First implemented in 1935, The Consolidated PBY Seaplane, nicknamed "Catalina", was a popular use Observation Seaplane used in World War II by America and her Allies. The Plane, unlike traditional "Float Plane", did not use Pontoons. The Plane's fusilage was in essence, a giant Pontoon. A mono-wing extended over the top of the fusilage, which featured twin engines, placed closer together (as opposed to a standard half-wing installment). Twin "mini-Pontoons" were placed under her wingtips to help stabilize the Craft during landings. 65-feet long with a 105-foot wingspan, The "Catalina" could achieve airspeeds of 196-mph with a 16,000-foot operational ceiling. Armed with (2) .30 Cal. Machine Guns, (2) .50 Cal. Machine Guns and capable of carrying 4,000-pounds of standard bombs or depression charges, a typical "Catalina" carried a 10-man crew. There were 12-variants in her production history.
Originally designed as an Observation/Patrol Plane, they quickly became more well known for their role as Rescue Aircraft, saving many hundreds of downed American Flyers - forced into "water landings". In fact, it was a "Catalina" that rescued some 56 water borne survivors of the tragic sinking of The USS "Indianapolis" (even putting some on her exterior wings). Tapped for Anti-Submarine duties in The Pacific Theater of War, a Squadron of "Catalina's", were painted Black and used for special Night operations. They were known as "The Black Cats". The "Catalina"-Class was a popular "Lend-Lense Lease" item with The Allies in Europe. Although that last official "Catalina" in Military Service was retired in 1959, the Model is still used for Fire and Coast Guard Service throughout The World.