About This Aircraft Volunteers at the Lake Superior 101 Squadron are undertaking one of the most ambitious restoration projects in the history of the CAF, bringing a PBY Catalina back to flying condition. The PBY Catalina played a crucial role in World War II in long-range reconnaissance, U-boat suppression and air-sea rescue missions. The CAF Lake Superior 101 Squadron had two PBY hulks not fit for flying: one was wrecked in a storm in 1998, and the other was grounded because of extensive fuselage corrosion. The squadron decided to do something radical, and probably never before attempted outside of the military: It’s grafting the best parts of each aircraft together to create one airworthy airplane. When completed, the plan is to paint it with the identity of the PBY that found the Japanese carriers at the Battle of Midway.
Support This Aircraft The squadron has made remarkable progress since starting work in 2009. Major accomplishments include attaching the large parasol wing of one aircraft to the fuselage of the other, recovering the control surfaces, installing a nose turret, and addressing innumerable inspections and areas of corrosion. A project of this size and scope is a long-term proposition. While working on the wing, volunteers discovered that much of the internal structure on the wing’s trailing edge is badly damaged, with several destroyed ribs. The entire trailing edge needs to be disassembled and reconstructed before being recovered. Other major tasks ahead of the group include engine and prop overhauls, and a new coat of paint. When the aircraft is complete, it will fill a key role in the CAF’s aircraft collection and education outreach program. It will help tell the story of a war fought across the vast expanses of the Pacific, and the pivotal part played by the Battle of Midway. To support this aircraft click HERE.
About This Unit The Lake Superior Squadron 101 is part of the Commemorative Air Force. The CAF is an all-volunteer organization of women and men devoted to keeping vintage World War II aircraft flying and honoring the people who flew them. Here in Duluth we have a wide collection of vehicles to compliment our permanently displayed PBY Catalina aircraft and our rotating display of various other aircraft. The Commemorative Air Force has had a long and dedicated presence in Minnesota via its South St. Paul location, but is relatively new to the Twin Ports area. We are always looking for passionate volunteers to help our organization grow.