Catalina boats in the RNZAF

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Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby flyernzl » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:08 am

I have now obtained permission to post photographs from the cache I mentioned last year on to the internet.
These photographs were mostly taken at RNZAF Hobsonville and at Mechanics bay in the late 1940s.

Firstly, a brief summary:

The Royal New Zealand Air Force was supplied with 56 Catalina's in 1943 and 1944 replacing four ex-RAF Short Singapores that had been obtained in 1941. They were registered in the range NZ4001-4056 and were 22 PBY-5s and 34 Boeing-built PB2B-1s. All were new via US Navy purchases and were flying boats (SeaCats), no amphibian models were obtained. The aircraft were operated by 6 Squadron carrying codes in the XX- sequence from Lauthala Bay in Fiji, later moving to Havalo Bay, Florida Island (near Guadalcanal). A secondary unit was 3 Operational Training Unit also at Lauthala Bay using the squadron code GF-. As aircraft numbers buit up 5 Sqn with the PA- code was then formed and operated from US base at Segond Channel, Espirito Santo.
Seven Catalina's were written off in wartime accidents.

Although Lend-lease aircraft were supposed to be withdrawn at the conclusion of hostilities, the US Government recognized that the RNZAF needed to continue operating water-borne aircraft after the war, and thus some RNZAF Catalinas continued to serve until the arrival of the Sunderlands in 1952/53.
Lesser numbers were needed for peacetime duties, so a number of the Kiwi Catalinas were flown to RNZAF base Hobsonville and stored there awaiting either reactivation or (eventually) scrapping. Most of the following photos show these stored and derelict aircraft during this period.

Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina NZ4004 was the oldest RNZAF Cat to survive the war, having arrived Fiji 21 May 1943. It was involved in an engine failure incident on flight Suva-Halavo 18Jan45, pilot F/L G A Scholes.
Carrying the 6Sdn code XX-D it arrived at Hobsonville on 1946 and was book-entried as being relegated to an instructional airframe there in May 1947 as INST120.
Declared surplus in 1951, broken up and scrapped at Hobsonville in 1952.

Image

Image
Last edited by flyernzl on Sat Oct 30, 2010 5:52 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby seawings » Sun Oct 10, 2010 8:36 am

Blimey...!

What I would give to walk through there with a digital camera today.....!
Best Regards,

Bryan Ribbans
Owner of:

The Flying Boat Forum
SEAWINGS - The Website

"I put the sweat of my life into this project, and if it's a failure, I'll leave the country and never come back".
Howard Hughes, re: the HK-1 Hughes Flying Boat, aka the 'Spruce Goose,' 1946.
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby flyernzl » Sun Oct 10, 2010 10:22 am

PBY-5 Catalina NZ4014, arrived at Fiji 11 July 1943.
Served with 6 Sdn as XX-P.
Badly damaged in heavy landing Halavo Bay 6Jun44 but repaired.
WFU and stored at Hobsonville postwar.
Declared surplus 1951, Disposal #3795. SOC & scrapped 1952.

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby flyernzl » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:28 am

Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina NZ4016 arrived in Fiji 13 July 1943.
Served with 6 Sdn as XX-S
Declared surplus 1951, Disposal #3795. SOC & broken up at Hobsonville in 1952.

Image

Anyone know the exact nature of the aerial fastened to the starboard wing?
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby flyernzl » Mon Oct 11, 2010 6:34 am

Consolidated PBY-5 Catalina NZ4018 arrived in Fiji 20 October 1943.
Served with 6 Sdn as XX-U
Damaged when f/l in sea after fuel shortage 30Nov44 (where?) Repaired.
Stored at Hobsonville post-war, declared surplus 1951. Disposal #3795. SOC & broken up at Hobsonville in 1952.

At Lauthala Bay

Image

Stored at Hobsonville

Image

Image
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby sunderlandmr5 » Mon Oct 11, 2010 7:15 am

Hi Peter

Good to catch up with you on Saturday

Those photos are awesome, thanks for posting them!

That aerial, I'm sure is a US version of the Yagi aerial, similar to the British
Mk II ASV (Air to Surface Vessels) radar.
The protrusions are a diapole type aerial, horizontally polarised, which were used for
transmission and receipt of signals to home in on a target.

They tended to act up in the tropics from what I have read

Regards

Alan
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby flyernzl » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:10 am

Thanks for that info Alan.
On closer inspection, looks like similar aerials fitted to both wings.

Good to catch up with you again at Hobsonville also.

(The New Zealand branch of Seawings had a 100% turnout last Saturday to inspect the armament areas of the ex-RNZAF flying boat base at Hobsonville. These areas are normally closed to the public. We took the opportunity to view the hardstand and launching areas as well.)
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby flyernzl » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:14 am

Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4024 arrived Fiji 04 April 1944.
Served with 3OTU at Lauthala Bay as GF-B
Declared surplus 1954, Disposal #76/54. SOC 1954 and sold for scrap ex-Hobsonville.

Image
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby flyernzl » Tue Oct 12, 2010 6:18 am

Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4025 arrived Fiji 04 April 1944.
Served with 3OTU at Lauthala Bay as GF-C
Damaged in heavy landing Lauthala Bay 28Jul45, restored.
Declared surplus 1951, Disposal #3796. SOC and broken up at Hobsonville in 1952.

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Catalina boats in the RNZAF

Postby flyernzl » Wed Oct 13, 2010 6:13 am

Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4026 arrived Fiji 04 April 1944.
Served with 3OTU at Lauthala Bay as GF-D
Damaged in heavy landing Lauthala Bay 21Dec44, restored.
Declared surplus 1951, Disposal #3796. SOC, broken up at Hobsonville in 1952.

Image
Last edited by flyernzl on Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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