Catalina needs help!
New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society members gather on the wing to mark ZK-PBY’s 20th anniversary in New Zealand.
The New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society (NZCPS) is appealing to Aviation News readers for some financial assistance to help them get their popular and distinctive Catalina ZK-PBY back in the air.
As many readers will be aware, PBY has been static at New Plymouth for some time after performing at every Warbirds Over Wanaka since 1996, among other airshows, flypasts and commemorations.
In 2011, as the result of a most thorough inspection, the society made the decision to undertake extensive anti-corrosion work on the amphibian.
Significant progress has been made and work on the wings is now almost complete with the main wing superstructure almost finished, while the floats, float arms, and attachments have been overhauled. The fuselage has been stripped, repaired and primed ready for repainting.
The aim is to have ZK-PBY flying again by the forthcoming Classic Fighters Airshow at Omaka during Easter weekend 2015, and with some of New Zealand’s most colourful aviation personalities on board this represents a realistic target.
Brett Emeny, well known to New Zealand airshow crowds for his displays in his Vampire and leading the Yak-52 team, is the NZCPS’s chief pilot. Peter Vause is the “Catalina Comeback” project manager. Peter has been involved with the Catalina for about 10 years and is also well known on the airshow circuit, flying his L-39 Albatros and being a member of the Yak-52 team.
This hard-working group has already raised over $200,000 for the Catalina but requires another $50,000 to complete the programme and repaint the aeroplane.
Over the weekend 25-26 October 2014, the NZCPS AGM at New Plymouth celebrated 20 years since ZK-PBY’s arrival in New Zealand on 26 October 1994, which coincidentally occurred at New Plymouth Airport. The occasion was toasted with the help of wine kindly donated by Catalina Sounds Wines, based in Marlborough, which is sponsoring the Catalina’s appearance at Classic Fighters 2015.
The NZCPS is now a registered charitable trust and welcomes donations towards this beautiful and historic aircraft (http://www.nzcatalina.org.nz/, PO Box 72-527, Papakura 2244). ZK-PBY belongs in the air as the local representative of the 56 Catalinas (NZ4001–4056) and their brave crews that served with the RNZAF between 1943 and 1956.
-Report and photography by Nick McIndoe.
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