Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 19, 2012 22:30:32 GMT 12
Boeing PB2B-1 Catalina NZ4055 arrived Fiji 27 November 1944.
Served post-war with 5Sdn at Lauthala Bay as KN-L, then with 6Sdn Hobsonville 23 March 1953-02 April 1954.
WFU Apr54, declared surplus 1956, Disposal #42/56. SOC at Hobsonville.
Sold for 250 pounds to J Sellars, Northland. To Wellsford 1958, scrapped mid 1960s
NZ4055 at Mechanics Bay
The Catalina was towed overwater to Whangateau where the wings were removed and then taken by road to Wellsford. Parked on owners property on the main road through Wellsford. Local garage proprietor Jack Sellars intended to convert NZ4055 to a houseboat. This did not proceed, and the Catalina sat alongside his house for some years clearly visible from the road. It was the first Catalina I ever saw. On family trips I used to spot it as we drove past, but was too young to do more than look.
This is the house, at Wellsford. To the right of the building is an extension (with the large windows), built at a later date than the main house. The Catalina sat in this area prior to the extension being constructed, nose towards the road.
The Catalina was shifted to the rear of the property some time in the 1960s to allow for the building work. The following photos show the fuselage at that stage. By the mid 1960s it had been sold for scrap.
I have spent many years looking for photos of NZ4055, haunted by my childhood memories. Thanks to Jim Mungall for sourcing these photos by Don Subritzky.
OK Guys, Time to get your thinking caps on ! Anyone have a clue if the overcockpit radome for a Cat may be extant in NZ? HARS "Black Cat" is looking for a radome to complete the look of the aircraft as it wartime namesake PB2B-2R. Even if one could be borrowed to copy it would certainly help the cause.
Re reply #55, Although it is often stated that these photographs show aircraft NZ4013, I am fairly certain it is actually the original RNZAF Cat, 4001. Note the Goodrich de-icer pulsating boots on leading edges, and therefore lack of heat exchangars on exhausts. I believe 4001 was the only RNZAF Catalina equipped with this system. These photos also interesting in that both were "doctored" prior to publication by having the underwing Yagi aerials "deleted" by some cunning scratching of the negatives. I think that these negatives were copy negs, and the originals (showing the aerials) were kept as a secret documents so that they would not be accidentally used to produce PR shots for the newspapers. I too have been enjoying these 'Cat' shots, taken at their various haunts throughout the South Pacific. Hope this is taken as positive feedback, as I would like to see more of them too; unfortunately the number of official shots of the earlier Cats in service with 6 Sqdn at Lauthala Bay, Tonga and Segond Channel are somewhat limited. THought it might be worth mentioning that just about every wartime RNZAF Cat crew was photographed at Lauthala Bay after "graduation" and prints of these would be available from the RNZAF Museum. There must have been 30 and 50 crews formed up all told, not only to equip the two squadrons, but also the later replacement crews. Postwar there were still a lot of the old wartime hands making up the crews, plus new boys from the flying courses which started at WIgram in 1948/49. David D
Another interesting fact about Catalinas was that earlier aircraft (from about 1942 onwards) had some fuel tank protection "built-in", with alternate aircraft on the line having either left or right tank bay fitted with self-sealing rubber tank cells, and the opposite tank having no such protection but were fitted with a jettison pipe and carbon dioxide equipment to flood the empty tank if required. Later Cats (including all the RNZAF's PB2B-1s from Canada) had two jettison pipes (and presume no self-sealing cells). By the time we received tese later aircraft, Japanese airpower was not considerd any sort of threat in the South Pacific. Also noteworthy that wartime Cats never seem to have been fitted with paddle blade HS Hydromatic props - all were of the "tooth-pick" variety with very pointy blades. Practically every other type of American aircraft fitted with Hamilton Standard 23E50 props (or the DH assembled version fitted to Lancasters, Stirlings, Mosquitos, etc) from about 1943 onwards were fitted with paddle blades - I can offer no explanation as to why this should be. David D
Post by Peter Lewis on Dec 21, 2012 17:17:29 GMT 12
During the later stages of the Pacific War, no doubt many Catalinas from the US, British and Australian forces passed through New Zealand. One of these was the RAF Catalina JX275 Frigate Bird flown by P G (Bill) Taylor on his pioneering flight on the southern trans-pacific route from South America through Clipperton Island, then a 27-hour flight to Bora Bora, in French Polynesia and so via New Zealand to Australia during the second half of 1944.
In the immediate post-war years there were several Catalinas transiting through, but as civil aviation was re-established throughout the region land-based aircraft steadily replaced flying boats and the Catalinas largely disappeared.
Moving forward to the 1970s, an ex-RCAF PBY-5A Canso N68740 visited New Zealand as part of a world tour. This amphibian Cat had been converted to a Landseaire air yacht in the early 1950s, and the owners lived aboard. During its time in NZ it visited at least Christchurch, Queenstown and Auckland.
N68740 at Ardmore 6Feb1977
This aircraft eventually returned to the USA and is now on static display at the Lone Star Flight Museum, Galveston, TX.
In 1981 a Catalina operated by the Confererate Air Force called in on its way from the USA to Australia. This was PBY-5A Catalina N68756 and was displayed in Australia as A84-387
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 22, 2012 10:37:20 GMT 12
The following photos of the Confederate Air Force's PBY visit come from the 'Graeme Cossgrove Collection' via the Devon 21 Syndicate. Thanks to Andrew Schooler and Keith Bunyan for their assistance with this collection.
Please bear in mind that most of these photos were damaged by time, having turned an awful pink hue. I have had to photoshop them to retrieve their colours the best I can.
Post by Dave Homewood on Dec 22, 2012 12:08:37 GMT 12
Some more photos from slides from the 'Graeme Cossgrove Collection' showing the recovery from Papua New Guinea to Auckland of the fire dump Catalina that went to MOTAT, and then to the RNZAF Museum, and is stored at Wigram partly restored by RNZAF engineers.
Yes. Now thats the one I remember. Not the first photos. It actually looks better in these photos than it was in reality. Hard to recognise the people in the photo as it is too dark. I can tell you that the guy on the right of the guy in the uniform is Ron Stanaway, later a member of the Confederates.
Great pictures of the Air Force Museums PBY. I hope this is their next project. Be great to see them maybe contract some work out like they did with their T6 so it can be completed sooner. I think it would be cool to paint it us as a PBY that Ed Hillary flew