|Catalina VR-BPS carried Second World War RAF markings during its time on the airshow circuit.|
|The Catalina has the distinction of being the most produced
flying boat in history, due completely to its selection by the US Navy
for its maritime patrol role.
The first aircraft, the XP3Y-1, flew on March 21, 1935 amd more than 4,000 were built in both flying boat abd amphibian versions during the next ten years, earning a legendary reputation for its tough construction. The Soviet Union acquired three and produced its own version, the GST, with M62 engines.
The Royal Air Force acquired its first aircraft in 1939, naming it Catalina, a name which was then taken up in the US. The PBY-5A was introduced in December 1939 with a retractable undercarriage, named Canso by the Royal Canadian Air Force. A tall fin version was also produced.
After the Second World War many Cats were operated by smaller airlines but as the flying boat gradually faded from the scene these were either passed to museums or operated by firebomber companies. Today, the Cat is a popular warbird and flies on in the US and the UK.