canadian Vickers PBV-1A Canso A at RIAT, England in 2009. A version of the PBY-5A Catalina, this aircraft was built in 1944 for the Royal Canadian Air Force


Canada had its own close associations with the PBY, both as a manufacturer and customer. Under an agreement reached between the Canadian and U.S. governments, production lines were laid down in Canada, by Boeing Aircraft of Canada (as the PB2B-1) in Vancouver, and by Canadian Vickers (PBV-1) at the Canadair plant in Cartierville. Canadian manufactured aircraft serving with the RCAF were known as Canso A, and were equivalent to PBY-5A (with retractable landing gear). Eleven Canadian Home War Establishment squadrons flew Cansos and Lend Lease Catalinas and on both sides of the North Atlantic and on the Pacific West Coast of Canada. Two "overseas" squadrons flew from the British Isles, as well as over the Indian Ocean.

Royal Canadian Air Force



The Republic of China Air Force operates PBY-5A as search and rescue (SAR) plane from 1952 to 1954.[15] At least one of these PBY-5A were later transferred to China Airlines in the 1959.[16]


Colombian Air Force


Cuban Navy 1952-1961[17]


Royal Danish Air Force

 Dominican Republic[edit]



Soon after the receipt of Britain's first order for production aircraft, a French purchasing mission ordered 30 aircraft in early 1940. Allocated the Consolidated identification Model 28-5MF, none of these were delivered before the Battle of France.


Icelandic Coast Guard


A Catalina at the Israeli Air Force Museum in Hatzerim
Israeli Air Force


Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force



Netherlands ordered 48 planes for use in the Dutch East Indies.

Royal Netherlands Air Force
Dutch Naval Aviation Service

 New Zealand[edit]

From 1942 New Zealand used 56 non-amphibious PBY-5 and PB2B-1 Catalinas in the South Pacific, to replace the Short Singapore with the Royal New Zealand Air Force's 5 Squadron and 6 Squadron, initially operating out of Hobsonville and Fiji on maritime patrol and air-sea rescue roles. Additional RAF-owned aircraft were used by 490 (NZ) Squadron in the anti submarine role during the battle of the Atlantic. 490 squadron operated Catalinas out of Jui, West Africa, from 1943 until they were superseded by Short Sunderlands in 1944. The last RNZAF Catalinas were retired in 1953 and all had been sold or scrapped by the end of 1956.[19][20] An airworthy PBY-5A Catalina amphibian in 6 Squadron markings is privately owned.[21] The Royal New Zealand Air Force Museum is restoring a former fire training Catalina.

Royal New Zealand Air Force


Nicaraguan Air Force


Royal Norwegian Air Force


Paraguayan Air Force originally ordered three PBY-5As in 1955. One was destroyed in the U.S. before delivery. The other two reached Paraguay and received serials T-29 and T-31. T-29 rescued ex-President Perón in October 1955 in Argentina. Both aircraft were transferred to Líneas Aéreas de Transporte Nacional (LATN) in 1956.



 South Africa[edit]

Consolidated Catalina PBY's were flown by 6, 10 and 43 Squadrons of the South African Air Force during World War II. The squadrons and aircraft were placed under command of SAAF Coastal Command and operated on the South African Indian and Atlantic coastlines.[22]


Spanish Air Force Catalina 74-21 on display at the Spanish Air Force museum in Cuatro Vientos, Madrid

The Spanish Air Force used one unit, under DR.1 designation and 74-21 indication, as a patrol bomber and firefighter plane between 1949 and 1954. This aircraft was a United States Army Air Forces unit, which landed by accident in the Spanish Sahara in 1943, and finally it was sold to the Spanish Air force for approximately US$100,000. It is currently on display at the Museo del Aire (Madrid).[23].

Spanish Air Force


Swedish Air Force Consolidated PBY Catalina on display at the Swedish Air Force museum in Linkoping, Sweden

Three Canso amphibians, built by Canadian-Vickers, were bought by the Swedish Air Force in 1947. The Swedish designation was Tp 47. After modifications for their new post-war missions, they were based at Wing F2 at Hägernäs near Stockholm and were used mainly for air and sea rescue service. Also reconnaissance missions were flown.

The Tp 47 was equipped with PS-19/A radar. The aircraft had a crew of five and had also room for six stretchers. It was powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines of 1.200 hp each. It was unarmed.

Swedish Air Force

 Soviet Union[edit]

The Soviet Union had shown an interest, resulting in an order for three aircraft and the negotiation of a licence to build the type in USSR. When these three machines were delivered they were accompanied by a team of Consolidated engineers who assisted in establishment of the Soviet production facilities. This aircraft model, designated GST, was powered by two Wright R-1820-derived, nine-cylinder Shvetsov M-62 or ASh-62IR[24] single-row radial engines of 900 to 1,000 hp (671 to 746 kW). The first GST entered service towards the end of 1939. It is estimated hundreds more served with the Soviet Navy. Soviet Union also received 138 PBN-1 Nomad variant of the Catalina built by the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia along with 48 PBY-6As under the Lend-Lease Act.

Soviet Naval Aviation

 United Kingdom[edit]

The British Air Ministry purchased a single aircraft for evaluation purposes, the Model 28-5. This was flown across the Atlantic Ocean to the Marine Aircraft Experimental Establishment, Felixstowe, in July 1939. With the outbreak of war anticipated, the trials were terminated prematurely, and an initial 50 aircraft were ordered under as "Catalina I"s. These aircraft were similar to the PBY-5, except for installation of British armament. The name Catalina had been used by Consolidated for their commercial sales prior to the British order, and was eventually adopted by the US Navy on October 1, 1941.

Initial deliveries of the Royal Air Force's Catalinas began in early 1941 and these entered service with No. 209 and No. 240 squadrons of Coastal Command. In all, nine squadrons of Coastal Command were equipped with the Catalina, as were an additional 12 squadrons overseas. The total acquisition was approximately 700 spread over the following designations: Catalina Mk I, Mk IA (PBY-5A amphibian in RCAF service only), Mk IB, Mk II, Mk III, Mk IVB (Canadian built PBY-5, the PB2B-1), Mk IV, and Mk VI (a PBN-1 style tall tail version built in Canada). The Catalina Mk Vs, which would have been PBN-1s, were cancelled.

The RAF also acquired a former Soviet Navy GST which landed in Cyprus in November 1941, although it probably was not used before it was beached in a gale at Aboukir in February 1943.

In British service, the Catalina was fitted with .303 machineguns, typically a Vickers K in the bow and Browning Model 1919 in the waist. Some received the Leigh light to aid anti-submarine warfare by night.

Royal Air Force

 United States[edit]

United States Navy
United States Army Air Forces


Civilian operators[edit]


Ansett Flying Boat Services
Trans Australia Airlines

1 ex-Cathay Pacific/Macau Air Transport Company CBY-5A (acquired from United States Army Air Forces via RCAF) used from 1962-1966


Between 1940 and 1945, five ex-RAF aircraft were used by Qantas for a Ceylon to Perth service.


Aero Geral
Cruzeiro do Sul
Panair do Brasil
Paraense Transportes Aéreos
TABA – Transportes Aéreos Bandeirantes
VASD – Viação Aérea Santos Dumont


The following PBY-5A are listed with Transport Canada[25]

Canadian Warplane Heritage
David Dorosh
Exploits Valley Air Services
Fondation Aerovision Quebec
Pacific Flying Boats



 Republic of China[edit]

China Airlines

China Airlines was funded by two PBY-5A. At least one of the PBY was transferred from the Republic of China Air Force. it operates PBY-5A from 1959 to 1966. One of the aircraft was abandoned in 1962, while the other one was operated until 1966.[26]

TransAsia Airways

TransAsia Airways operates at least two PBY-5A from 1951 to 1958. One of the PBY was damaged by the strike of Typhoon at Taipei. The other PBY was missing while flying from Matsu Islands to Taipei.

 Hong Kong[edit]

Cathay Pacific Airways/Macau Air Transport Company 1946-1961

2 ex-United States Army Air Force/Royal Canadian Air Force CBY-5A with one lost to crash in 1948


Garuda Indonesian Airways

From KLM Interinsulair Bedrijf, operated 1950-1953

 New Zealand[edit]

When Tasman Empire Airways TEAL was expanding post-war an ex-RNZAF Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4035 was acquired as a crew training aircraft in late 1947 as ZK-AMI. This was returned to the military in November 1948. A second PB2B-1 Catalina, NZ4038, was civilianised as ZK-AMP in December 1948 and used as a survey aircraft to establish the Auckland-Suva, Suva-Satupuala(W Samoa), Samoa-Aitutaki(Cooks), Cooks-Tahiti sector, later famous as the 'Coral Route'. This aircraft was returned to the RNZAF in 1951.


Líneas Aéreas de Transporte Nacional (LATN) operated two PBY-5As during the late 1950s and the early 1960s. They were registered ZP-CBA and ZP-CBB. ZP-CBB was destroyed in an accident in the Paraguay River in Asunción in 1957, killing its pilot LtCol. Leo Nowak. ZP-CBA was transferred to the FAP in the early 1970s. In the 1980s it was reserialed as FAP2002.


Amphibian Airways, a Philippines-registered airlines operated PBY OA-10A in the late 1940s in the Philippines and Burma.


CVG Ferrominera Orinoco[27][28]

 United Kingdom[edit]


Between 1940 and 1945, two ex-RAF aircraft were used by BOAC for a Poole to Lagos service.

Caribbean International Airways Ltd. was operating Catalina passenger service between Grand Cayman, a current UK overseas territory, and both Tampa, Florida and Kingston, Jamaica in 1952.[29]

 United States[edit]

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines utilized Super Catalina aircraft during the late 1960s to serve destinations in Alaska that did not have airports.[30]

Alaska Coastal Airlines

This airline and its Catalina aircraft were acquired by Alaska Airlines in 1968.

Antilles Air Boats

Operated Super Catalina aircraft in the Caribbean during the 1970s serving San Juan, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and other destinations.[31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Histarmar website, Consolidated Catalina page (retrieved 2015-01-24)
  2. ^ a b Wilson, Stewart (1994). Military Aircraft of Australia. Weston Creek, Australia: Aerospace Publications. p. 216. ISBN 1875671080.
  3. ^ Deployment and retrieval of Australian Hoehn folboats during the Pacific War, Hoehn 2011, pp.2, 66, 69, 70.
  4. ^ A24 Consolidated PBY Catalina, RAAF Museum
  5. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, pp. 25-26
  6. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, p. 49
  7. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, p. 50
  8. ^ a b Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, p. 67
  9. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, p. 68
  10. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, pp. 24-25
  11. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, p. 27
  12. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, p. 28
  13. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, p. 31
  14. ^ Kostenuk and Griffin, 1977, p. 55
  15. ^ The aircraft operation history ROCAF
  16. ^ The first aircraft of China airlines, News of China Airlines
  17. ^ Hagedorn (1993)
  18. ^ Schrøder, Hans (1991). "Royal Danish Airforce". Ed. Kay S. Nielsen. Tøjhusmuseet, 1991, p. 1–64. ISBN 87-89022-24-6.
  19. ^ [1]
  20. ^ [2]
  21. ^ Consolidated PBY5a Catalina article at the Kiwi Aircraft Images website
  22. ^ Becker (1991) p.117
  23. ^, August 12, 2016 El museo del Aire finalizo la restauracion de su avion anfibio PBY Catalina
  24. ^ Taylor, Michael J.H., ed. "GST Catalina." Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. New York: Crescent, 1993. p. 453. ISBN 0 517 10316 8.
  25. ^ Canadian Civil Aircraft Register: Quick Search Result
  26. ^ China Airlines PBY-5A Airplane Model, China airlines
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^, May 1952 Caribbean International Airlines timetable
  30. ^, June 1, 1969 Alaska Airlines system timetable
  31. ^, photos of Super Catalina aircraft operated by Antilles Air Boats


  • Becker, Dave (1991). On Wings of Eagles: South Africa's Military Aviation History. Durban: Walker-Ramus. ISBN 0-947478-47-7.
  • Creed, Roscoe. PBY: The Catalina Flying Boat. Annapolis, MD: US Naval Institute Press, 1986. ISBN 0-87021-526-4
  • Crocker, Mel. Black Cats and Dumbos: WW II's Fighting PBYs. Crocker Media Expressions, 2002. ISBN 0-9712901-0-5
  • Dorney, Louis B. US Navy PBY Catalina Units of the Pacific War. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1-84176-911-8
  • Hagedorn, Dan. 1993. Central American and Caribbean Air Forces. Air-Britain. ISBN 0-85130-210-6
  • Hendrie, Andrew. Flying Cats: The Catalina Aircraft in World War II. Annapolis, MD: US Naval Institute Press, 1988. ISBN 0-87021-213-3
  • Hoehn, John. (2011). Commando Kayak: The Australian Folboat, Pacific Campaign. & . ISBN 978-3-033-01717-7
  • Kinzey, Bert. PBY Catalina in Detail & Scale. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 2000. ISBN 1-888974-19-2
  • Knott, Richard C. Black Cat Raiders of World War II. Annapolis, MD: US Naval Institute Press, 2000. ISBN 1-55750-471-7
  • Kostenuk, S. and J. Griffin. RCAF Squadron Histories and Aircraft: 1924–1968. Toronto: Samuel Stevens, Hakkert & Company, 1977. ISBN 0-88866-577-6.
  • Legg, David. Consolidated PBY Catalina: The Peacetime Record. Annapolis, MD: US Naval Institute Press, 2002. ISBN 1-55750-245-5
  • Ragnarsson, Ragnar. US Navy PBY Catalina Units of the Atlantic War. Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2006. ISBN 1-84176-910-X
  • Scarborough, William E. PBY Catalina in Action (Aircraft number 62). Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1983. ISBN 0-89747-149-0
  • Scarborough, William E. PBY Catalina - Walk Around. Carrollton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1996. ISBN 0-89747-357-4
  • Wagner, Ray. The Story of the PBY Catalina (Aero Biographies Volume 1). San Diego, California: Flight Classics, 1972.

Further reading[edit]