PBY Catalina “Miss Pick Up” Flies Again!

Photo by Eoghan Smith
United Fuel Cells

As previously reported , during an excursion back in October to Loch Ness in Scotland for filming work, The Catalina Society‘s PBY suffered technical issues whilst on the water, preventing its departure. It was determined that that the aircraft needs an engine change in this challenging location. The Catalina Society supports the Canso A Catalina Miss Pick Up (G-PBYA) and is essentially her ‘fan club’.

In less than a month the volunteers of The Catalina Society disassembled the compromised engine, shipped a new one to Urquhart Bay Quay, installed it, tested it and flew her out of the lake. It’ amazing what a dedicated group of volunteers can do!

Miss Pick Up being lowered onto the water On December 1st. Photo by pilot Matt Dearden

On December 1  the Canso A Catalina Miss Pick Up (G-PBYA)  went back onto the waters of Loch Ness early in the morning and successfully flew out to Inverness Airport where she has been  inspected. After being refueled the PBY was flown south, initially with a night-stop in the Midlands as The Catalina Society’s base at Duxford was temporary closed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Unfortunately, the airfield at IWM Duxford was closed due to current affairs but would be able to open specially for Miss Pick Up  on Wednesday. If the teM stayed in Inverness for the night, that would increase the risk of  them getting stuck waiting for a weather window large enough to fly the near 500 miles back from Scotland to Cambridge. The decision was made to fly as far south as possible on Tuesday afternoon in order to minimize that weather risk. With limited daylight hours, a location in the Midlands was chosen just 100 miles from IWM Duxford. The flight south went perfectly. Taking in the stunning views of the Scottish Highlands, Lake District and Peak District en-route in the watery winter sunlight. Miss Pick Up touched down some two and a half hours after departing Inverness for her night stop just before sunset.

The photos below show 1). The very happy crew that flew the last stage from Tatenhill to Duxford yesterday – from left to right Mark Shirley (engineer), Phil Moorcroft (co-pilot), Nessie the stowaway, Matt Dearden (captain), Chris Hodson (Crew Chief) and Roger Jackson (crew member). Photo by Karen Scott via The Catalina Society

A tremendous effort by the crew and the supporting organizations up at Loch Ness and Inverness – and of course a huge contribution came from all those generous individuals who contributed to the GoFundMe appeal. The donations have been a tremendous help towards the huge cost of getting the Catalina airborne again. As we write this update the rare Canso A Catalina Miss Pick Up (G-PBYA)  should be either in the air or already landed at Duxford.

Matt Dearden, who organized the successful GoFundMe appeal which helped so much towards this week’s return to Duxford by Miss Pick Up has posted an update HERE.

Pilot Matt Dearden discovered this during his post-flight check upon arrival at Inverness Airport this morning!! Photo via Catalina Society

The Catalina Society is the supporters club for the PBY5A Catalina. Their mission is to keep this beautiful old flying boat airworthy for many years to come. By forming the society, they have brought together people who share this mission, you can join the society and learn how to get involved by visiting The Catalina Society website.

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