|Tuesday, 31 July 2012 00:00|
The former Plane Sailing Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina, G-BLSC, which flew at air shows in Britain from 1985-1998, was chopped up for scrap at Weston Airport, nine miles west of Dublin, Ireland, on June 27. The aircraft had arrived at Weston on a low loader in January 2006 from Lee-on-Solent. The PBY had been under rebuild there with Super Catalina Restorations, who acquired the amphibian following its accident on Southampton Water on July 27, 1998 (see News, October 1998 Aeroplane).
It had been hoped that the PBY would be incorporated into a museum at Weston, an airport that had been lavishly upgraded in recent years, with a new terminal building and control tower being opened in 2005. In late 2011 the airport was seized by the Irish National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) following default by the airport’s owner. NAMA was established in December 2009 by the Irish Government to address the problems that had arisen in Ireland’s banking sector as the result of excessive property lending.
Built at New Orleans and delivered to the US Navy in January 1945, Bu 46633 was converted to “Super Canso 1000” configuration during 1960, which included the fitting of Wright R-2600 engines, a modified tailplane and a “clipper” bow section. Following many years operating on survey work in Canada and Africa, the amphibian was delivered to Duxford for Plane Sailing in February 1985.
It seems a great pity that those charged with disposing of this historic machine couldn’t have considered the Catalina’s wartime links north of the border at RAF Castle Archdale, on the eastern shore of Lough Erne, from where Coastal Command PBYs set out on vital patrols over the North Atlantic.