The Consolidated PBY Catalina

Operational history - Civil














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Early commercial use

PBYs were also used for commercial air travel. Still the longest commercial flights (in terms of time aloft) ever made in aviation history were the Qantas flights flown weekly from 29 June 1943 through July, 1945 over the Indian Ocean. To thumb their nose at the Japanese (who controlled the area), Qantas offered non-stop service between Perth and Colombo, a distance of 3,592 nm (5,652 km). As the PBY typically cruises at 110 knots, this took from 28-32 hours and was called the "flight of the double sunrise", since the passengers saw two sunrises during their non-stop journey. The flight was made with radio silence (because of the possibility of Japanese attack) and had a maximum payload of 1000 lbs or three passengers plus 65 kg of armed forces and diplomatic mail.

Executive / Civil

Air tankers