Flight Of The Phoenix – Classic Ww2 Seaplane Stranded On Loch Ness Once Again Takes To The Sky

A rarely-seen Second World War flying boat is back in the sky after its engine failed while attempting to take off from Loch Ness in Scotland.

The PBY Catalina seaplane ‘Miss Pick Up’ suffered severe engine failure after a day of filming at the loch – famous the world over for the legends of the mysterious Loch Ness Monster.

The beautifully-designed flying boat, developed by the US Navy, was lifted out of the water by a crane. Engineers then discovered the engine was severely damaged and needed to be replaced.

But thanks to donations from aviation enthusiasts throughout the world, the RAF Duxford-based plane is once again soaring through the skies of Britain.

The plane is maintained by the not-for-profit Plane Sailing, a Cambridge-based team of dedicated pilots and volunteers whose sole mission to keep the much-loved aircraft flying.

In total £31,390 was raised by just under a thousand well-wishers donating to the gofundme page.

Former RAF Harrier pilot Paul Warren Wilson, the leader of Plane Sailing’s Catalina operation and The Catalina Society, said: “She flies! We can’t thank the people who donated enough. It is thanks to them this venerable old veteran is once again in its natural element and we are incredibly grateful to them all.
“After being towed to safety by the Loch Ness RNLI, the Catalina was carefully lifted onto a private quay where an engine change was carried out by her engineering crew.
“This is a complex enough operation in the warmth of her Duxford hangar where suitable equipment is available. So, doing it in the open during a Scottish winter took a lot of grit and ingenuity.
“It’s wonderful to see her up and running. I admit I was holding my breath during take-off but everything went smoothly.”

When the engine work was finished the pilots had to wait for suitable weather and light winds so that Miss Pick Up could be lifted back onto the waters of Loch Ness.

After further checks and refuelling at Inverness-Dalcross Airport, Miss Pick Up headed south for an overnight stop at Tatenhill airfield in the Midlands before flying on to the Imperial War Museum airfield at Duxford on December 2.

Miss Pick Up is one of the world’s only airworthy Catalina flying boats and is largely self-funding as it appears at up to 20 air shows a year – but because of COVID, it has been to just two in 2020.

More information can be found at https://www.catalina.org.uk

All the funds raised were used on crane hire, transporting the spare engine from Duxford to Loch Ness, workshop facilities, and scaffolding.

The plane was stranded on the west side of the Loch at Urquhart Bay and was lifted onto the quayside by crane using a pair of lifting points on the wings.

The Miss Pick Up has two engines and each lasts for 1,200 hours flying before it must be refurbished.

Catalina quick facts:

The Consolidated PBY Catalina was produced for the US Navy but was also flown by the RAF and the air forces of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the Netherlands, and the Soviet Union.

Catalinas were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escort, search and rescue missions, and cargo transport.

The aircraft was involved in almost every major operation in the Second World War – notably combatting the dreaded German U-boats in the Atlantic, locating the German battleship Bismarck, and the sighting of the Japanese invasion force heading for Ceylon.

It was produced in San Diego, New Orleans, Quebec, and Vancouver during the war.

There are just 20 still flying throughout the world. Miss Pick Up is the only one located in Europe.