Commissioned by the US Navy as a long-range Patrol Bomber and built by Consolidated Aircraft, the Catalina’s exceptional reliability and endurance found it co-opted into a multitude of roles for which it was never designed. This included commercial passenger services, and towards the end of WWII Qantas operated a fleet of five Catalinas over the Indian Ocean in a service that to this day holds the endurance record for any commercial passenger service. From 1943 to 1945 the Qantas Cats made a total of 271 crossings between Perth and Columbo, and trips took from 28 to 32 hours.

Qantas withdrew their Catalinas in 1958 and all were subsequently scrapped, but in 2009 the Qantas Foundation Memorial Trust acquired an airworthy Catalina in Madrid and set about flying it to Longreach, in Outback Queensland, where it will eventually share the tarmac with a Qantas Boeing 747 and Boeing 707 at the Qantas Founders’ Outback Museum.

Aerosoft’s Catalina for FSX has been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. It conveys a beautiful and intricately-crafted impression of all the main Catalina variants, in a collection of authentic civil and military liveries. Unfortunately Qantas isn’t represented, but join us anyway as we fly another Australian-registered Catalina into Longreach to check out the parking!

 


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For more information on the PBY Catalina please visit the product page at the Aerosoft web site or simMarket.

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Mark Hurst holds a real-world CAA PPL, which he obtained in Southern California in 1993. He flew intermittently out of Leavesden and Long Beach for a few years before the inevitable lapse, but he harbours dreams of resurrecting his licence and barging microlights around the treetops of Bedfordshire. He has been a flight simulator enthusiast since SubLogic’s Flight Simulator III on the Atari ST, and recently he rekindled his passion for aviation with the assembly of a dedicated FSX machine. In the real world Mark works for the NHS as a Family Therapist.

Nick Churchill has been providing images for marketing purposes of Flight Simulator products for several years and claims that staring at a virtual cockpit for too long can make you go blind.

 

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