Nessie Landing – Donations Desperately Needed For Classic WW2 Seaplane Stranded On Loch Ness

An icon of Second World War aviation desperately needs donations to stay in the air after her starboard engine failed to re-start following a landing on Loch Ness.

The PBY Catalina flying boat ‘Miss Pick Up’ was flying across the picturesque Loch on Saturday while filming for a TV production and had just completed her last landing for this task when she got stuck on the water.

The beautifully-designed flying boat – the most successful flying boat of all time – developed for the US Navy, was lifted out of the water by crane but the damaged engine must be replaced – an expensive, time-consuming and awkward process, especially away from home base.

Now Plane Sailing, the Cambridge-based team of dedicated pilots and volunteers who operate the IWM Duxford-based plane, needs donations for the vital repairs. The plane is not operated for profit and Plane Sailing’s sole mission is to keep the aircraft flying and honour her legacy.

So far more than £15,000 has been raised by hundreds of people donating to the gofundme page, but more is needed.

Former RAF Harrier pilot Paul Warren Wilson is the leader of Plane Sailing’s Catalina operation and The Catalina Society.

He said: “The logistics involved are massive.
“Once the damaged engine is replaced we need to put her back onto the water so she can be flown home, otherwise she will be at the mercy of the harsh Scottish winter on a Loch (which as we all know is home to a certain wee beastie!) rather than her usual cosy hanger in Duxford. The damage this could do to the aircraft – an important piece of aviation history – could be irreparable.
“We have been absolutely staggered and humbled by the generous donations from so many of Miss Pick Up’s supporters.
“Yesterday the future looked bleak. Today, with the Cat safely on dry land again, there is a light glimmering at the end of the tunnel.”

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

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

All the funds raised will be used for boat hire, crane hire, transporting the spare engine and equipment from Duxford to Loch Ness, workshop facilities / accommodation and scaffolding.

The plane is on the west side of the Loch at Urquhart Bay and was lifted onto the quayside by crane, using the pair of lifting points on the wings which are designed for just this purpose – but for the first time ever, for Miss Pick Up.

Miss Pick Up has two engines and each normally lasts for about 1,200 hours flying before refurbishment. The Catalina team’s plan is to drive their spare engine to Scotland to complete the engine change.

After engine runs, the Cat will then go back on the Loch to be flown to Inverness Airport for refuelling, before she flies back home to Duxford.  The whole process is expected to take at least a month.

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.

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