Safe Harbor by James Dietz
WWII Navy PBY
A Consolidated Catalina moves lazily through warm tropical water toward the waiting seaplane tender. Joining others of its type, the Navy flying boat will have a brief respite from war to receive needed attention. Tenders provided the PBYs with parts and maintenance often not available at their forward bases. With the freedom to move to any island base, or even carry out services at sea, the seaplane tenders were an important key to the success of Pacific flying boat operations.
The PBY was a mature craft by the time World War II started with production deliveries beginning in 1936. Designed for use as a long range patrol aircraft, the Catalina took on many more missions during its wartime service including air-sea rescue, clandestine operations transport, anti-submarine and anti-shipping roles. Well suited for its varied missions the PBY saw service from the Aleutians to Australia and across the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The aircraft design saw many improvements that increased its operational effectiveness and combat survivability.
Out of active U.S. service soon after the wars end, the PBY found homes with foreign military operators and in various civil roles. Only a few of the more than 3000 aircraft built are still active today with several preserved as flying museum aircraft commemorating their wartime service.