How Plane Sailing trains new pilots to fly its majestic PBY Catalina, and perpetuate the expertise of operating the big amphibian
In almost every way, it’s out of the ordinary. While the Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina operated by Plane Sailing Air Displays may be among the most familiar warbirds on the European circuit, using the qualities that rendered the type such an outstanding long-range maritime asset during the Second World War to deploy further from home than the majority of historic aeroplanes, so many attributes set the ‘Cat’ apart from the pack. As others have departed, so the Canadian Vickersbuilt machine — strictly, therefore, a Canso A — has been left as the sole airworthy representative of the PBY family outside North America and Australasia. By its nature, the big, heavy, twin-engined amphibian makes a very particular set of demands on its crew, demands that require a core of type experience to be maintained and perpetuated. What’s more, it’s done in-house.