Last updated 17 July 2023

Civil Catalinas imported from overseas by Australian operators

Compiled by Geoff Goodall

Ansett Flying Boat Services' Catalina VH-BRI, seen at Essendon during a promotional visit in 1959 prior to entering service
on the tropical Great Barrier Reef.  This PBY-5A was a modified "Remmert Werner Super Consolidated 28" model.

Photo by Lindsay Wise

            Early post-war civil Catalina operations in Australia and New Guinea, covered in Part 1, were confined to civil modifications of RAAF disposals aircraft.  From 1953 foreign-registered Catalinas began appearing in Australia for specific tasks, and some of these took up Australian registrations. This section covers these Catalina imports, listed in order of their arrival in Australia or Papua New Guinea, which was Australian-administered until 1975.

             Canso A             c/n CV-359                                                                                         CF-GKI, VH-AGB

Built by Canadian Vickers Ltd at Montreal, Quebec to Royal Canadian Air Force order as a Canso A.  C/n CV-359
Brought on charge by RCAF as Canso A 11055
Struck-off RCAF charge. Retired, amoing klarge numbers of RCAF Catalins offered for civil disposal
Purchased by The Babb Co (Canada) Ltd, Montreal Quebec

Charles E. Babb was an established aircraft sales dealer prewar in USA, specialising in sales to overseas countries including to RAAF in Australia. The business grew during the post-war military disposal sales, to become a leading sales agency, selling bulk disposals aircraft to foreign air forces and civilian buyers. With bases in New York and Grand Central Air Terminal in Los Angeles, the Babb Co established a Canadian associate company to handle large scale purchases of RCAF disposal aircraft.
Change of ownership:  Photographic Survey Co Ltd, Toronto, Ontario
Change fo ownership: Kenting Aviation Ltd, Toronto, Ontario
Converted for civil use and modified for aerial photographic survey. Later fitted with magnetometer gear for aeromagnetic survey.
Registered CF-GKI-X Kenting Aviation Ltd, Toronto
The experimental -X suffix was for intial test flying of the survey modifications
Re-registered CF-GKI
Operated on aerial survey work by Kenting Aviation on behalf of Photographic Survey Co Ltd, an association which was to continue into the 1970s.
departed Toronto for New Guinea for survey contract for Australiasian Petroleum Co Pty Ltd (APC).
APC had been exploring for oil in Papua and New Guinea since 1938 using floatplanes to support its exploration teams and drilling camps in remote areas.
This contract was between APC and Aeromagnetic Surveys Limited, Toronto, Canada, associates of Hunting Geophysics Ltd who in turn were associates of Kenting Aviation Ltd.
The survey included aeromagnetic recording of run lines spaced mostly 4 miles apart covering Kikori River, Fly River and
In addition to the Catalina's F.24 photogrphic camera installation was to be used to create topographical mapping of the survey areas. Two 35mm cine cameras were used to track the survey runs, one running continuously and one fired over ‘pinpoints’, all correlated to magnetometer records.
CF-GKI arrived Darwin NT
CF-GKI arrived at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
commenced aeromagnetic survey along the Kikori River, New Guinea.
completed the APC New Guinea survey. A total of 59 days of which 44 were operational. The aeromagnetic traverse lines were spaced 4 miles apart and covered Kikori River, Fly River and areas of Torres Strait and Cape York.

APC provided all fuel, food, provisions to the Catalina aircrew, and accommodation on house boats on the Kikori and huts in other areas.
CF-GKI was parked at Cairns Qld before departing to Netherlands New Guinea to conduct a similar oil survey for Shell Petroleum
CF-GKI routed via London-Croydon Airport on ferry back to Canada
noted at Dublin en route Canada
CofA renewed in Canada, total airframe time 4,879 hrs
Change of ownership: Hunting Aero Surveys Ltd, London, Great Britain

To be operated by their Australian associate Adastra Hunting Geophysics Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW.
This company was founded in 1954 as a joint operation of Adastra Aerial Surveys, Sydney and Hunting Geophysics Ltd, London to search for areas of minerals. Their first aircraft was Percival Prince G-AMLW fitted with scintillometer survey gear, which became VH-AGF.
Canadian DoT approval granted 21.9.56 for CF-GKI to be ferried to Australia, including a one-off takeoff from Gander at 2,440 lb in excess of certified gross weight for Atlantic crossing via the Azors.
CF-GKI arrived Sydney late October 1956 on delivery from Canada by a Canadian crew from Kenting Aviation, Captain Jim Greenshields. Fitted with magneter tail stinger with "bird" sensor on a long cable which could be rolled out and trailed below the aircraft in flight
noted at Mascot, engine runs outside Adastra hangar, painted as VH-AGB with titles along the fuselage "Adastra Hunting Geophysics"
Registered VH-AGB: Adastra Hunting Geophysics, Sydney NSW

Based at Sydney-Mascot where maintenance was carried out at the Adastra Aerial Surveys hangar.
This Catalina operated all over Australia on mineral survey contracts
Departed Mascot on first Australian survey contract, to Charleville & Cloncurry for magnetometer work, then jobs at Canberra & Dubbo.  Returned to Mascot in late Janaury 1957
retired at Mascot.
Change of ownership: Trans Australian Airlines, Melbourne Vic
Purchased as a parts source for TAA's new Catalina VH-SBV ferried from Hong Kong for New Guinea services. VH-SBV was having its Australian CofA inspection at Bankstown by Bristol Aviation Services.
Ferried from Mascot to Bankstown Airport, Sydney by Adastra seniior pilot Ted McKenzie and TAA pilot John Semmler (from TAA New Guinea Catalinas). The aircraft had been made airworthy for the short ferry flight, but they had an emergency runaway propeller enroute.         
VH-AGB inside Bristol hangar, behind VH-SBV which was stripped for inspection
Parked outside Bristol hangar, engines removed. Faded "Adastra Hunting Geophysics" titles.
Hawker de Havilland Australia took over Bristol Aviation Services later that year
By now had been towed across the airfield and parked outside Hawker de Havilland's military maintenance works. Alongside was abandoned TAA Bristol Freighter AP-AMK
Sold to Australian Aircraft Sales Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
Included in the purchase of TAA Catalina VH-SBV at Port Moresby. Both were acquired by AAS for parts only.
Struck-off Civil Aircraft Register
noted unmoved in open storage at HdeH works Bankstown
Broken-up for scrap at Bankstown Airport NSW
Sections moved byroad to a scrap metal dealer's yard in the Sydney suburb Caringbah

CF-GKI at Cairns Qld during the 1953 New Guinea survey visit.  Note the Kenting Aviation titles and the
engine maintenance gantry suspended below the port P&W R-1830.          Paul Howard collection

CF-GKI at Jefmanbij Sorong, Dutch New Guinea during the 1953 survey, parked next to a KLM passenger DC-3
Paul Howard collection

CF-GKI returned to Australia in October 1956, seen at Sydney on delivery to Adastra Hunting Geophysics.
John Hopton collection

Now registered VH-AGB, at Hobart-Cambridge, Tasmania in 1958 with an Adastra Hudson behind.
Note the magnetometer stinger tail boom and mineral detection aerial arrangement.
Photo by Norm Weeding

This view at Cambridge 1958 shows the wingspan and the magnetometer "bird" cradled under the rear fuselage
Photo by Norm Weeding

This view shows the name Adastra-Hunting Geophysics on the fuselage.                   Ben Dannecker collection

Retired engineless outside the Bristol Aviation Services hangar at Bankstown on a rainy day in May 1963
Photo by Geoff Goodall

               PBY-5A               c/n 1660                                                                                                               N68753, VH-WWB

Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at San Diego CA as production PBY-5A to US Navy order
Consolidated c/n 1660, Hull Number 1830.
Brought on charge by US Navy as PBY-5A Bu46466
Registered N68753 Southern California Aircraft Corp, Ontario CA
US Civil Aircfat Register quoted id. "180"

Thomas W. Kendall established this company which purchased approx 30 military disposals Catalinas for civil conversion and resale. Various modifications were devised, resulting in the ultimate Landseaire air yacht with P&W R1830-92 or  -75 engines, most of which were delivered with luxury interiors. By the 1960s a group of unsold Catalinas in faded military schemes remained stored in the SoCal compound at Ontario Airport California.
Change of ownership: A-F Helicopters Inc, San Fernando CA
Operated by associate company World Wide Air Services Inc, Milford, Connecticut
WWAS and its associate company World Wide Helicopters were contracted by Australasian Petroleum Co to provide helicopter and seaplane support for widespread oil search activities in Papua New Guinea

Australian associate company was formed World Wide Air Services Pty Ltd, PO Box 319, Port Moresby.
Managing Director Arn L. Simarlidason, General Manager Frank N. Minjoy.
WWAS operated the following aircraft in New Guinea under US registrations, those still in use in 1956 were transferred to Australian registrations in the VH-WW series:
Bell 47B N101B, N112B
Bell 47D N158B, N161B, N183B, N4927V
Sikorsky S-58B N871, N885, N886, N887
RC-3 Seabee N6213K
Catalinas N68753, N68766, N94574  (another N4938V reportedly used in PNG, but not confimed)

Australian aircraft engineer Bruce Evans was working for Qantas in New Guinea prior to joining WWAS in New Guinea in 1956. He later went on to a long career in helicopters, establishing the large company Helitrans in New Guinea and Cairns, founding third level operator Sunbird Airlines and managing night freight operations Country Courier and Bank Air. Following his death in Cairns, Queensland in April 1999, an obituary in the newspaper Cairns Post included the following:
"Later he joined World Wide Helicopters as chief engineer on its Catalina amphibious operations which took him to Bangladesh and Libya on air support for sismic survey work and oil drilling in the Sahara Desert. Also to Doha, India, Pakistan, Borneo, Dutch New Guinea.  Early in his World Wide career he learn to fly helicopters and fixed wing. Bruce Evans and another Cairns-based helicopter pilot Frank Minjoy, who died in 1996, went to the United States where they jointly pioneered the use of helicopters in heavy construction like erecting ski lift towers and power transmission lines."
N68753 arrived at Port Moresby on delivery from USA.
This was the first of three WWAS Catalina to be based Port Moresby: see next two entries
Registered VH-WWB: Australasian Petroleum Co, operated by World Wide Air Services Pty Ltd,
Port Moresby

Operated in New Guinea with 3 crew and side-saddle seating for up to 34 passengers
Australian pilot Dave Darbyshire recalls joining World Wide Helicopters at Port Moresby in 5.56 to fly VH-WWB. He recalled a second WWAS Catalina from the Bay of Bengal survey project later arriving at Port Moresby. Australians Frank Minjoy and Bob Wilson managed the New Guinea operation
Struck an object and sank, water landing Kikori River, Papua New Guinea

DCA accident report: "The aircraft landed on an authorised landing area, suffered a violent decelaration, water-looped to port and sank on a mud bank.The accident was due to the failure of the hull for reasons undetermined."

WWAS did not have an immediste replacement because their second Catalina at Port Moresby N94574 was out of service being fitted with aerial survey modifications for a contract in Pakistan covering the Bay of Bengal

                   PBY-5A         c/n 1449                                                                                                                 N94574

Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at San Diego CA as production PBY-5A to US Navy order.
Consolidated c/n 1449, Hull Number 1619.

US Navy as PBY-5A Bu48257
Registered N68744 Southern California Aircraft Corp, Ontario CA
US Civil Aircraft Register quoted id. 1619
Sold to Israeli Air Force as 3403.
One of three PBY-5As acquired by Israeli Air Force. They were operated by 103 Squadron on coastal patrols.
All three were retired and in January 1955 tranferred to Bedek Aircraft Ltd (forerunner of Israeli Aircraft Industries) for disposal.
Reregistered N94574 Bahamas Helicopters Inc
Operated by associate companies World Wide Air Services and World Wide Helicopters
Overhaul and civilian conversion by Bedek Aircraft Ltd at Lydda, Israel. All white with red trim on nose and tail.
based in Karachi on a large scale oil survey of Bay of Bengal, flown by Australian Frank Minjoy
ferried from Karachi to Port Moresby by Frank Minjoy to replace VH-WWB

N94574 based at Port Moresby, operating for Australasian Petroleum Co.
Withdrawn from service for maintenance prior to returning to the Bay of Bengal survey contract
Departed Port Moresby on ferry to Rotterdam, Netherlands, flown by Bob Wilson, the WWAS New Guinea manager.
At Rotterdam additional survey equipment was installed, then N94574 was ferried to Pakistan to join two other WWAS Catalinas on an oil survey in the Bay of Bengal.
Bob Wilson was replaced by Frank Minjoy as WWAS Manager for New Guinea operations.
N94574 refuelled at Aden, en route to Karachi
N94574 visited Hong Kong-Kai Tak, painted over all ivory with red tail and red nose trim
N94574 change of ownership: A-F Helicopters Inc, San Fernando CA
Catalinas N94574 and N4938V refuelled at Bahrain, en route Toussus-le-Noble, Paris
Catalinas N94574 and N4938V noted at Paris-Toussus-le-Noble, parked outside
Struck-off US Civil Register as sold to Netherlands
N94574 advertised for sale: located Rotterdam, "floats well"
Registered G-APZA T. D. Keegan & partners, Southend

Keegan was an aircraft broker who operated several British independent airlines including Transmeridian Air Cargo, British United Air Ferries, British Air Ferries.
Arrived Southend from Rotterdam. Reportedly purchased only for engines and parts.

No British CofA application
Struck-off British Register
Broken-up for scrap at Southend

Two poor quality images of N94574 in Israel 1956 after civil conversion by Bedek Aircraft,
being collected by an Australian ferry crew. N94574 can be read in the original photograph.

Three years after New Guinea service, N94574 was retired at Southend, England re-registered G-APZA.
The World Wide Air Services "WW" motif remains on the nose.                   Photo by Brian Doherty

              PBY-5A             c/n 1685                                                                                                       N68766, VH-WWC

Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at San Diego CA as production PBY-5A to US Navy order
Consolidated c/n 1685, Hull Number 1859
First flight
Brought on charge US Navy as PBY-5A Bu46495
Issued ex Consolidated to Annapolis Naval Air Station, Maryland
Registered N68766 Southern California Aircraft Corp, Ontario CA
US Civil Aircraft Register quoted id. "1859".
Change of ownership: A-F Helicopters Inc, San Fernando CA

Operated by associate companies World Wide Air Services and World Wide Helicopters
N68766 noted at Glendale, California, civil paint scheme, modified civilian bow, rear fuselage blisters

WWAS and its associate company World Wide Helicopters were contracted by Australasian Petroleum Co to provide helicopter and seaplane support for widespread oil search activities in Papua New Guinea
Based at Port Moresby operated by World Wide Air Services Pty Ltd for Australasian Petroleum Co
Struck-off US Civil Register as sold to Papua New Guinea
Registered VH-WWC Australasian Petroleum Co, Port Moresby PNG, operated by WWAS 
Change of ownership: Trans Australia Airlines, Melbourne Vic.

In 1961 an Australian Government review of airline services allocated New Guinea internal services previously operated by Qantas Empire Airways to the state-owned airline TAA. To provide services to certain coastal towns and islands without an airfield, TAA resumed Catalina operations discontinued by QEA in 1958 (see Part 1)
Departed Port Moresby on first TAA revenue service, to Samarai. Captain T. Blythe (ex WWAS), Captain John Simmler and First officer Ivan East
Crashed during water landing and sank in 15 feet of water, Daru PNG.
Crew reported that they struck a submerged object on alighting.
The 5 crew and 6 passengers sustained only minor injuries. Captain T. Blythe had 2,400 hours experience on Catalinas. The mail sacks were saved.

DCA accident report: "Whilst alighting during gusty crosswind conditions, a wave submerged the port wingtip and the aircraft swung violently . The hull was damaged and the aircraft sank."

Written-off, not salvaged

As an urgent replacement, TAA purchased Catalina VR-HDH in Hong Kong, which became VH-SBV

World Wide Air Services VH-WWC in 1958 on the wartime flying boat slipway on Port Moresby harbour.
Photo: Ben Dannecker collection

A rare picture of VH-WWC in TAA markings, colours unknown                      Photo courtesy Ian Mackenzie

VH-WWC sunk at Daru PNG on 26 April 1962.                                  Photo courtesy Ian Mackenzie

              PBY-5A             c/n 1735    Remert Werner Super Consolidated 28         Golden Islander             VH-BRI
Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at San Diego CA as production PBY-5A to US Navy order
Production PBY-5A to US Navy order. Consolidated C/n 1565, Hull No. 1735
First flight
US Navy as PBY-5A Bu48373

Registered N10018
US Civil Aircraft Register quoted id. "Bu48373"

Operated as an air yacht for a US businessman for fishing and hunting trips in the Great Lakes and Canada
Reregistered N95R Beldex Corp, trading as Remmert Werner Inc, St Louis Missouri

Remmert Werner was a leading US aircraft maintenance operation, specialising in modifications to military disposals aircraft to improve performance or conversions for the executive market. Remmert-Werner offered a range of upgrades to Beech 18 models.

N95R was rebuilt at St Louis by Remmert Werner as their passenger model Super Consolidated 28.
Modifications included exececutive interior, comfortable seating, rear airstair.
Depending on seating configuration, could carry up to 22 passengers.
Beldex report this sale to Ansett Flying Boat Services, Australia

Ansett Transport Industries Managing Director Reginald Ansett personally backed the Catalina venture to promote tourism to the ATI owned Hayman Island holiday resort on the Great Barrier Reef.
Registered VH-BRI Ansett Transport Industries Pty Ltd, Melbourne Vic
Departed St Louis MO on delivery flight to Australia, painted as VH-BRI in Ansett Flying Boat Services scheme. Painted on the tail was "Super Consolidated 28 by Remmert Werner".
Delivery crew was Captain Stewart C. Middlemiss (founder of Barrier Reef Airways and now Manager of Ansett Flying Boat Services, Sydney), Captain Lloyd Maundrell, Navigator E.W. "Pat" Adams and engineer R.Bush.

Delivery route was via El Paso TX, San Francisco CA, Honolulu HI, Canton Island, Nandi Fiji, Tontouta New Caledonia to Sydney.
VH-BRI refuelled at Nadi Airport, Fiji enroute to Australia.
Arrived at Sydney Airport. ATI Managing Director Reginald Ansett was there to greet them.
Ferried to Rose Bay Flying Boat Base in Sydney Harbour for Australian certification inspection

Ansett Flying Boat Services was based at Rose Bay, operating Short Sandringhams to Lord Howe Island.
AFBS was administratively part of Ansett-ANA associate Airlines of NSW under Manager Stewart C. Middlemiss
Christened Golden Islander in a ceremony at Rose Bay prior to entering passenger service based Mackay, Queensland. The following week it commenced Mackay-Hayman Island services, 4 flights per week, taxying up a ramp to the Hayman Island Hotel
Inaugural service Proserpine-Hayman Island-Proserpine.
Based at Proserpine Airport, which Ansett had developed to handle Ansett-ANA Convair 440s. Holiday-makers from southern ports transferred to the Catalina for the short flight to Hayman Island, landing on the lagoon at the resort.
The Catalina also connected with some Ansett-ANA airline services at Mackay Airport
At peak tourist seasons, VH-BRI operated 5 return flights daily Proserpine-Hayman Island, 4 days each week.
Withdrawn from service during the tourist low season for a major overhaul at Rose Bay, during which the engines were changed from original Pratt & Whitney R1830 Twin Wasps to the more powerful P&W R2000 Twin Wasps (as fitted to the Ansett-ANA DC-4 fleet).
Ownership tranferred to Ansett Flying Boat Services Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
sank overnight at moorings at Hayman Island Qld
Struck-off Register

Salvaged and moved ashore. Insurance write-off

Fuselage acquired by Vic O'Hara, Prosperpine Qld. 
The hull was
rebuilt as a houseboat, utilising the PBY-5A retractable undercarriage to allow it to be towed up boat ramps.  When completed, the houseboat was named Henrietta Hoh
Houseboat Henrietta Hoh based at Shute Harbour, Qld. Often parked on its wheels at an inlet near Shute Harbour tourist boat terminal. 
Houseboat reporedly sold to a new owner at Home Hill Qld

 VH-BRI at Melbourne-Essendon soon after delivery from USA.                       John Hopton Collection

PR picture at Essendon, showing the Catalina's integral rear airstair, similar to the Ansett-ANA Convair 340s and 440s.
The happy holiday-makers look suspiciously like Ansett office staff seconded for the photo shoot.
Via Barry Pattison collection

Rose Bay flying boat base, Sydney Harbour in 1961.                                         Photo by Neville Parnell

VH-BRI sank overnight while moored at Hayman Island July 1962.                                Barry Pattison collection 

After the sinking the Catalina was beached at Shute Harbour while having engines and useful parts removed.
Andrew Carlile collection

VH-BRI's hull with undercarriage was used to build this houseboat "Henrietta Ho".
Seen at Shute Harbour, Qld in August 1990.                   Photo by Geoff Goodall

               OA-10A          c/n CV-592                                                                                                                VH-SBV

Built by Canadian Vickers Ltd at Montreal, Quebec as model PBV-1A Catalina to US Navy order. C/n CV-592

US Navy as PBV-1A Bu68045: not delivered
Transferred to USAAF as OA-10A 44-34081
Issued to USAAF Far East Air Force, Manila
Retired at Clark Field, Philippines. Stored pending disposal with large numbers of US miltary aircraft
Sold by US Foreign Liquidation Commission to Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong

This airline had just been established on 23.9.46 by pilots American Roy Farrell and Australian Sydney DeKantzow, tco-founders of Roy Farrell Import-Export Co, which operated freighter C-47s from Hong Kong, including a regular run to Sydney, Australia.

Ferried to Kai Tak airfield, Hong Kong. Parked pending civil conversion
Registered VR-HDH Cathay Pacific Airways, Hong Kong
Change of ownership: Macau Air Transport Co, Hong Kong

Established in 1948 by Cathay Pacifric Airways to operate passenger and freight services with Catalinas, mainly between Hong Kong and Macau.
Sold to Trans Australian Airlines, Port Moresby PNG as a replacement for VH-WWC which crashed and sank at Daru, Papua New Guinea 26.4.62
VR-HDH departed Hong Kong on delivery flight to Australia. Refuelling stops were Manila, Davao, Koror, Wewak, Port Moresby, Townsville, Mackay, Brisbane, Sydney.
TAA ferry crew was Captain John Simler, First Officer Ivan East, Navigator Captain T.R.Bennett and
Fight Engineer J. Clarke.
Refuelled at Port Moresby on the ferry flight. Painted in TAA Sunbird Service blue and yellow scheme but registration VR-HDH. 
Arrived Sydney-Bankstown from Brisbane

Overhaul at Sydney-Bankstown by Bristol Aviation Services, for issue of Australian CofA and modifications for TAA passenger service.  New rear fuselage blisters were installed for passenger viewing, the original blisters having been removed by Macau Air Transport.
Registered VH-SBV Trans Australian Airlines, Port Moresby Papua New Guinea
Departed Bankstown on delivery to Port Moresby where it would be based. Ferry crew was TAA Captains John Simler and Garth Roche, Flight Engineer J. Clarke.
Arrived Port Moresby. Entered TAA passenger service 5.11.62.

Landing gear was removed to increase the payload. Based at Port Moresby Marine base operating TAA passenger and freight services to coastal towns and islands
VH-SBV departed Port Morsby on ferry flight to Hong Kong-Kai Tak for major overhaul by HAECO.
Refuelling stops were Manus Island, Guam, Koror, Sangley Point Naval Air Station (Philippines), arrived Hong Kong 19.12.64.
TAA ferry crew was Captains John Simler and R. Goddard, First Officer G. C. Hawkins,
Navigator F/O N. A. Lamont, engineers Peter Braybon and A. Morgan. Flight was delayed enroute:
- Manus Island 2 days due mechanical unserviceability, part flown from Rabaul by Piper Aztec
- Guam 5 days due Tropical Cyclone Opal
- Returned to Guam after departure 14.12.64 due rough running engine. Delayed a further 3 days.
TAA Operations memo quotes acceptance test flights at Hong Kong scheduled for to 30.1.65 with ferry flight to Port Moresby to depart soon after. TAA ferry crew was Captains John Simler and R. J. Fisher,
First Officer G. C. Hawkins, Navigator F/O N. A. Lamont, engineers Peter Braybon and A. Morgan.
Scheduled refuelling stops would be Manila, Palau,Madang, to Port Moresby
TAA announced that its Catalina services were redundant because of airfields constructed at the main ports
Retired on return to Port Moresby from final TAA service Port Moresby-Kareema-Kikori-Port Moresby, Captain John Simler

Stored on the ramp at Port Moresby Marine Base
Change of ownership: Australian Aircraft Sales Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
The sale included TAA's spares Catalina VH-AGB held at Bankstown
Press report that VH-SBV would be flown to Sydney that month for overhaul and sale to a company named Trans Oceanic Investments. Neither event occurred.
Sold to Papuan Airlines, Port Moresby PNG
Purchased for engines and parts. The Catalina's P&W R-1830 engines were the same as used on Patair's DC-3s
Stripped airframe donated by Patair to William G. Chapman/ Territory War Memorial Trust, Pt Moresby   

The donation was based on an undertaking that the Territory War Memorial Trust would recover a USAAF C-47 airframe from Fairfax Station where it made a forced landing during the war.  It is not known what purpose Patair intended for the derelict airframe remains.
(The aircraft was C-47A 42-23959, radio callsign VHCHK over camouflage on tail. It made a forced landing on Fairfax Station near Port Moresby on 14.9.44)
The War Memorial Trust was unable to gain backing for its plans, or facilities to salvage the C-47.
VH-SBV was taken over by Department of Civil Aviation
Mainplanes outboard of the engines removed, aircraft moved from the seaplane base to Jackson Airport at Port Moresby, where left at the fire pracrtice area
noted at Port Moresby Airport, fuselage standing on beaching gear, no engines, outer wings dumped on ground alongside
Acquired by Museum of Transport & Technology, Auckland NZ
By now the airframe was in poor condition with fuselage sections burnt during fire practice.
Wartime historian Mr. Bill Chapman acted as MoTaT's agent in Port Moresby 
Dismantled at Port Moresby by 3 volunteers from MoTaT to prepare for shipping to Auckland on board coastal freighter Capitaine Bougainville.  A However the ship sank off the NZ coast while bound for New Guinea.

MoTaT team report:
"Our first object was to remove the tail unit. This was achieved without too much trouble on the first day. The heat was intense and the putrid smell from an unknown dead animal in the grass nearby did not help. Difficulty was experienced removing wing root bolts and these were gas-axed and removed with a drill. The beaching gear was greased and wire stropped and attached to a bulldozer for towing.  Two front-end loaders were recruited to take the weight at the wing ends - they gently lifted as a team, the hull was gingerly drawn forward an inch at a time until it was clear, when the wing cente-section was lowered on to 44 gallon drums. The Catalina, now in three sections, was moved to a security area.
The hull was flushed out with several hundred gallons of water to remove the filth and other uglies thst had accumulated over the years. Papuan boys assited with painting the hull and the interior was loaded with the ailerons, trailing and leadinge edge wing sections."

VH-SBV was left dismantled at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby while MoTaT arranged alternative sea freight
Shipped from Port Moresby to Auckland. Stored by MoTaT pending restoration project
Acquired by RNZAF Museum, Wigram AB, Christchurch NZ

long-term static restoration began at Whenuapai Air Base, Auckland, later moved to Wigram
fuselage noted at Wigram museum under restoration. By 1.00 fuselage was complete with nose turret
completed fuselage noted inside Wigram museum, work commenced to install rear fuselage blisters

RNZAF Museum plans to complete the aircraft for display in RNZAF wartime markings

Macao Air Transport's Catalina VR-HDH with rear fuselage blisters.        John Hopton Collection

A later view at Kai Tak in the 1950s shows the blisters have been replaced by an upward opening hatch.
"Macao Air Transport" tiles and "MATC" crest under the cockpit.
           John Hopton Collection

During overhaul at Bankstown in 1962, TAA Sunbird Services paintwork but marked as VR-HDH.
Photo: Peter Limon collection

An excellent Eric Allan shot of VH-SBV at Bankstown on comopletion of the overhaul in October 1962.
John Hopton Collection

VH-SBV moored on Port Moresby harbour.                                               Photo: Allan Bovelt collection

On a scheduled service to Samari, Milne Bay.                    Jim Eames via Civil Aviation Historical Society

This delightful colour shot of VH-SBV on the water at Port Moresby was taken by Bruce Potts

With TAA markings painted over, the retired Catalina is dismantled at Port Moresby seaplane base in 1967.
Photo by Allan Bovelt

August 1968 stored at Jacksons Airport, Port Moresby after plans for a museum display were abandoned.
Deterioration from the tropical climate is obvious.                                  Photo by Roger McDonald

The miserable sight of VH-SBV by 1971 at the fire practice ground at Port Moresby Jacksons Airport.
Photo by Ben Dannecker

VH-SBV's dismembered remains in the MoTaT storage yard Auckland July 1977.    Photo by Geoff Goodall

A happy ending as VH-SBV is restored by the RNZAF Museum at Wigram air base, Christchurch NZ.
Phil Vabre's photograph shows the progress by May 2008

               PBY-5A           c/n 1649           Steward-Davis Super Canso                                           CF-JMS, VH-UMS

Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at San Diego CA as production PBY-5A to US Navy order.
Consolidated c/n 1479, Hull no.1649

US Navy as PBY-5A Bu48287
Registered N10017 Trade-Ayer Inc, Linden, New Jersey

A major dealer associate company of Frederick B. Ayer Inc, specialising in military disposals sales
Sold to Genaire Ltd, St Catherines ONT
Canadian CofA issued
Registered CF-JMS Genaire Ltd, St Catherines ONT
Change of ownership: Selco Exploration Co Ltd, Toronto ONT
Operated by Questor Surveys Ltd, Toronto ONT 
Modified to Steward-Davis Super Canso, with enlarged squared tailplane and re-engined with more powerful 1700hp Wright R-2600-20 engines.
During the rebuild, electro-magnetic survey equipment was installed to detect mineral deposits
CF-JMS arrived at Sydney Airport from Canada for an extensive mineral survey contract in Australia.
"Selco Exploration Company" painted on nose. "Super Canso" on tail.
noted at Port Pirie SA painted as VH-UMS
Registered VH-UMS Selco Exploration/ Australian Selection Pty Ltd, Sydney NSW
noted at Leigh Creek SA
noted at Sydney Airport
based in Western Australia
noted at Adelaide-Parafield, all Canadian crew. Parked here until departed 26.8.64
Struck-off Australian Register, exported to Canada
VH-UMS noted parked at Sydney Airport
Repainted as CF-JMS at Sydney Airport, prior to departure on ferry back to Canada
Restored to Canadian Register CF-JMS Barringer Surveys Ltd, Toronto ONT
CF-JMS departed Sydney for Canada
Refuelled at Nadi, Fiji en route to Canada
CF-JMS noted at Vancouver BC, all metal finish, no titles
Change of ownership: Questor Surveys Ltd, Toronto ONT 
nose gear collapsed landing at Rankin Inlet NWT. Damage repaired on site.
Registered N16647 Questor International Surveys Inc, Reno NV
N16647 noted at Toronto ONT, Questor Surveys titles
Registered C-GGDW Questor International Surveys Ltd, Toronto ONT
Canadian CofA renewed
Change of ownership: White River Air Services Ltd, Timmins ONT/
Leased to Austin Airways Ltd, Timmins ONT  
C-GGDW noted at Timmins ONT
Change of ownership: Geoterrex Ltd, Ottawa ONT
C-GGDW noted at Toronto, all metallic, no titles, magnetometer loop and tail boom
C-GGDW noted at Toronto ONT with survey gear
C-GGDW noted at Terra Haute, Indiana "Geoterrex" titles
Leased to Terra Surveys Ltd, Ottawa ONT
Sold to Jack Leavis, Davie, Florida USA
Registered N16647 Jack Leavis, Davie FL
US CofA renewed
N16647 noted at Opa Locka, Florida. Also 3.87
N16647 noted at Opa Locka, FL retired, parked in open, weathered external condition
Change of ownership: Jim Dent/ Air Adventures, Fort Lauderdale FL
Restored at Opa Locka and fitted with military equipment, painted all over black as a US Navy "Black Cat".
Change of ownership: Charles Clements trading as Super Three Inc, Miami FL
Reregistered N287 Charles Clements/ Super Three Inc, Fort Lauderdale FL
N287 noted at Fort Lauderdale FL, all black. Also 13.11.91, 12.96, 9.97
Advertised for sale: fully airworthy on Standard Category able to carry 22 pax, no blisters or nose turret, large cargo door in rear fuselage: price USD 490K
visited Lakeland Florida fly-in, all black, pilot Charlie Clements. He advised the Catalina had just completed a 7 year restoration project at Tamiami FL where it is now based
visited airshow at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, Florida, all black with USN insignia
Change of ownership: Bank of Utah, Salt Lake City UT
Change of ownership: James Cavanaugh trading as Cavanaugh Air LLC, Addison TX
Operated by Cavanaugh Flight Museum, Addison Airport Texas


CF-JMS soon after conversion to Steward-Davis Super Canso, fresh metal work for the rear fuselage hatch.
Photo: Peter Limon collection

VH-UMS at Sydney Airport in July 1964, port side rear hatch open, "Selco Exploration Company" on nose.
Photo by Greg Banfield

VH-UMS attracts attention at Meekatharra WA August 1964.                Photo by Graydon West via Jim Leppitt

A fine colour study of VH-UMS at Adelaide-Parafield in August 1964.                Photo by John M. Smith

CF-JMS at Toronto in January 1967 with no company name.                             Photo by Ian M. Macdonald

              Canso A           c/n 407      SoCal Landseaire                                                                            N68740
42Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at San Diego CA as production Canso A to RCAF order
c/n unknown, Hull No.407
2.11.41Brought on charge by Royal Canadian Air Force as Canso A 9742
Delivered from San Diego to Canada
5.9.46Struck off charge RCAF, offered to disposals
c50Registered N68740 Southern California Aircraft Corp, Ontario CA
US Civil Aircraft Register quotes id. "407"
6.51Rebuilt at Ontario CA as SoCal Landseaire air yacht
54Crocket & Gambogy Inc, Fresno CA
N68740 noted at Ontario CA
N68740 noted at Long Beach CA, executive scheme white, light blue trim, green undersurfaces
63-64Flying Bonefish Inc, Carson City Nevada
66Geraldine Cromack, New York NY
N68740 based at Phoenix-Sky Harbor, Arizona. Private air yacht with boats under the wing both sides
68-71Freeport Indonesia Inc, New York NY

Purchased by this associate of US company Freeport Sulfer Co to carry personnel and supples to a Freeport mining development near Lake Sentani in West Irian (Indonesian western New Guinea). No airstrip was available at that time.
noted at Oakland CA, also 17.9.68
Ferried to Australia to be based at Darwin NT operating a shuttle to Lake Sentani, West Irian.
N68740 noted at Darwin. Pale green with green and yellow trim
noted at Sydney-Bankstown for maintenance by Hawker de Havilland. Departed to Darwin on 27.3.70
The Catalina was replaced by Fairchild FH.27 N228X at Darwin, which flew to Indonesian mining sites
Purchased by Lee Otterson & Bill Farinon, Colusa CA
.72N68740 ferried from Darwin to USA
noted at Oakland CA, also 10.9.72 same pale green paint scheme, reported as immaculate condition.
Also at Oakland 13.10.73, 10.74
10.76Departed Oakland CA for an extended world cruise
N68740 visited Australia on the cruise.
Canberra Times newspaper report 13.7.77: "N68740 is a PBY-5A, originally purchased in Darwin by one of the joint owners Mr Lee Otterson, a retired rancher, in the early 1970s and flown back to the US where it was refurbished. It returned to Australia on a holiday trip this year, having left Oakland California and travelled via Hawaii, Tonga, Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji and other Pacific Islands, Norfolk Island, NZ then to Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra"           
visited Singapore, by 2.78 parked at Seeb, Muscat where it had remained 5 months
visited St Johns, Newfoundland on return to North America from world cruise
University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii 
noted at Honolulu Airport, parked near UH aviation technical school near the Domestic Terminal
Retired at Honolulu. Damaged by winds from a hurricane. Advertised for sale
Purchased by Gary R. Larkins, Auburn CA

Larkins was a warbird enthusiast who founded the "Air Pirates"group, specialising in salvaging military aircraft from remote locations.
The Air Pirates team including Larkins and his wife Sue, John Gasho and wife Sharon, applied new fabric to the damaged control surfaces and prepared the Cat for ferry flight in 15 days.
N68740 departed Honolulu with crew John Crocker, John Gasho, Gary Flanders, Gary Larkins, but they were forced to turn back after 18 hours due to damage in a storm.
Departed Honolulu a week later, with Larkins, Gasho, T.K. Mohr & Lee Evans, and reached California in a flying time of 23 hours 20 minutes.
Parked in Aero Nostalgia hangar at Stockton CA, waiting for a buyer
Trade negotiated with US Navy Air Museum, NAS Pensacola  Florida: the Catalina in exchange for 6 Grumman Trackers "as is" in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB, Arizona
Jim Ricketts/Aero Nostalgia at Stockton CA rebuilt the Catalina's nose section to install a bow turret, and painted the aircraft in all blue USN scheme
Ferried from Auburn CA to Pensacola, Florida by Larkins and Denny Ghiringelli, overnighted at Midland Texas where Ghiringelli had to leave for his day job with American Airlines. Next day Gary Larkins & John Gasho continued the delivery flight to Pensacola; exchanged for 6 Trackers!       
USNAM planned to use the airworthy Catalina for a trade deal to acquire a more needed aircraft type.
FAA allocated N6208H to "Catalina 68740 ex US museum" to applicant H. Wells. Application did not proceed
USNAM made an exchange deal with Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston Texas

N68740 ferried from Pensacola to Galveston TX. Displayed inside the museum building
noted at Galveston on display, also 4.00 when the description board quoted identity as "US Navy 9742"
submerged in salt water when the museum building at Galveston was flooded during Hurricane Ike
Catalina moved to Pima Aerospace Museum, Tucson Arizona

N68740 at Ontario, California in April 1957 as a "Landseaire"executive air yacht conversion.
Photo: Ed Coates Collection

N68740 at Darwin in 1969 with Freeport Indonesia, with the ramp maintenance trolley tucked under the wing.
Note the rear airstair and modified right side blister.
                                 Photo: Paul Howard collection

Roger McDonald caught N68740 departing Bankstown for Darwin very early morning 27 March 1970

On the water at Lake Sentani, West Irian.                                              Photo: Paul Howard collection

Darwin June 1971. N68740 has been retired by Freeport, replaced by Fairchild Friendship N228X behind.
Photo: Geoff Goodall collection

N68740 displayed in US Navy scheme at Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston Texas in October 2005.
The two teardrop aerials above the cockpit remain, but nose turret has been added.
Photo by George Trussell

             Canso A            c/n CV-369           Steward-Davis Super Catalina                                                VH-EXG

Built by Canadian Vickers Ltd at Montreal, Quebec as Canso A to Royal Canadian Air Force order. C/n CV-369
Brought on charge RCAF as Canso A 11060
Issued to RCAF Eastern Air Command
Retired at Vulcan RCAF station, stored 58-61 pending disposal
Transferred to Crown Assets Disposal Corporation, Ottawa ONT for disposal
Struck-off RCAF strength
Sold by CADC to Frontier Air Transport Co, Calgary Alberta
Registered CF-NJD Canspec Air Transport Ltd, Calgary ALTA
Permit issued for ferry from Vulcan AB to Calgary for civil conversion by Field Aviation
Change of ownership: Firefly Inc, Portland, Oregon USA
Ferried Calgary to Victoria BC for conversion by Fairey Aviation to Steward-Davis Super Catalina with     Wright R-2600 engines and squared enlarged tail. During the overhaul the aircraft was fitted with tank for water or chemicals as a fire tanker
Registered N609FF Firefly Inc, Portland Oregon
leased to Cal-Nat Airways, Grass Valley California. Operated as fire tanker #E40
leased to Barringer Research/ Terra Surveys Ltd, Ottawa ONT.  Fitted for magnetometer mineral survey
based in Africa on mineral survey contracts
N609FF noted at Johannesburg, South
Terra Surveys Ltd gained mineral survey contracts in Australia. N609FF which had been retired at Johannesburg, South Africa was prepared for ferry flight to Australia.
N609FF arrived Singapore on ferry to Australia
N609FF arrived at Melbourne-Essendon
Registered VH-EXG Terra Surveys Ltd, Ottawa ONT
Operated by Executive Air Services, Essendon Victoria 

Flew low-level mineral survey flights all over Australia for next 15 years.

Change of ownership: Western Commander, Melbourne Vic, operated for Geoterrex Surveys
Last flight, retired at Essendon Vic
Acquired by Royal Australian Air Force Museum, RAAF Point Cook Victoria

remained parked in open at Essendon while the museum prepared for the aircraft's restoration back to standard military configuration
moved by road from Essendon Airpori to RAAF Laverton Victoria where stored dismantled
fuselage moved by road to RAAF Amberley QLD where it was rebuilt. A nose turret, rear fuselage blisters and original PBY-5 tailplanewere installed while the belly fire bombing doors were removed
fuselage arrived by road at RAAF Point Cook from Amberley

Restoration contineud at RAAF Museum at Point Cook.

to be displayed as RAAF "A24-104 code NR-H"


VH-EXG launches from Mount Isa QLD in September 1979 on another survey mission, showing the
magnetometer tail boom and
EMF cable loop strung between the wingtips, nose and tail.  
The rear blisters have been replaced by hatches.    Photo by Ben Dannecker

Perth Airport June 1985 while on a two month survey job near Albany WA .          Photo by Geoff Goodall

This June 1985 view shows the Geoterrex company emblem, wrap-around windscreen and cable loop

VH-EXG's fuselage restored back to military configuration and painted as RAAF "A24-104 NR-H" displayed
at RAAF Museum, Point Cook Vic in March 2016.                               Photo by Ian McDonell

            PBY-5A              c/n 1954                 SoCal Landseaire                    Sea Bitch                                   N68756
Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co wartime plant at New Orleans LA as a production PBY-5A to US Navy order.  
Consolidated C/n 0012, Hull No.1954
Brought on charge by US Navy as PBY-5A Bu46590
Assigned to VBP-84 Squadron based NAS Quonset Point, Rhode Island
Assigned HEDRON 8 at NAS Alameda, California
Decommissioned by US Navy due to the improved war situation.
Assigned to Convair at San Diego, California for maintenance including hull leaks
Transferred to US Coast Guard as PBY-5A Bu46590.  Delivered from Convair to USCG Base
Miami, Florida on SAR duties
Assigned Naval Air Material Centre at NAS Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for major overhaul and 20 modifications including JATO rocket attachment points
Assigned VP-AM5 (Amphibian Patrol Squadron No.5) based  NAS Whidbey Island, Washington.
Airframe log book records numerous ocean patrols along Alaska coast and the Leutian chain, with landings at Kodiak, Adak, Attu, Dutch Harbour, Anchorage and Point Barrow.
Airframe log book: last flight with US Navy.
Registered N68756 Southern California Aircraft Corp, Ontario CA
Completed rebuild at Ontario as a SoCal Landesaire luxury air yacht. The interior was decorated to the customer's specification based on the Jules Verne book Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea.

Aircraft Manual dated 2.52 lists type as "Jules Verne Landseair Model 28-5ACF"
Fullerton Oil Co, Pasadena CA  
Herbert A. Schriner, Larchmont NY
Operated with a small boat stowed under one wing
N68756 noted at Long Beach Municiple, CA. Dark colour all over, boat under port wing. Appears retired
N68756 noted at Fort Lauderdale FL
Endicot P. Davison, New Canaan CT
N68756 noted at Fort Lauderdale FL. Also 16.4.72, 30.1.74, 26.1.76
Quebec Labrador Mission Foundation, Ipswitch MA
Michael Wansey, Newcastle NSW Australia
Operated by Confederate Air Force, Harlingen, Texas

Australian businessman Mike Wansey was a Confederate Air Force "Colonel" and a founding member of the CAF Australian Wing. He purchased the Catalina and was the aircraft's sponsor while operated by the CAF
Arrived at Harlingen on delivery ex storage on an airfield in Massachusetts
Participated in WWII flying displays at Harlingen during the three day annual CAF airshow.
Retained its previous civil paint scheme of white, red and blue
Flew during the annual CAF airshow. Now repainted silver as RAAF "A24-387 code NB-N"

(RAAF Catalina serials ended at A24-386. The ficticious code was for TV Channel NBN-3 at Newcastle, owned by Wansey)
Flew at Phoenix AZ with visiting CAF aircraft, "A24-387/NB-N"
Wansey was determined that his Catalina would visit Australia. N68756 was flown from Harlingen to Australia, local tour, then returned to Harlingen in time for the CAF's annual airshow that October.
N68756 arrived Brisbane after the Pacific crossing
Water landing at the site of former RAAF Rathmines on Lake Macquarie NSW
Visited airshows at RAAF Amberley Qld and Broken Hill NSW
Flew from Australia back to CAF at Harlingen
Flew during the annual CAF airshow. "A24-387/NB-N". Also 10.82 and 10.83
Flew at Oakland CA with visiting CAF aircraft, "A24-387/NB-N Sea Bitch"
Wansey donated the Catalina to CAF. Ownership transferred to Confederate Air Force, Harlingen TX
Flew to San Francisco International Airport where American Airlines donated hangar space and facilities to the Pacific Wing of the Confederate Air Force. A CAF team under Ed Vassar carrid out airframe repairs, cleaned and restored the interior cabin areas and cockpit, and removed the stabroar engine for rebuild. Students ofSFO City College Aeronautical Dept re-covered the fabric control surfaces and carried out much other work. 

Retired at Harlingen when corrosion found in airframe. Parked in open, with parts removed until 1994
Moved by road to Brownsville Texas for planned restoration for static display.
By now acquired by Robert R. Schneider/ RRS Aviation, Hawkins Texas
Schneider had worked with major US warbird collections before establishing his company RRS Aviation which specialised in restoring military aircraft to for static museum disoplay standard.  His workshop was an old fire station in the main street of the small town of Hawkins TX. There he restored types like Hawker Hurricane, TBM Avenger.

Stripped for parts to assist other PBY rebuild projects by RRS Aviation.
Remains dumped in grass on edge of Midland Airport TX at CAF HQ, fuselage faded paintwork "A24-387", with wings in grass nearby.
N68756 was advertised for sale "as is" derelict at Midland TX
Acquired by Mark Pilkington, Melbourne Vic

Mark is an aviation enthusiast and collector, associated with the Australian National Aviation Museum at Moorabbin Airport, Melbourne. The Catalina was not collected from Texas.

Mark Pilkington later wrote: "I personally/privately purchased and owned N68756 when it was sold for scrap in 2006 until it was on-sold to others, passing through the hands of HARS and ending up at Pima less its centre-section and wings (and eventually also its blisters), to form the basis of a Catalina Fire Bomber restoration using parts from other PBY's already in Pima's possession."
The stripped derelict remains of N68756 reportedly owned by Gary Austin, Texas

Acquired by Historical Aircraft Restoration Society, Albion Park NSW.
Acquired for parts for the HARS airworthy PBY-6A VH-PBZ, and traded to Pima Aerospace Museum, with whom HARS had a close working relationship
To Pima Aerospace Museum, Tucson, Arizona
intact fuselage on its wheels noted in storage area at Pima Museum, alongside another Catalina fuselage
fuselage of N68756 used at Pima to rebuild the wreck of fire tanker Catalina N322FA for display

N68756 at Long Beach, California in September 1967, in an all-over dark colour and a boat under each wing.
The areas of dripping oil are a sure sign it had been parked here for some time. 
Photo by Barney B.  Deatrick

N68756 wore her former executive air yacht paint scheme when purchased by Australian Mike Wansey in 1979

Taking part in the Confederate Air Force airshow at Harlingen Texas in October 1979

The view from N68756's rear blisters during a low flypast at Harlingen Texas in October 1979
The above three photos by Geoff Goodall

Mike Wansey's N68756 during the 1981 Australian visit, seen early morning at Sydney Airport in May 1981.
It had been repainted all silver as a representative RAAF Catalina "A24-387"code "NB-N".
Photo by Chris O'Neill

Confederate Air Force Colonel Mike Wansey in the rear blister lounge seats
of Catalina N68756 which he owned and sponsored for the CAF in Texas.     
Photo by Geoff Goodall

             PBY-5A             1988                                                                               Aviation Heritage Museum, Perth WA
Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at their wartime factory at New Orleans, Louisiana.
Production PBY-5A to US Navy order.  Consolidated C/n 0046, Hull No.1988
US Navy as PBY-5A Bu46624
Retired at Naval Air Station Litchfield Park, Arizona. Parked in open apending disposal, along with many hundreds of other US Navy aircraft. Total flyng time 1,407 hrs
Struck-off US Navy strength
Sold through military disposals to a civil purchaser at San Diego CA
Registered N9502C
Southland Flying Service, Tchula Mississippi
Ferried from San Diego to Ocala FL for planned modifications to an insecticide sprayer to be used for agricultural and fire-ant plague spraying

Modifications not started. Engines were sold because they had higher value than the airframe.
Stored engineless at Ocala FL 1960-1970
By now had been acquired by David C. Tallichet. trading as Military Aircraft Restoration Corp, Chino CA

Tallichet was a successful Los Angeles businessman who had flown B-17s with USAAF during WWII. In 1971 he founded MARC to save and restore wartime aircraft for display or to fly. He was a pioneer in the US warbird restoration movement, acquiring large numbers of derelict aircraft and performing remarkable restoration feats, such as a Martin B-26 recovered from a wartime belly landing in Canada and given a 20 year rebuild to fly again.
Tallichet funded a two year venture in Papua New Guinea to locate wartime aircraft wrecks, resulting in approximately 40 Japanese and Allied aircraft being shipped to California in the mid 1970s.
MARC financed its operations by commercial sales of military disposals aircraft, for example Moroccan Air Force T-28 Trojans purchased and ferried to USA which were resold to Honduras Air Force. Tallichet had close ties with British warbird dealer and enthusiast John "Jeff" Hawke, with whom he formed joint businesses such as Euroworld California Inc and Visionair International Inc to trade in military disposals aircraft sales to civil and miltary buyers
Catalina dismantled at Ocala FL and moved by road to Clearwater Florida
Displayed at No.94 Aero Squadron Restaurant, Clearwater, Florida

Specialty Restaurants Inc was one of David Tallichet's businesses. A restaurant chain was built up at or near airports across USA, all with a military flying theme and most featuring aircraft displays.
WW1 aircraft were replicas but WWII aircraft came from MARC stocks and their display on the restaurant grounds saved airport parking costs.

noted at No.94 Aero Squadron Restaurant at Clearwater. All metallic, weathered condition
Catalina moved to Henderson Field Restaurant, Jacksonville, Florida
Acquired from MARC in an exchange deal by Robert R. Schneider/ RRS Aviation, Hawkins, Texas

Schneider was a former MARC aircraft engineer who had established his own business to restore warbirds for museum displays or to airworthy. His Hawkins base was a disused 1940s era motor garage in the main street of this small Texas town.

Catalina was moved by road to Orlando, Florida, along with a Grumman TBM which Schneider acquired from Tallichet. Later moved by road to Hawkins TX, stored dismantled on open land behind the motor garage building while waiting for restoration to commence
Noted at the RRS facility at Hawkins TX: dismantled Catalina, a Grumman TBM Avenger with wings removed, 7 Nord 3202s (from over 20 purchased by MARC from French Army), a UH-1 helicopter in pieces, a Canadian Bristol Bolingbroke, two Canadian Hawker Hurricane centr-section hulks. Inside the workshop was an almost completed Hawker Hurricane.
Noted at the RRS facility at Hawkins TX: an adjacent hangar had been erected next to gas station and all but the Catalina were in the new hangar: 4 P-40s (one under static restoration and 3 fuselages),  one TBM, a complete F9F Panther and some WWII combat vehicles. Schneider was working on the P-40 at the time: most of these airframes were from MARC.
Purchased by Australian-American Catalina Memorial Foundation, Perth, Western Australia

This foundation was established by Keith Mattingly of Perth. The foundation had gained West Australian State Government agreement to underwrite the costs to acquire a Catalina, which would be displayed inside a memorial building the Foundation intended to build in the Perth suburb of Nedlands. It was to honour those who served at two World War II Catalina bases on the banks of the Swan RIver:
- the Qantas Empire Airways base at Nedlands for the QEA Catalinas on the "Double Sunrise" Indian Ocean service to Ceylon, and on to Karachi
- the
US Navy Catalina base at nearby Crawley Bay.

As part of the WA Government agreement, the Catalina would be part of the Western Australian Museum collection (item number HB 89_CAT) which could be loaned to the Foundation when their memorial building was completed.
Restoration commenced at RRS Aviation at Hawkins TX
Returned to US Register as N9502C Robert R. Schneider, Hawkins, Texas
Catalina was seen under rebuild in the motor garage workshop at Hawkins TX. Painted in US Navy blue scheme with white undersurfaces with US Navy insignia, nose turret with replica guns and rear fuselage blisters
Handover ceremony at Hawkins TX of the completed PBY-5A to Australian-American Catalina Memorial Foundation, attended by Foundation members,the Australian Ambassador, US Navy veterans and VIPs
Badly damaged by fire overnight in the worshop overnight.
Fire cause traced to an overheated refrigerator motor in th workshop. Damage to the Catalina included the tailplane fabric control surfaces being burnt and perspex transparencies melted.
Insurance covered the damage, allowing Schneider to carry out the repairs plus a more detailed restoration
Moved by road from Hawkins TX to a US Navy base at San Diego CA.
The US Navy gave
the Catalina Foundation generous assistance to transport the aircraft to Australia.
An early proposal was for the Catalina to be carried on board aircraft carrier USS John C.Stennis which Disney Studios had paid to sail to Pearl Harbor, Honolulu where the premier of the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor was shown on a large screen oj the flight deck to 2,000 invited guests. The Catalina would then be off-loaded and displayed for Memorial Day ceremonies, before being shipped to Ausytralia

However this did not happen and the Catalina was in fact shipped from San Diego to Darwin on board the Dock Landing ship USS Comstock.
Off-loaded from USS Comstock at Darwin. Transferred to a coastal freighter and shipped to Perth.
Arrived at Fremantle Harbour, Perth. The fuselage was wrapped in plasting wrapping, wings, engines and parts packed in 3 shipping containers.
Moved by road to Perth Airport where temporary storage had been arranged in a hangar
Stored inside an empty large locomotive shed at the former Midland Railway Workshops at Midland Junction, Perth which the WA Museum used to store heritage items.
The Australian-American Catalina Memorial Foundation had failed to raise sufficient funds to build the memorial at Nedlands. The WA State Government formally declined to finance outstanding cost of the building at Nedlands. 
Loan to Aviation Heritage Museum, Bull Creek, Perth WA

The Aviation Heritage Museum offered to display the aircraft. Negotiations between all parties resulted in an agreement for the West Australian Museum to place the Catalina on long-term loan to the AHM for display inside their building at the Air Force Association Estate in the Perth suburb Bull Creek.
The West Australian Museum also loaned a Bofors 40/60 anti-aircraft gun mount, which was displayed next to the Catalina.
Arrived by road transport at Aviation Heritage Museum at Bull Creek. Assembled inside their display building.


N9502C restored to US Navy wartime configuration, at the Aviation Heritage Museum of WA in April 2014
Photo by Terry Fletcher

             PBY-6A               c/n 2043                                                                                                         VH-PBZ 

Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at their wartime factory New Orleans, Louisiana.
Production PBY-6A to US Navy order.  Consolidated C/n 0101, Hull No.2043

US Navy as PBY-6A Bu46679
Registered N9562C Aircraft Instrument Corp, Miami Florida

Aircraft Instrument Corp purchased  over 30 Catalinas from US Navy disposals in the mid 1950s. Many were broken-up for engines and parts but those in better condition were resold on the civil market

Sold in Chile
Registered CC-CNF TRANSA-Chile, Santiago, Chile

Ferried from US to Chile on ferry permit, aircraft in stock US Navy configuration

Civil conversion by the FANAERO company at Santiago. 7 round passenger windows.
Sold to Commandante Roberto Parrague/ Aeroservicios Parrague Ltda, Santiago
Not put into service, held as a spare for Aeroservicios Parrague's other Catalinas. Parked in open Santiago
Overhaul at Santiago to enter service as a fire bomber with water tank and scoop water-pickup system
Registered CC-CCS Commandante Roberto Parrague/ Aeroservicios Parrague Ltda - ASPAR, Santiago.
Fire tanker #34

Joined Aeroservicios Parrague's Catalina fire bomber fleet, operating on contracts to dump water of fires in Chile and neighbouring countries
struck rock during water landing, sank, Lake Gutierrez, Argentina
salvaged from lake, moved by road to Santiago for rebuild. Completed .88, returned to service

Decreasing demand in Chile for his Catalina water bombers caused Roberto Parrague to offer his Catalinas for lease. He was unwilling to sell them outright at first because he believed they would be wanted again in the future in Chile.
Leased to ICONA/ Spanish Ministry of Land & Forest Management
Ferried from Chile to Spain, flown as a water bomber in Spain. Retained tanker #34
Leased to Fumigacion Aerea Andaluza SA/FAASA,  Palma del Rio, Spain  tanker #34, later #A1

FAASA was a commercial company which operated the fire bombing requirements of ICONA
CC-CCS #34 noted at Palma del Rio airfield, near Cordoba, Spain "ICONA" titles, with fire bomber Catalinas CC-CDT and EC-FXN.  All three there 7.96
Sold to Aerocondor, Pinhancos, Portugal. Fire bomber, tanker #A1
CC-CCS noted at Pinhancos, "Aerocondor" titles, tanker #A1 on nose
CC-CCS noted at Sila, Portugal, "Aerocondor" titles, #A1, operational
retired, parked at Pinhancos, Portugal. Retains original ASPAR red and white scheme, tanker #34 with name Felix
CC-CCS purchased by Historical Aircraft Restoration Society, Albion Park NSW Australia
Registered VH-PBZ HARS, Albion Park NSW

The preferred Australian civil registration VH-PBY was not available
Ferried from Portugal to France for HARS pilot training on lakes prior to delivery flight to Australia
Port landing gear collapsed during a runway landing, Arachon-la Teste, Bordeaux, France

Damage repaired at Arachon, then parked.
Departed Arachon, France on delivery flight to Australia. Original ASPAR red and white paintwork
Arrived at Darwin NT at 2036 Local time. Sponsors emblems on nose, with name "Felix"
Crew: Captain Bruce Andrews, Gordon Glynn, Donna Porter and Flight Engineer F.Skidmore.
Delivery continued via Cairns Qld to Coffs Harbour NSW where displayed at an airshow, then to HARS HQ at Albion Park NSW

HARS repainted the Catalina as RAAF matt black "A24-362 OX-V".
Later nose turret with replica gun and rear fuselage blisters were installed at Albion Park Airport

Currently operated by HARS from Albion Park, maintained airworthy

CC-CCS tanker #34 at Palma Del Rio, Spain in April 1996.                                  Photo by Paul Howard

VH-PBZ refuels at Cairns Qld in September 2003 on the final stages of its ferry flight from Portugal.
Although freshly painted, it retains tanker #34 under the wing.                  Photo by Paul Howard

VH-PBZ arrives the March 2005 Avalon International Airshow Vic as RAAF Black Cat "A24-362 OX-V".
Since then, HARS have installed a nose turret and rear fuselage blisters.                     Photo by Phil Vabre

New-build blisters installed at Albion Park in 2009.  A Royal Lao Air Force T-28D fuselage is on the left.         
Photo by Ian McDonell

              PBY-6A          c/n 2029                                                                                                  (VH-DUL), N160AT, VH-CAT

Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at their wartime factory at New Orleans, Louisiana.
Production PBY-6A to US Navy order. Consolidated C/n 0087, Hull No.2029
Taken on charge by US Navy as PBY-6A Bu46665
Delivered to USN

James Wulruff, a retired former US Navy aviator wrote:
"In late 1945 I was in Patrol Bombing Squadron 62 (VPB 62) based at Whidbey Island, Washington State. About that time the squadron received new PBY-6As, replacing our old PBY-5As. I was in crew No. 1 and 46665 was assigned to us. I flew in her for most of a year. We rotated to the Aleutian Islands during this time and flew through the island chain from Kodiak to Attu, as well as to Nome and up the Bering Straits to Point Barrow."
Operated in Alaska and Aleutian Islands until 3.47 when retired for overhaul
Based NAS Norfolk, Virginia. Anti-submarine trials off Key West, Florida
Damaged when brakes failed landing at Chincoteague, Virginia and struck a TBM-3E Avenger. Catalina was repaired
Retired at NAS Litchfield Park, Arizona where parked with many other Navy aircraft pending disposal
Registered N9555C Aircraft Instrument Corp, Miami Florida

Aircraft Instrument Corp purchased  over 30 Catalinas from US Navy disposals in the mid 1950s. Many were broken-up for engines and parts but those in better condition were re-sold on the civil market

Sold to Chile
Registered CC-CNG TRANSA-Chile, Santiago, Chile

Ferried from US to Chile on ferry permit, aircraft in stock US Navy configuration.
Stored by TRANSA, did not enter service
Re-registered CC-CNP Commandante Roberto Parrague/ Aeroservicios Parrague Ltda - ASPAR, Santiago.
Named Manu-tara II

Operated on passenger and freight services to the Juan Fernandez Archipelago in Chile
CC-CNP flown by Parrague from Santiago to Easter Island and return
Departed Santiago on a proving flight to Christmas Island and Tahiti, flown by Cpt. R. Parrague
Returned to Santiago on 12.9.65

ASPAR decided to enter the fire bombing business with tis Catalinas.
CC-CNP was flown to Canada for conversion to water tanker,  tanker #65
ASPAR Catalinas CC-CNP and CC-CDT noted at Madrid, Spain on seasonal fire bombing contract
Ferried from Chile to Canada for a fire bombing contract as tanker #65
CC-CNP refuelled at Kingston, Jamaica 22.6.70, departed for Miami. Noted at Toronto 25.6.70
CC-CNP noted Santiago-Los Cerrilos, retired
Decreasing demand in Chile for his Catalina water bombers caused Roberto Parrague to offer his Catalinas for lease. He was unwilling to sell them outright at first because he believed they would be wanted again in the future in Chile.
Leased to ICONA/Spanish Ministry of Land & Forest Management.  Tanker code #65
Ferried from Chile to Spain
CC-CNP noted Zaragoza, Spain ASPAR tanker #35
CC-CNP noted at Cuatro Vientos, Spain. Red and white, no titles, #35.  Also 23.3.89
leased to Fumigacion Aerea Andaluza SA/FAASA, Palma del Rio, Spain.  Tanker code changed to #35
Registered EC-FXN Fumigacion Aerea Andaluza SA/FAASA, Palma del Rio
EC-FXN #35 noted at Palma del  Rio airfield near Cordoba, Spain "ICONA" titles, parked with other fire bombing Catalinas CC-CCS &  CC-CDT.  Also 7.96, 2.97
Returned to Chile Register CC-CNP ASPAR, Santiago, leased to Aerocondor, Pinhancos, Portugal
Tanker #35
CC-CNP noted at Pinhancos, "Aerocondor" titles
Retired, parked in open Pinhancos, Portugal.
Reportedly then returned to fire bombing service with Aerocondor for several summer seasons
Retired, parked in open at Seia, Portugal, “Aerocondor” titles
Purchased by Philip W. Dulhunty/ Seaplane Pilots Association of Australia/ Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd, Sydney NSW Australia

Phil Dulhunty, an Australian businessman and entrepreneur, was a keen pilot since his first aircraft Percival Proctor VH-DUL in 1958.  Onbe of his ompanies Dulmison Aircraft Pty Ltd imported Czechoslovakian Aero 145s, Meta Sokols and a Morava L-200 in the 1960s and since then he had owned a series of floatplanes. His book "Never A Dull Moment" is recommended reading.
Registration VH-DUL requested to be reserved for the Catalina
Registration VH-CAT requested to be reserved for the Catalina
CC-CNP first test flight at Seia, Portugal after maintenance to prepare for ferry flight to Australia.
Planned departure from Seia for delivery flight to Australia. But an engine failed on takeoff Seia.
Parked at Seia, while two replacement engines were facquired and transported to Portugal
Registered N160AT The Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd, Sydney NSW Australia
Nominal change of ownership: Nystrom International, Sun Valley ID: trustee for The Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd
Departed Seia, Portugal on ferry flight to Australia.
Arrived at Darwin NT, under command of Captain Jim Hazelton
N160AT reached its new home Sydney-Bankstown Airporet NSW
Struck-off US Civil Aircraft Register
Registered VH-CAT The Catalina Flying Memorial Ltd, Sydney NSW c/- P.W.Dulhunty

Catalina Flying Memorial stated that it planned to operate the Catalina from the site and ramp of the former wartime flying boat base RAAF Rathmines on Lake Macquarie NSW.

Currently registered.  Lengthy periods of maintenance at Bankstown and occasional flights.
More recent years just parked at Bankstown

CC-CNP at Madrid-Cuatro Vientos in February 1989.                                         Photo by Trevor Bartlett

Re-registered EC-FXN, tanker #35 was at Palma Del Rio, Spain in April 1996, with ICONA titles
Photo by Paul Howard

VH-CAT parked at Sydney-Bankstown during August 2010.                               Photo by Lindsay Nothrop

            PBY-6A              c/n 2008                                                                                VH-EAX (2) Qantas Founders Museum

Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at their wartime factory at New Orleans Louisiana.
Production PBY-6A to US Navy order.  Consolidated C/n 0066, Hull No. 2008

US Navy as PBY-6A Bu46644
Registered N6458C Farmers Air Service, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Tanker #F46
Rebuilt with internal water tanks and pick-up scoop by Liston Aircraft at Klamath Falls
Liston Aircraft Inc, Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Water tanker fire bomber #F46, later #E33
Leo J. "Ace" Demers, Madras, Oregon         Fire tanker #F33
Change of ownership: Hemet Valley Flying Service, Hemet, California.  Tanker #E83, later #83

HVFS was one of the larger fire tanker operators in California, with a large fleet of TBM Avengers, Catalinas, then Fairchild C-119s and C-130s.
  Main base was Hemet CA but their aircraft were often deployed to Stockton CA.
N6458C noted at Hemet CA, #E83. Also 22.6.73 #E83 operational
N6458C noted at Stockton CA #E83 at the HVFS rramp, retired
sold to Canada, struck-off USCR
Registered C-GFFH The Flying Fireman Ltd, Sidney BC  Fire tanker #778
C-GFFH noted at Sidney BC, Canada
C-GFFH noted at Sidney BC, rudder removed. #778 on nose.
leaed to Atwood Air Ltd, Victoria BC.  Fire tanker #778
sold to Spain, struck-off Canadian Register
Spanish temporary registration EC-359  ICONA/ Spanish Ministry of Land & Forest Management  
EC-359 noted at Tenerife 18.11.89, "ICONA" titles:  probably ferry flight from Canada
Registered EC-EVK Servicios Aereos Espanoles SA-SAESA, Madrid-Cuatro Vientos. Fire tanker #71
EC-EVK noted at Cuatro Vientos, all yellow "ICONA" in red
EC-EVK noted at Los Rodeos, Spain 
EC-EVK noted at Cuatro Vientos Airport, Madrid
Retired by AESA, parked in open at Cuatro Vientos Airport, along with Catalina EC-FMC.
EC-EVK noted at Cuatro Vientos, open storage. Also 13.2.01
Purchased by Raul Aranda, Cuatro Vientos         
Extended maintenance at Cuatro Vientos to be made operational, repainted orange and red          
EC-EVK noted at Cuatro Vientos, painted all orange with red trim
Test flown at Cuatro Vientos
Next test flight, then parked Cuatro Vientos 2006-09
Reportedly sold to a new owner in Canada,  waiting for delivery flight
Purchased by Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach Airport, Queensland Australia
Registered VH-EAX Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach Airport, Queensland Australia

The museum requested a registration previously used by a Qantas Catalina: see VH-EAX in Part One.

Test flights Cuatro Vientos after maintenance to prepare for ferry flight to Australia.  Flighs included water landings on Valmayor Reservoir, Spain.
Departed Madrid on delivery flight to Australia. Painted orange and red, VH-EAX on tail

Lengthy delay at U-Tapao, Thailand with u/s engine
Departed U-Tapao for Australia
Arrived at Longreach Qld

Static display at Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach Airport

Restored with nose turret. Painted in grey wartime camouflage as G-AGIE Antares, one of 5 BOAC Catalinas operated by Qantas Empire Airways on the secret wartime Perth-Ceylon non-stop 30 hour Indian Ocean crossings in radio silence, through enemy airspace.  See Civil Cats Part One


Hemet Valley Flying Service's N6458C at Columbia CA in service as fire tanker #83.
Photo by William T. Larkins

Now with Flying Fireman as C-GFFH #778, photographed at Sidney BC in July 1988 by Dave Welch.
The rear fuselage blisters have been replaced by hatches with two small windows.

VH-EAX at Qantas Founders Museum, Longreach Queensland in 2012 before repainting in Qantas wartime markings
Photo by David Prossor

VH-EAX at Qantas Founders Museum in August 2017, now painted to represent G-AGIE "Anares Star" which Qantas
flew on the wartime "Order of the Double Sunrise" 30 hour crossings of the Indian Ocean Perth-Ceylon.
Photo by David Prossor

             PBY-5A             c/n 1604                                                                                  N7238Z, Rathmines Catalina Memorial

Built by Consolidated Aircraft Co at San Diego, California as production PBY-5A to US Navy order.
Consolidated C/n 1604, Hull No.1774

US Navy as PBY-5A Bu48412
Sold by US Navy disposals to aircraft dealers Trade Ayer, Linden NJ
Registered N10024 Trade Ayer, Linden New Jersey
Change of ownership: Cole Brock Inc, Pennsyvania
Re-registered N96R Remmert Werner Inc, St Louis MO
Probably had Remmert Werner FAA approved modifications installed, but unconfirmed
Registered YV-P-EPX Orinoco Mining Co, Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela
Operated as an amphibian for mining support flights, mostly on the Orinoco River
Re-registered YV-P-EPZ Orinoco Mining Co, Puerto Ordaz
Re-registered YV-O-CFO-4  Corporacion Ferrominera de Orinoco CA, Puerto Ordaz 
struck sand bank in Orinoco River, sunk, San Felix, Venezuala
salvaged and repaired
YV-CFO-4 noted at New Orleans-Lakefront LA for maintenace and repaint
Re-registration reserved YV-56CP, but not taken up
Re-registered YV-585CP  Camaronera del Sur CA: operated for Orinoco Mining
YV-585CP noted at Puerto Ordaz 
YV-585CP noted at Tamiami, Florida, civilian paint scheme, no titles. Rear fuselage blisters replaced by hatches. Also at Tamiami 10.8.85
Re-registered YV-485C  Italo Compagna/ SERVES, Caracas-Maiquetia  
YV-485C noted at San Juan-Isla Grande Airport Puerto Rico
Registered N7238Z Caribbean Air Transport, Carolina, Puerto Rico
Change of ownership: Serves Import Inc, Miami Florida

parked in open at San Juan International from 97, stripped of parts and derelict by 2013
Change of ownership: Anthony C. Tiurri/ Caribbean Airline Services Inc,  San Juan, Puerto Rico
N7238Z noted at San Juan International, retired, parked in open in weathered condition
Unmoved, engine cowlings removed, faded weathered paintwork
N7238Z parked at San Juan International, derelict, parts removed, paint faded to white
Change of ownership: Caribbean Airport Facilities Inc, San Juan Puerto Rico 
Offered for sale as a "project", located San Juan Airport
Purchased by Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Trust, Rathmines, Lake Macquarie NSW   

The trust had been formed to locate and display a Catalina which would be displayed on the site of RAAF Rathmines flying boat near Newcastle. It would form a memorial to commemorate the wartime operations at Rathmines.
N7238Z was dismantled at San Juan Airport. Fuselage moved by barge to Jacksonville FL, then by road to Savannah GA where loaded on ship for Australia.
Dismanted sections were stored in a boat yard at Toronto NSW near Newcastle.
The dismantled Catalina sections were moved from storage at Toronto NSW, to a property at Kilaben Bay where restoration to display standard commenced.
Final detailed proposal for the memorial was rejected by the local council.
The trust announced it would continue restoring the Catalina while looking for another site.

The dismantled airframe and all components were moved to Beresford NSW, where restoration continues in a large industrial building. Now painted black with RAAF quadron code "RK-A"

restoration continues Beresford NSW

N7238Z in derelict state, on flat tyres in the steamy tropical weather of San Juan, Puerto Rico in May 2011
Photo by Terry Hopkins

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                  French civil and miltary Catalinas operated in the French Pacific Ocean island groups of New Caledonia and Tahiti.  As late as 1965, French Catalinas refuelled at Australia airports while ferrying to or from the Pacific territories. 
                  Societe Francaise de Transports Aerien du Pacific Sud-TRAPAS, New Caledonia purchased two Catalinas from US Navy disposals sales in USA in 1947, both were sent to Catalina specialists Aero Corp at Atlanta, Georgia for CAA certified civil conversions to become F-BCJG & F-BCJH. They emerged with seating for 16 passengers, 4 cabin windows, and the rear fuselage blisters replaced by hatches. The pair were then ferried across the Pacific to New Caledonia.
                  F-BCJH arrived at Noumea on 14 July 1947 and was named Nouvelle-Caledonie. It visited Auckland NZ on 8 January 1948 and was damaged by a cyclone while parked at Magenta Airport, Noumea on 14 March 1948. After temporary repairs it was flown to Brisbane for permanent repairs by Barrier Reef Airways, situated on the Brisbane River. On 26 January 1949, F-BCJH with another TRAPAS Catalina F-BDRN evacuated New Caledonia to Brisbane to avoid a cyclone. It was sold by TRAPAS in August 1951 to Civil Air Transport at Taipei and delivered via Australia to Taiwan to become B-1403.

F-BCJH at Brisbane-Eagle Farm Airport in 1949.                                                   John Wilson collection

Another view of F-BCJH in TRAPAS markings.                                                       Paul Howard collection

                 The third Catalina acquired by TRAPAS (Societe Francaise de Transports Aerien du Pacific Sud) at New Caledonia. It was purchased in 1948 from Hawaii where it was NC49692 with Northern Pacific Aero Trading & Transportation Co, Honolulu.  TRAPAS Captain Pommier made the delivery flight to New Caledonia,  departing 13 July 1948 as a non-stop epic of 24 hrs 30 mins. Entering TRAPAS service two months later as F-BDRN named Tahiti.
On 26 January 1949, TRAPAS Catalinas F-FDRN and F-BCJH were evacuated from New Caledonia to Brisbane to avoid a cyclone.  It is reported that these same two aircraft visited Brisbane-Eagle Farm and Sydney-Bankstown in March 1949. An undated picture of F-BDRN at Bankstown shows it parked at the Fairey Aviation hangar.
                TRAPAS sold its last two Catalinas in August 1951 to Civil Air Transport at Taipei, Taiwan. F-BDRN departed Noumea on 11 September 1951 on the ferry flight to SE Asia, becoming B-819 with CAT on various clandestine operations. While taking part in the CIA anti-indonesian Government operation, the AUREV-PERMESTA Revolutionary Air Force, in which de-identified USAF A-26 Invaders attacked various civilian targets in the Sulawesi islands.  This Catalina was destroyed on the ground at Mapanget airfield, Sulawesi on 13 May 1958 during an attack by AURI-Indonesian Air Force P-51D Mustangs and B-25 Mitchells.  

Canso A F-BCBB
                 Another TRAPAS Catalina at New Caledonia, F-BCBB was sold in July 1951to Pacific Overseas Airways (Siam) Ltd, Bangkok as HS-POF.  It can be safely assumed it was delivered via Australia.

                French airline Reseau Aerien Interinsulaire-RAI based Catalinas at Papeete, Tahiti from 1952 with seating for 16 passengers. F-OAYD was purchased in late 1957. Previously N1520V, it was delivered from Dakar in French West Africa to Auckland in January 1958, routing is unknown but probably via Australia. At Auckland it was given an extensive pre-service overhaul by TEAL, during which the landing gear was removed to save weight and maintenance. The Catalina departed Auckland on delivery to Tahiti on 9 May 1958 but had only a short career with RAI, being structurally damaged in a heavy landing on Uturoa Harbour, Raiatea in October 1960. It was later scuttled in a lagoon at Raiatea, Tahiti.

F-OAYD in RAI's attractive scheme                                                                     Paul Howard collection

French Nuclear Test Catalinas:
                 In 1965 the large French airline UTA (Union de Transports Aeriens) was contracted by the French Government to operate Catalinas in support of the French nuclear test program in the Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of Tahiti. The aircraft would be on strength with the military naval air arm Aeronavale but leased to UTA. Following the French practice of using previous serial numbers or manufacturers numbers as military aircraft identities, variations of their original US Navy BuAer numbers were used as their Aeronavale serials. At the same time each was entered on the Civil Register in the F-W... series used test and Government aircraft.
               Some were ferried from USA to Tahiti, but those listed below were delivered from Paris to Tahiti via Brisbane-Eagle Farm Airport.

PBY-5A F-WMKR c/n 1574 ex Bu34020
               Acquired from Canada where it had been CF-JTL with Austin Airways, Timmins Ontario, this Cat was ferried from Canada to Paris in 1965 for overhaul, emerging painted as Aeronavale 34020, code 20 with military callsign F-YCHA. It was then delivered from Paris to Tahiti, via an overnight stop at Brisbane 26/27 April 1965. Unfortunately after all that preparation, its Pacific career was short, written-off due to damage sustained in a heavy landing on water at Hikuera, Papeete on 3 September 1965.

PBY-5A F-WMKS (1  c/n 1593 ex Bu34039
                Also acquired in 1965 from Austin Airways in Canada as CF-HVV, which was ferried to Paris for overhaul. To Aeronavale as 34039, Code 39, it was delivered to Tahiti 2 May 1965 after a Brisbane overnight stop 26-27 April 1965. UTA had a bad run at the beginning on this contract, this Catalina seeing little use at Tahiti before breaking its moorings on 4 September 1965 at Hikuera, Papeete and drifting on to a reef where it was wrecked.

                        Aeronavale 34039 at Brisbane Airport on 27 April 1965 enroute from Paris to Tahiti.   Photo by Ron Cuskelly

OA-10A F-WMKS (2  c/n CV-332 ex Bu67844
                Replacing the short-lived first F-WMKS, this was purchased in Canada in February 1966 ex CF-FKV of Wheeler Airlines, Quebec.
Departing Montreal on 24.2.66 for Paris for overhaul by UTA as Aeronavale No.32 callsign F-YCHB, it then contiued to Tahiti via Brisbane.  At the end of the UTA contract,  the surviving Catalinas No.20, 32 and 81 were left in storage at Papeete in 1971 until the three were shipped to Chile as a donation to the  Chile Government. No.32 became CC-CDT with Aeroservicios Parrague Ltda (ASPAR).

PBY-5A F-WMKT c/n 1810 ex Bu48448          
                 Purchased in Canada early 1965 from Quebecairas CF-IHD, this was ferried to Paris for overhaul to become Aeronavale No.48, Code 48 with radio callsign F-YCHC. It was delivered to Tahiti via Brisbane 1 April 1965.  A year later, a heavy water landing at Reao, Tahiti on 20 April 1966 damaged the airframe to such an extent that this Catalina was declared a write-off.

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