Designer: Robert Sweitzer
Scale: 1″ to .671″
Wingspan: 72 in.
Length: 45 in.
Wing Area: 1400 sq. “
Weight: 26 – 32 pounds
Power Required: 2.2 – 3.7 cu. in. gas
In 1935 the Army Air Force and the Navy were looking for a seaplane that had greater range the current aircraft in their inventory. Restless about the possibility of war over water, especially the Pacific, bids were requested from Consolidated, Grumman and .
The revised PB2 at Consolidated, made larger, more powerful engines and more won the bid.
The PBY would continue to go through changes once it was received by the US military. As WWII approached, the PBY would be purchased by all of the allies and served in many roles. PB stood for Patrol Bomber and the Y was the designation of Consolidated. Initially it was used for spotting submarines in both the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans. The PBY served as a very long range spotter as witnessed by the locating of the Bismark in the North Sea and proved invaluable locating the Japanese Fleet in the Battle of Midway.
Throughout the war, PBY’s were patrol bombers, sunk many submarines, spotter aircraft, cargo planes to carry supplies to troops in far a way islands, search and rescue of downed pilots and sailors in ships and submarines that needed medical help. When the Indianapolis was torpedoed at the end of the war, a PBY located the survivors that were in the sea for many days and attacked by sharks. The PBY filled the plane with survivors and strapped them to the wings and fuselage to get them to safety from the sharks. Unable to take off with all the survivors on board, the PBY acted as a life boat until ships could come and pick up the survivors.
The most produced seaplane ever, the PBY found many new homes after the war. It would serve faithfully for many years as a cargo carrier, patrol plane for many countries, passenger aircraft, luxury flying motor home and even as a fire fighting aircraft. Many survive today, 80 plus years after their introduction.