Thanks to Virtual Aircraft Museum
What kind of aircraft is that huge beat up flying boat thingy with wheels?
The short answer is that it's a "PBY".
It is a Consolidated Aircraft design referred to as a "Catalina".
The designation "PBY" was determined in accordance with the U.S. Navy aircraft designation system of 1922; PB representing "Patrol Bomber" and Y being the code assigned to Consolidated Aircraft as its manufacturer.
The prototype Catalina first flew on March 28, 1935, the first production PBY Catalina was launched in San Diego Bay in 1936.
This aircraft is a Consolidated PBY-5A model manufactured by Canadian Vickers Limited. Since it's the first version built by Vickers, it's model number is "1" rather than "5-A", so it's designation is "PBV-1". Canadian Catalinas were named Canso by the Royal Canadian Air Force in accordance with contemporary British naming practice of naming seaplanes after coastal port towns, in this case for the town of Canso in Nova Scotia. The RAF in contrast used the Catalina name.
The PBY-5A model was manufactured from October 1941 through January 1945. It's features were: Hydraulically actuated, retractable tricycle landing gear, with main gear design based on one from the 1920s designed by Leroy Grumman, for amphibious operation. Introduced tail gun position, replaced bow single gun position with bow "eyeball" turret equipped with twin .30 machine guns (some later units), improved armor, self-sealing fuel tanks. Previous models were seaplanes without wheels.
The United States Army Air Forces and later the United States Air Force used the designation OA-10.
The OA-10 operated primarily for air-sea rescue work ("DUMBO" missions) with the USAAF's Emergency Rescue Squadrons throughout WWII and for several years thereafter. During the war, OA-10 crews rescued hundreds of downed fliers.
In July 1941, the Canadian government awarded Canadian Vickers Limited a contract to produce PBV-1 "Canso" amphibians (a version of the Consolidated PBY Catalina flying boat) for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Many of the aircraft were delivered to the United States Navy (USN) as the PBV-1; also to the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) as the OA-10A for rescue work.
What you called the plane depended on who was operating it, and where it was built.
It was likely operated by the 10th Emergency
Rescue Boat Squadron which sure sounds like Navy, but was Army Air Force.
According to the Heritage of the Combat Search and Rescue Professionals pamphlet: The Alaskan/Aleutian Campaign also involved Air/Sea Rescue in some of the most remote locations and harshest weather ever experienced by USAAF aircrews. Initially, Navy Catalinas provided most of the rescue effort, but as combat with Japanese forces extended down the Aleutian chain of islands and as America supported the Russian war effort with Lend Lease planes being ferried across the Bering Strait, the USAAF built up rescue forces to cover these efforts. The Arctic Training School was activated in the summer of 1943 at Buckley, Colorado. This school produced the 1st Arctic Search and Rescue Squadron, which deployed to Greenland in 1944, the 3d Arctic Search and Rescue Squadron deployed to the North Atlantic Division, and the Alaskan Wing Squadron deployed to Alaska. In addition, the 10th Rescue Boat Squadron deployed to Elmendorf, Alaska. The units in Alaska used a variety of equipment including C-64 Noorduyn Norseman and L-5 Sentential light planes, OA-10s, C-47s equipped with rescue boats, and dogsleds.
|1946, March 8||10th Emergency Rescue Boat Squadron on 3 July 1944, and was inactivated.
10th Air Rescue Squadron (ARS), an active duty squadron organized at Elmendorf Field in 1946 and mostly manned by Alaskans.
|1947, September 30||Five months after arriving at Elmendorf Air Force Base, this Catalina made an emergency landing on Dago Lake south of King Salmon, AK on September 30, 1947 due to engine trouble. There was some minor hull damage and everyone onboard survived this adventure unscathed. Many unsuccessful attempts were made to recover the plane. Several Noorduyn Norseman aircraft were damaged when they were used as crew ferries. A replacement engine was lost to the lake... The military wrote it off as a loss, after having had guards initially on the site, and rendered it immobile by disabling hydraulic lines and control cables.|
|Declared government surplus, R.S. Richards of Anchorage, AK bought the salvage rights for $58 and held them from October 1948-1978. They did not know the plane had been "sabotaged". Discouraged from restoring it, they traded parts of it with Alaska Coastal Ellis Airlines for a Piper floatplane.|
|1948||USAAF Serial Number 44-33954 Model OA-10. Assigned to the USAAF 10th Rescue Squadron.
PBY-5A/6A amphibians for use in by the USAAF for search and rescue duties. This series was redesignated A-10 in 1948. (pacificwrecks.com, wikipedia - Consolidated_PBY_Catalina)
|1978||Alaska Historical Aircraft Society, Anchorage, AK|
|1984, May||Registered with the FAA as N44BY - Model: PBY-5A, 44-33954|
|1984, September 30||Lifted from Dago Lake by Alaska Army National Guard CH-54 "Penelope", transported to King Salmon. Recovery of PBY USAAF SN 44-33954 Manf 1943 transferred to US Army Air Force Air Sea Rescue, Recovery by 207th Aviation CH-54B Skycrane and Kulis ANGB Sgt Paul Sandhofer using giant airbags to lift aircraft at Dago Lake, Alaska.|
|1985, May||U.S. Historical Aircraft Preservation Museum, Anchorage, AK|
|1987||A recovery project conducted by the National Guard with volunteers from the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum salvaged the wreck in 1987, transported from King Salmon to Anchorage and Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum.|
|-||FAA N57875 - Model: OA-10, 44-33954|
It had hydraulically actuated tricycle landing gear for amphibious operations. This model had a bow turret with twin 30 caliber machine guns and self sealing fuel tanks. During WWII it was used in anti-submarine patrol, observation, search and rescue. This model of PBY cruised at 125 knots, a ceiling of 15,800 feet with 2 engines rated at 1200 hp each. It carried a crew of 8.
10th Air Rescue Squadron (ARS),
an active duty squadron organized at Elmendorf Field in 1946 and mostly manned by Alaskans.
The 10th had itself inherited the tradition of the 924th Quartermaster Company, Boat (Aviation), a rescue unit which was constituted in Alaska on 14 June 1942, saw action during the Aleutian Island Campaign, was redesigned the 10th Emergency Rescue Boat Squadron on 3 July 1944, and was inactivated on 8 March 1946.
While operating with the 10th Rescue Squadron in 1947 at Elmendorf Air Force Base, the AAM Catalina landed at Dago Lake on the Alaska Peninsula. It was an emergency landing caused by engine failure. The lake was too shallow for the plane to receive repairs and then take off. Declared government surplus, it was purchased by the R.S. Richards family, stripped of parts and left at Dago Lake until 1984.
A gigantic recovery project conducted by the National Guard and the AAM volunteers finally brought the huge amphibian to the museum utilizing two Alaska helicopter operations in 1984 & 1987. This operation was captured in a film called "The Queen of Dago Lake" and it is for sale in our store.
If you search around on the web, you can find different specifications for the same model PBY. Different speeds, ceiling, range. This table from Wikipedia says that the PBY-5A had a radar operator, but the same pages says that the radome wasn't added until model PBY-6A.
|Crew:||10 — pilot, co-pilot, bow turret gunner, flight engineer, radio operator, navigator, radar operator, two waist gunners, ventral gunner|
|Length:||63' 10 7/16"||19.46 m||-|
|Height:||21' 1"||6.15 m||-|
|Wingspan:||104' 0"||31.70 m||-|
|Wing area:||1,400 sq. ft||130 sq. m||-|
|Empty Weight:||20,910 lb||9,485 kg||-|
|Gross Weight:||33,904 lb||15,375 kg||-|
|35,420 lb||16,066 kg max||36,400 lbs|
|Power plant||2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial engines, 1,200 hp|
|Speed max||196 mph||314 km/h||184 mph|
|Speed cruising||125 mph||201 km/h||120 mph|
|Ceiling||15,800 ft||4,000 m||22,400 ft|
|Range||2,520 miles||4,030 km||2,325 miles|
|Rate of Climb||1,00 ft/min||5.1 m/sec||-|
|3× .30 cal (7.62 mm) machine guns (two in nose turret, one in ventral hatch at tail)||2× .30 cal (7.62 mm) machine guns (one in nose turret, one in a rear tunnel)|
|2× .50 cal (12.7 mm) machine guns (one in each waist blister)||-|
|4,000 lbs (1,814 kg) of bombs or depth charges; torpedo racks were also available||8,000 lbs of bombs|
Monday August 10, 1987 - Anchorage Times
A World War II-vintage PBY Catalina rests in Lake Clark Pass near King Salmon during efforts to salvage the historic aircraft.
Times photos by Walt Johnson
Efforts to recover a World War II vintage PBY Catalina ran into a hitch during the weekend when a lift strap broke and an Alaska Army National Guard helcopter was forced to leave the plane in Lake Clark Pass.
The crew of the Sikorsky Skycrane had picked up the airplane at King Salmon for a flight to Anchorage. They set the plane down at the north end of the pass, about 125 miles southwest of Anchorage.
"We look at this as an inconvenience compared to the first efforts we began making over three years ago to get it moved from Dago Lake where it had rested for 37 years," said Ted Spencer, president of the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum. The museum owns the plane.
Guard and museum officials were trying to obtain more special lift straps to complete the airlift sometime this week.
Spencer said his museum's PBY was built in 1943 in Canada under license from the U.S. Army Air Corps. It saw no combat during the war, he said.
"Its historical significance Is from its type," he said. "There are fewer and fewer of these planes and they are starting to go into museums."
The plane in 1947 had an engine failure while flying over the Alaska Peninsula and landed in a shallow lake. "The plane was already obsolete by military standards," Spencer said. "After attempts to get it airworthy, the military gave up and put it up for surplus."
It became known as the "Queen of Dago Lake," he said. "I don't know where that phrase came from. It was kind of a navigational aid, a landmark. The lake actually became known as PBY lake."
Spencer said his group has been working to move the plane since 1978, and managed to get it to King Salmon in 1984.
PBY Catalinas saw heavy use in the Aleutian Islands campaign of World War 11. Nearly 1,200 of the sturdy aircraft saw service in all theaters of the War. About 800 were used by our allies.
The aircraft were designed for endurance and could fly non-stop up to 24 hours. Its maximum speed was about 175 mph at 7,000 feet. It typically cruised at 110 mph.
A U.S. Navy ground crew member removes the snow from a Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina at an Alaskan base, circa in 1943.
Thanks to daveswarbirds.com