Former coastal patrols, convoy protection and submarine hunting
Former coastal patrols and submarine hunting

Former coastal patrols and submarine hunting

Former coastal patrols and submarine hunting

The Consolidated PBY-5A Canso

Saint-Hubert (Quebec), Canada

Conceived in the mid-30s, the Catalina is a seaplane and a patrol bomber, created by the U.S. company Consolidated. More than 4,000 copies were built in United States, but also in Canada and in USSR. In Canada, they were built by Canadian Vickers, also known for building the Silo # 3 in Montreal. During the Second World War, it will be armed with bombs, torpedoes or depth charges for anti-submarine warfare. On board, three crew members, one of them acts as a guard in the central portion of the aircraft to visually detect any suspicious movement.

The aircraft was reliable and can fly at over 160 km / h for a distance of 4 800 km. In eastern Canada, the aircraft was used to patrol the Gulf of St. Lawrence and destroy the German submarines. From 1942 to 1944, despite the willingness from the Canadian government to hide the truth, more than 23 boats were sunk and hundreds of sailors and civilians will be killed by a handful of German submarine like the U-517 of the captain Paul Härtwig.

On the Pacific side, some of them were modified to operate during the night. Equipped with magnetic anomalies detectors, they were painted black hence their nickname: the Black Cats. Their mission: sink the Japanese convoys.

In total, thirty submarines have been sunk during the Second World War by the Catalinas.

Once the war ended, Canadian Catalinas are reconditioned to become water bomber, the model 28-5 (now Canadair) also known as the Canso to be more precise. After installing their tank who can carries 3636 liters (CL-215 carries 5346 liters), they will be used to extinguish the fire lights, a world premiere.

If today only few of them can fly, this one shown on this page, will experience over the next few years a second life, or even a third one. It will be renovated and incorporated into the future Carrefour de l'Air et de l'Espace, which will be open near the airport of St-Hubert.

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