Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (H.A.R.S.)

Home of the Consolidated PBY Catalina - VH-PBZ

by Anonymous

History of the HARS Catalina

The Catalina operated and maintained by the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society, was purchased in 2002 in Portugal where it had been operated as a water bomber under Chilean registration, and was flown to Australia in September 2003.

The aircraft is a PBY-6A model, built in 1945 by Consolidated at its New Orleans plant, c/n 2043 and delivered to the US Navy. It was later sold as surplus to the Aircraft Instrument Corporation and placed on the US Civil Register as N9562C. It was later transferred to Chile and flew with several companies until placed in storage in 1960 for twenty years. It was retrieved from storage and began operations as a water bomber with registration CC-CCS. Whilst in service fire fighting the aircraft sank in Lago Guitierrez, Argentina on the 27th of January, 1986. It was salvaged, rebuilt and back in service in 1988. In 1991 it was ferried across the Atlantic for operation by the Spanish land management department ICONA. Subsequently it went on charter to Aerocondor in Portugal.

HARS intends to restore the Catalina to conform as closely as possible to the configuration of the famous RAAF "Black cats" of World War II. The RAAF "Black Cats" were pure flying boats, enabling long range and maximum possible loads with extended water take offs. The Society's PBY-6A ia an amphibian (with retractable wheels) for taxiing to our workshop, the only practical way to maintain the aircraft, but once fully restored, in flight with wheels retracted, it will resemble the original "Black Cats" very closely.

The incredible versatility of the Catalina was demonstrated most during World War II. The Society's exhibit will proudly represent the "Black Cat" squadrons of the RAAF and will be a fitting tribute to the 239 Australian airmen who lost their lives undertaking hazardous bombing and mine laying missions both at night and in daylight, and always at very low altitudes. These activities caused significant disruptions to the Japanese supply lines particularly with oil and essential military cargoes by the destruction of their shipping. Because of their long range capability they proved to be excellent reconnaissance aircraft. Their most notable activity in this capacity was in the shadowing of the Japanese Naval Force just prior to the Coral Sea Battle. In all, The RAAF had a total of 166 Catalina aircraft.

Even after the outbreak of war, Qantas took delivery of nineteen Catalinas between January and October 1941. They were to convey important persons as passengers traveling overseas. Their most notable route was the 'Double Sunrise Service' direct from Perth to Ceylon. it was the only form of personnel transport between Australia, Europe and America during the war.

Catalinas continued in passenger service after the war linking many of the Pacific islands with Australia. The last Qantas flying boat service was a Catalina New Guinea flight on July 24th, 1958 using VH-EBD. New Guinea services were then taken over by TAA using two amphibian PBY-5As acquired from Canada. The undercarriage and hydraulics were removed to increase payload.

Several other airlines, including Ansett, employed Catalinas in the 1950's and 1960's for brief periods on island work. It was disappointing that none were preserved in flying condition and that an airworthy example has had to be purchased overseas at a great expense.

(taken directly from the Official HARS Website)

Consolidated PBY Catalina - VH-PBZ Fact Sheet (Based on PB2B-2, PBY-5, PBY-6)


Consolidated PBY Catalina - 2 Step Planing Hull, Retractable Floats

Length 19.45 metres 63 ft 10 in
Wing Span 31.7 metres 104 ft
Height 6.14 metres 20 ft 2 in
Maximum Take Off Weight
   • Military
   • Civillian
15,900 kg
12,700 kg
35,000 lbs
28,000 lbs
Maximum Landing Weight
   • Rough Water
   • Unfaired Nose
12,700 kg  
12,380 kg
12,250 kg
28,000 lbs  
27,300 lbs
27,000 lbs
Draught (@ 27,000 lbs) 0.8 metres 2 ft 9 in
Airborne Speed (@ 27,000 lbs) 120 km/h 75 mph (65 knots)
Climb Speed 165 km/h 103 mph (90 knots)
Cruise Speed 213 km/h 132 mph (115 knots)
Landing Speed 138 km/h 86 mph (75 knots)
Stall Speed (floats up) 84 km/h 52 mph (45 knots)
Normal Fuel Capacity 5,900 litres 1,460 Imp. gallons
Engine Oil Capacity (usable each engine) 220 litres 54 Imp. gallons
Maximum Range 5,670 kms 3,450 miles (3060 Nm)
Maximum Endurance Longest non-stop flight 31 hr 45 min
Maximum Cruise Altitude 7,620 metres 25,000 ft
Ceiling 5,520 metres   18,100 ft
Passengers 14 airline configuration - up to 28 charter


2 twin row 14 cylinder Pratt & Whitney 1830-92 radial engines
Maximum Power (at take off) 895 kW 1,200 hp
Take Off Power Setting 2,700 RPM and 48" manifold pressure
Cruise Power Setting 1,850 - 2,050 RPM and 30" manifold pressure
Supercharger Single Speed
Fuel Consumption (per engine cruise) 105 - 135 litres/hr 28 - 35 gallons/hr
Maximum Oil Consumption 2 litres/hr 0.5 gallons/hr
Overhaul Life 1000 hours


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