Aviation History

Iconic Catalina Amphibious Flying Boat production to restart

Iconic Catalina amphibious flying boat to be resurrected as new production transport category turboprop.

Catalina Aircraft, holder of the Type Certificates for the 28-5ACF Catalina, today announced on Jul. 25, 2023 during Oshkosh AirVenture the rebirth of the iconic and legendary Catalina as the Catalina II Amphibious Turboprop. A production re-start program has been formalized for the Next Generation Amphibious Aircraft (NGAA) Catalina II twin turboprop amphibious flying boat, and the company is preparing to take pre-orders as part of the turboprop production re-start program.

Based on the design fundamentals of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) & Transport Canada (TC) Large, Transport Category certificated 28-5ACF Catalina amphibious flying boat, Catalina Aircraft is offering two new production variants, a NGAA Civilian Variant and a NGAA Special Use Variant, both of which represent the quintessential standard in airborne amphibious operations for the private, commercial, government and military sectors.

“Interest in the rebirth of this legendary amphibian has been extraordinary. The capabilities this modernized iconic platform offers, being capable of performing so many unique missions, and in a variety of market segments, speaks to the heritage of the Catalina product line. The NGAA Catalina II is a modern amphibian with advanced engines and avionics and will offer capabilities no other amphibian can provide today.” said Lawrence Reece, President Catalina Aircraft, in a company news release. “We are looking forward to moving this program forward rapidly.”

The NGAA Catalina II targets two major aircraft client groups, the civilian / commercial operator and the Government / Military customer. The NGAA Catalina II will be the largest, fastest, longest range, highest payload, and most capable amphibious aircraft available worldwide with Western Certifications. Capable of operating from runways, grass, dirt, lakes, rivers, bays, and open water. Utilizing green energy power initiatives, the NGAA Catalina II provides civilian, commercial, government and military operators a significant capabilities expansion over many current platforms employed in amphibious operations today. The NGAA Catalina II provides unmatched precision, speed and flexibility from land to air to sea.

The NGAA Catalina II Civilian Variant is a new production 32,000 pound Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) unpressurized, twin turboprop, sea state 2 capable, amphibious flying boat designed to accommodate up to 34 passengers or 12,000 pounds of cargo operating in the private and commercial market segments.

NGAA Catalina

The NGAA Catalina II Special Use Variant is a new production 40,000 pound Maximum Take-Off Weight (MTOW) unpressurized, twin turboprop, sea state 3 capable, amphibious flying boat geared to support government and military type CONcepts of OPerations (CONOPs).

Both the Civilian and Special Use Variants are constructed using modern corrosion resistant materials, assembly practices and supportability initiatives to ensure the Material Availability and Operational Availability (Ao) remains at the highest rates possible. Many existing and proven in-service systems are employed to minimize logistics footprint growth and provide for commonality of components between the NGAA Catalina II and existing / emerging in-service aerial platforms. With an almost limitless multi – CONOPs potential from a single platform, the NGAA Catalina II offers a single asset solution capable of replacing several existing platform types, thus reducing overall Acquisition, Operational and Sustainment costs.

In response to an October 1933 order from the US Navy for a monoplane patrol aircraft, Isaac Laddon of Consolidated Aircraft designed the all metal Model 28 with a number of unique features, including a parasol-mounted wing incorporating internal bracing to reduce the need for external struts, and retractable stabilizing floats that folded upward to become wingtips in flight.

The overall effect was an aerodynamically clean aircraft far superior to previous flying boat designs.

One of the most recognized aircraft in the world, the Consolidated PBY Catalina not only served in the US Navy, but also with the air arms of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands and the Soviet Union. The PBY was involved in almost every major operation in World War II, and figured significantly in defeating the U-boat menace in the Atlantic.

Photo credit: Catalina Aircraft via Scramble Magazine and Airwolfhound from Hertfordshire, UK via Wikipedia

PBY Catalina
Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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