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Catalina Flying Boat by Chris Lord

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Canon 5D MKII Shot at Shoreham Airshow overlaid over sea image from Brighton and processed with several texture and sky layers in Photoshop, Topaz Remask and Topaz Adjust. 06/24/2011 312 Views

9/12/2011 FEATURED in the redbubble group HIGH QUALITY IMAGES Permanent Feature Page

10/31/2011 FEATURED in the redbubble group ART UNIVERSE Permanent Feature Page

11/1/2011 FEATURED in the redbubble group 100 – 499 VIEWS

01/04/2012 FEATURED in the redbubble group The GROUP Permanent Feature Page

The Consolidated PBY Catalina was an American flying boat of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft. It was one of the most widely used multi-role aircraft of World War II. PBYs served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other nations. In the United States Army Air Forces and later in the United States Air Force their designation was OA-10. A Canadian-built PBY would be familiarly called a Canso. During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escorts, search and rescue missions (especially air-sea rescue), and cargo transport. The PBY was the most successful aircraft of its kind; no other flying boat was produced in greater numbers. The last active military PBYs were not retired from service until the 1980s. Even today, over 70 years after its first flight, the aircraft continues to fly as an airtanker in aerial firefighting operations all over the world. The initialism of “P.B.Y.” was determined in accordance with the U.S. Navy aircraft designation system of 1922; PB representing “Patrol Bomber” and Y being the code used for the aircraft’s manufacturer, Consolidated Aircraft. The PBY was originally designed to be a patrol bomber, an aircraft with a long operational range intended to locate and attack enemy transport ships at sea in order to compromise enemy supply lines. With a mind to a potential conflict in the Pacific Ocean, where troops would require resupply over great distances, the U.S. Navy in the 1930s invested millions of dollars in developing long-range flying boats for this purpose. Flying boats had the advantage of not requiring runways, in effect having the entire ocean available. Several different flying boats were adopted by the Navy, but the PBY was the most widely used and produced. Although slow and ungainly, PBYs distinguished themselves in World War II as exceptionally reliable. Allied armed forces used them successfully in a wide variety of roles that the aircraft was never intended for. They are remembered by many veterans of the war for their role in rescuing downed airmen, in which they saved the lives of thousands of aircrew downed over water. PBY airmen called their aircraft the “cat” on combat missions and “Dumbo” in air-sea rescue service.

Photography has been an obsession since I was 13 years old and went off to Italy clutching my mother’s 1940s roll film camera. I’ve been fooling with computers since I bought an Amiga 1000 back in 1985. My first chunky pixelized images were digitized into that machine using a black and white CCTV camera. At last, with today’s software and hardware I feel that I can create the images I see in my mind’s eye. Visit my website at

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  • Edward Denyer
    Edward Denyerover 3 years ago

    Excellent Image Chris. – Ted

  • Thanks very much Ted. Cheers.

    – Chris Lord

  • Thanks very much Ted, glad you like it. Cheers.

    – Chris Lord

  • Yampimon
    Yampimonover 3 years ago

    Here you go again, taking me back to my childhood, I remember having a plastic kit of the Cat, (Airfix I think) and I was my all time favourite. The side bubble windows, the way the wing floats folded up to form the wing tip, the wheels that raised flush into the fuselage and the wing sitting on top of that stalk arrangement. It all comes flooding back.
    Cracking shot and treatment.

  • I had a Mosquito and a Stuka and maybe others that I can’t remember now. Those Airfix kits must have jump started many a boy’s love of planes. Happy to get those memory juices flowing for you and pleased that you liked this picture. Thanks for the great comment Yampimon, Cheers.

    – Chris Lord

  • By the way this one flew by in all the poses you mention, wing tips up and down, wheels up and down etc. I have shots showing all configurations. It looked beautiful in the air, much more graceful than you might imagine.

    – Chris Lord

  • Rita  H. Ireland
    Rita H. Irelandover 3 years ago

    Very nice image!

  • Thanks Rita, I appreciate that very much, cheers.

    – Chris Lord

  • Sheila Laurens
    Sheila Laurensover 3 years ago

    Your wonderful image has been accepted by
    All In, Editing group

    frank66 & Sheila

  • Thanks very much Frank & Sheila.

    – Chris Lord

  • Rosehaven
    Rosehavenover 3 years ago

    Click the banner to congratulate your Fellow Artists

  • Ah, here’s that wonderful twinkly banner again bearing good news! I’m pleased as Punch to find this and very honored as always to be featured in such a great group. Thanks so much Lynne, this is greatly appreciated.

    – Chris Lord

  • billfox256
    billfox256over 3 years ago

    This is one of my all time favorite aircraft. Everyone talks of the Battle of Midway, but without
    the PBY the Japanese Fleet would not have been located and history could well have been different!!!! A really excellent creation!!!! Bill

  • Wow, Bill, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I hope it brought up happy memories only! Thank you so much for this great bit of feedback, greatly appreciated. Cheers.

    – Chris Lord

  • Walter Colvin
    Walter Colvinabout 3 years ago

    Great image of a great old aircraft, Nice job Chris.

  • Nice of you to leave this comment Walter, thanks very much, I’m really happy you liked it, cheers.

    – Chris Lord

  • Colin J Williams Photography
    Colin J Willia...about 3 years ago

    Superb Chris !!!

  • – Chris Lord

  • © Kira Bodensted
    © Kira Bodenstedabout 3 years ago



  • Thrilled to find this Kira, thanks so much.

    – Chris Lord

  • Tarrby
    Tarrbyabout 3 years ago

    Great composite Chris, very dramatic and an immediate fave, Brian

  • Hi Brian, that’s very nice of you, thanks very much. Especially thanks for that fave. Cheers.

    – Chris Lord

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