Catalina Flying Boat to take to the skies over Pembroke Dock once again
2:56pm Monday 12th August 2013 in News
THE aviation clock will be turned back 70 years when a Catalina flying boat pays an aerial tribute to Pembroke Dock on Saturday, August 24th.
Operated by Plane Sailing Air Displays Ltd from Duxford Airfield in Cambridgeshire, this Canadian-built version of the famous Catalina will be diverting from a 100th anniversary commemorative flight around Britain to overfly ‘PD’ - which in wartime became the largest flying boat station in the world.
Appropriately the Catalina carries American markings,recalling wartime days when the first US Navy flying boat squadron to operate in Britain flew into Pembroke Dock.
This was Patrol Squadron 63 (VP-63), which flew alongside RAF and Commonwealth Sunderland units for several months in 1943.
The 70-year-old flying boat will be staging around the British Isles, following the Circuit of Britain race route of 1913, undertaken by Australian aviation pioneer Harry Hawker.
He almost completed the circuit flying a single engine Sopwith Waterplane.
Piloting the Catalina will be Jeff Boyling, who was born in Australia, along with a two-man crew.
“We are following in the flight path of Harry Hawker exactly 100 years on in the only surviving Catalina still flying in the UK,” said Jeff.
“With all its flying boat history we just had to put Pembroke Dock on our flight map.”
Strong links exist between the Catalina operators and the Sunderland Trust which runs the UK’s only Flying Boat Centre in the former Royal Dockyard.
John Evans, of the Sunderland Trust, added: “This will be history re-enacted.
“Catalinas flew out of PD during the war and played a huge part in winning the Battle of the Atlantic.”
Subject to operational requirements the white painted Catalina - registration G-PBYA and named ‘Miss Pick Up’ - will fly up the Haven and around Pembroke Dock at approximately 3pm on Saturday, August 24th.