Flying Boat

Submitted: Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 11:51
ThreadID: 95087 Views:3226 Replies:10 FollowUps:13
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Caught the end of a news item on the weekend about a restored flying boat on display somewhere. A hangar of sorts had been built to house it and enthusiasts had flown in on their small seaplanes for the opening. Despite searching the ABC website and elsewhere I haven't been able to find any information about where it is. Hoping someone can point me in the right direction. I guessed it might be Lake Macquarie/Rathmines but nothing comes up in google.
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Reply By: Geoff (Newcastle, NSW) - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:00

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:00
It's not the restored Grumman Albatross that was offloaded from a ship in Newcastle harbour last week?

This one is destined to be flown to North West WA and used for tourist flights I am led to believe.

It'll apparently be visiting a few places during its journey to its new home.

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Follow Up By: Member - bill f (QLD) - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:03

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:03
Hi, Restored Catalina. Looks like a really good job with a purpose built hangar. On the shores of a lake but missed whereabouts. Bill
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Reply By: wombat100 - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:06

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:06
There is a restored (and flying) Catalina based at the Albion Park Museum (just south of Wollongong).
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Reply By: wombat100 - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:08

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:08
Check out
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:56

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:56
Thanks. I already did.
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Reply By: Member - Adrian M (SA) - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:20

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:20
Try this site.


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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 13:17

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 13:17
Thanks Adrian. Sounds like the one.

ABC Catalina comment

The audio interview at the bottom of my ABC link with former Sergeant-Armourer Air Gunner Keith Farrell is very interesting. Recommended listening.

"All Cats were black".
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Follow Up By: Member - Adrian M (SA) - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 13:48

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 13:48
Very interesting listening. Thank you for that.

I forwarded the link onto my father, who was in Orions for quite a while, as he has an interest in the Catalina's as they were the precursor to the anti-submarine/maritime recon role that the Orions perform today.

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Follow Up By: Iain M - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 15:37

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 15:37
Fantastic museum at Lake Boga. The Cat there is basically an empty shell, including the engine cowls unfortunately.
A working aircraft has been flown to Australia and a mate saw it at Longreach last year, it did a fly-by at Lake MacQuarie, but was not allowed to land on the lake.
It did how ever "wet its hull" to the supporters delight.
A mate said that when restored it is going to be on display at Longreach.

Looks like thes guys are trying to get a flying aircraft for their facility at Rathmines
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Follow Up By: Member - Peter E1 (VIC) - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 18:32

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 18:32
I was part of the crew on an 11sqn Orion that did the flypast for the old "girl" when it was set up next to the lake in 1985 I think it was. We did a timed run from Swan hill airport to be overhead as it was unveiled at 11am. We then spent about 30 minutes flying around Lake Boga.
The lake was a pretty big maintenance base for flying boats in WW2. Great to see the museum up and running. I must visit soon.
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Reply By: garrycol - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:22

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 12:22
This is it

Catalina Museum
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 13:21

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 13:21
Yep, thanks Garry.
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Reply By: blue one - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 19:04

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 19:04
A mate of mine was one of the pilots who flew her back to Aus. He had a ball.
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Reply By: Bob Y. - Qld - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 20:06

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 20:06

Longreach also has a Catalina, that arrived there last year.

Think it came from Spain, and spent some time in Asia, as it "did" an engine near there, on way to Australia. Was restored by some enthusiatists, some of whom were members of the "Double sunrise Club".

Sits out in front of the 747, and 707, already there, It's minute by comparison!!!


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Reply By: Inflataduck - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 20:17

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 20:17
there was a bit on one tonight on tv showed it on sydney harbour & was off to fly to Darwin & stopping at as many old fly boat depots as it could, just caught the tail end of it as well, but think it was privately owned. It was painted blue & white
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 20:30

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 20:30
Probably this one
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Reply By: Ron N - Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 23:27

Monday, Apr 23, 2012 at 23:27
Bazooka - Pprune is the forum for all things aviation. Search for "Catalina" and you'll get some amazing stories.
I have an original copy of the book, "Qantas Empire Airways - Western Operations Division - Indian Ocean Service - 1943-1946".

This book outlines the incredible performance of the Catalinas that Qantas operated from Perth to Ceylon during WW2.
This air route of just over 3500 NM was the longest air route in the world at that time, and it set records that weren't beaten until the advent of the 4 engine airliners that appeared around 1953.

The Catalinas did 271 crossings of the Indian Ocean without a single failure of engine or hull. These aircraft were an incredible machine, and it's sad to know that they met their end by being scuttled off the coast of W.A. after the War, because of Lend-Lease demands.

Pprune -

Cheers - Ron.
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Follow Up By: Member - Vince M (NSW) - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 07:46

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 07:46
I remember one at Shute Harbour Qld it had been converted to a hose boat in the 70's & 80's it was still floating about, saw it again in the late 90's & was very sad.
Close to me is one of the depots (St Georges Basin) all that's left now is the ramp, wharf & officers mess but I would love to sea the one that's still flying at Albion Park NSW come & land & take off, was surprised to learn that they have sections of canvas on the wings. when I went for a flight in it
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Follow Up By: Ron N - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 11:39

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 11:39
There's a lot of nostalgia about the Catalinas, but in reality, they were a crude nightmare for the crew.

Most of the Catalina crews lost serious amounts of hearing - not because of the open exhausts, that are set on the top of the engines - but by propellor tip scream, as the tips travel at near-supersonic speed, and are only a few feet from the cabin.

Add in no pressurisation, no insulation, cabin temperatures that were often around -14°C, seating that was far from comfortable, a toilet that was rudimentary - and you have to admire the crews, more than the plane.

The Catalinas that took off from Perth for Koggala Lake in Ceylon were so overloaded with fuel (7 tons of fuel, 4 tons over the manufacturers original MTOW rating), that an engine failure within the first 10 hrs flying, meant ditching was a certainty.

This wasn't helped by the fact that no fuel dump valves were fitted to early Catalinas - meaning, that if they ditched, they ditched with up to 7 tons of high-octane aviation petrol on board.
When dump valves were fitted on later Catalinas, the crews then had to face the fact that they were dumping tons of fuel into a slipstream, that also featured red-hot exhausts and exhaust flame!

In the first few hours out of Perth and Koggala Lake, the Catalinas struggled to make 1000' elevation, such was their massive load.
They were so heavily loaded on takeoff, that even several miles after takeoff from Crawley, they still barely managed to clear the tops of the Fremantle road and rail bridges.

The average run time between Perth & Koggala Lake was 27 hrs, with one trip taking 32 hrs.
The crews and passengers saw two sunrises on the trip, thus giving the "Double Sunrise" name to the trip.
Qantas made special certificates for any passenger making the trip, and these Double Sunrise certificates are collectors items.

However, the Catalina crews on the Double Sunrise run got bugger all accolades, no war medals, no awards, nothing. This was because they were civilians, operating a civilian air service.

However, the quasi-military use of Qantas crew and aircraft during WW2 was SOP for the Govt - and the Japs regarded anything flying with Australian markings as prime targets.

Yet, the Double Sunrise crews (and most Qantas crews during WW2) got no armaments, no protection, had no communications (radio blackout), and had to fly through enemy airspace on a daily basis - as well as putting up with the aforementioned physical deprivations.

Qantas lost a lot of aircraft and crews (as well as passengers) to enemy aircraft attacks during WW2 - yet the Govt barely acknowledged their efforts.
However, the "hero pilots" that operated from Darwin, PNG, and the Pacific Islands, got massive accolades and multiple medals and awards.
Not to take anything away from the hero pilots - but at least they had heavily armed and powerful fighters and bombers to face the Japs in.

The lack of Govt recognition of the Qantas and Double Sunrise crews wartime efforts, is a sad indictment on the Govt and those in power at the time.
Even decades afterwards, as awards were handed out belatedly, the Qantas and Double Sunrise crews still got nothing.

All the Double Sunrise crews are dead now, apart from one - Rex Senior, a FO and navigator. So the only recognition the crews get now is posthumous recognition.
Rex Senior has written up the story of his Double Sunrise service, and placed it on the web. It's the most interesting 25 pages of reading you'll get for a long time.

Last DS pilot dies -

Rex Seniors DS story -
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:35

Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012 at 17:35
Thanks Ron. Yet more fascinating history revealed by EO forumites. Haven't looked at the links yet but I will.

The opposition to recognition of civilian war efforts is quite strange. Not the first time I've heard of it unfortunately.
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Reply By: Jarse - Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 19:06

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012 at 19:06
The aircraft on the weekend was a Grumman Albatross, and not a Catalina.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 01:01

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 01:01
The story on the ABC last weekend was the opening of the new section of the Catalina Museum at Lake Boga.

I spent this afternoon there looking over the relocated exhibitions. The PBY was out in the open for many years, it has now been restored and is now under cover. The small display pieces around it were previously in the communications bunker next door. The bunker is now being set up to resemble the operations room and radio receiving base that was there through the war. A similar bunker is south of the town on the other side of the rail line. It was the transmitting station, it is now just a derelict concrete shell.

The bunker was one of the typical sunken concrete structures that had a small section of its length sticking out of the ground to run the transmission lines through. There were a pair of these at all the RAAF bases that had HF transmitting and receiving installations. Some were taken over by DCA after the war and were used for their HF transmitting stations. I worked in one at Dubbo in the 60s. There is a similar one operating as a museum at Mallacoota.
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Follow Up By: Member - Rod N (QLD) - Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 09:06

Thursday, Apr 26, 2012 at 09:06
We were there the end of last year, a week after they had completed the building and had just opened it for business. They built the building around the Cat so they didn't have to move it. I think the Lions club has a lot to do with the museum.
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