Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 3, 2012 18:46:58 GMT 12
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4037 arrived Fiji 22 June 1944. Served with 5Sdn at Espirito Santo as PA-I Damaged in taxiing accident Segond Chanel 24Nov44, repaired. Said to have seen postwar service with 5Sdn at Lauthala Bay as KN-B, but the Hobsonville photo below shows it still with the PA-I markings? Declared surplus 1956. Disposal #42/56. SOC & sold for scrap to NZ Metal Smelters for 175 pounds ex Hobsonville.
Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 3, 2012 22:57:49 GMT 12
Okay dokay, tomorrows helping today:
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4038 arrived Fiji 25 June 1944. Served with 5Sdn at Espirito Santo as PA-J Relocated to Auckland and issued on loan to TEAL Registered as ZK-AMP 16Dec1948 Tasman Empire Airways Ltd., Auckland Named 'Maroro' Survey aircraft used to establish Akl-Suva, Suva-Satupuala(W Samoa), Samoa-Aitutaki(Cooks), Cooks-Tahiti - later famous as the 'Coral Route'. Returned to RNZAF in 1951, registration ZK-AMP cancelled 3Dec1951 No further use by military, Declared surplus, Disposal #3796. SOC and B/up Mechanics Bay May 1952.
(Note that many internet sources state that "When Sunderland MR.5s replaced the New Zealand-based Catalinas, two of the ex-RNZAF machines was transferred to TEAL ". This timing is incorrect. The two civil Cats operated from late 1947 to late 1951. The last of the RNZAF Catalinas was retired in 1954 and the Sunderlands arrived from mid-1953).
NZ4038, photo is dated 28Feb1948, prior to its reincarnation as ZK-AMP in December 1948. In RNZAF service it carried the code PA-J, but this is not evident here. There are two Short boats visible behind the Catalina, so I would say that the location is Mechanics Bay.
ZK-AMP at Hobsonville, where maintenance was carried out
"Tahiti had virtually no regular contact except for the Mesagenes Maritimes ship every three months. So the Tasman Airways flying boat service offered a real bargain and only needed the island lagoons checked to ICAO standards so that the Solent could proceed in compliance wfth international standards.
The NZ Government funded the survey of the route, by providing a Catalina [resurrected from the RNZAF cast-offs] and a crew while the Public Works provided the works engineers. This was June of 1951 and carried the name; the PACSSA expedition.
The TEAL team was CJ Le Couteur and myself, both ex RAF Catalina captains; “Macko” Jackson was the Radio man; Bert Carlyon and Ron Oliver were the Engineers and there was a Finance Man from CAA who carried the spending authority etc. [Alas, I think they have now all passed on,]
We flew the Catalina to provide transport for the team and in between times worked with the PWD engineers and surveyors. We swept the lagoon areas for coral heads and identified and blasted coral heads from the take- off areas at Samoa, Aitutaki, Papeete and Bora Bora. This latter was a necessity as an alternate alighting area, should Papeete be closed by weather.
The take-off areas had to be checked and cleared over at least, 13,000 feet and to a width of 750 ft wide and to prove these the survey team spent two months; a task in which the aircraft crew took a full part.
Ron Oliver worked in a small canoe leaving markers, which really were coconuts with a long string and an anchor weight to identify where the problem coral head was.
Cliff Le Couteur, (nicknamed ” the bomber”) would dive to the base of the coral heads, carrying in his hands a live bomb of dynamite sticks with the fuse “fizzing” and place it close to the base of the problem and then, rush back to the launch to quickly get clear before the bomb went off.
The great raft we had designed on the spot we named Kon Tiki and the Samoan MOW men built it on one of the old American Air Force’s slipways at Satapuala. This was towed up and down the 13,000 ft long operating area at about 3 knots, to identify any coral heads that could rip the bottom out of the Solent as it taxied for a night departure."
Post by Richard Wesley on Dec 5, 2012 16:50:36 GMT 12
Wonderful photos of AMP, thanks heaps for posting.
The Hobsonville ones need to come with a warning though for young viewers... just heart breaking to see so many of them sitting on the grass. Pity at least one or two weren't used for playground pieces like the Avengers, allowing them to be rescued and restored at a later date. Instead I guess we all have a few pits of Catalina (and P40/Corsair) in our pots and pans and window frames.
Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 5, 2012 19:06:20 GMT 12
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4039 arrived Fiji 28 June 1944. Served with 5Sdn at Espirito Santo as PA-K Declared surplus 1951, Disposal #3796. SOC & broken up at Hobsonville in 1952.
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4042 arrived Fiji 07 July 1944. Served with 5Sdn at Espirito Santo as PA-N Relocated to duty at Hobsonville 6Sdn 25Jun1953 until retired 6Apr1954. One of the last operational RNZAF Catalinas. Declared surplus 1956, Disposal #76/54. SOC & sold for scrap to NZ Metal Smelters for 175 pounds.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 6, 2012 7:52:25 GMT 12
It surprises me that at least one enterprising kiwi didn't secure a surplus Catalina to make into a houseboat, as has happened overseas. I gues their lack of wheels hindered the idea of most farmers towing one away.
Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 6, 2012 18:39:04 GMT 12
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4043 arrived Fiji 29 July 1944. Served with 5Sdn at Espirito Santo as PA-O Declared surplus 1954, Disposal #76/54. SOC & and sold for scrap.
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4046 arrived Fiji 05 August 1944. Served as KN-A with 5Sdn relocated to Lauthala Bay Used in post-war operations at Hobsonville and Lauthala Bay. F/l in sea south of Suva after engine failure & fire 7Oct52, sunk. Pilot S/L S O Field.