‘Miss Pick Up’ in trouble

Britain’s well known Consolidated PBY-5A Catalina ‘Miss Pick Up’ (G-PBYA) is in trouble. The Catalina currently lies moored on the surface of Loch Ness, where the faithful amphibian had carried out filming for American and British TV series last week.

Unfortunately, after the last landing on Loch Ness on 17 October 2020, the starboard engine would not start and a failed starter motor was diagnosed. After assessing the options, the Catalina was towed by a life boat to a relatively sheltered bay on the Loch where she was moored. Sadly, another boat impacted the Catalina’s rear hull and smashed the blister transparency. It was initially planned to replace the faulty starter and patch up the blister sufficient for a short ferry flight to Inverness.

Unfortunately the problem was not solved by replacing the starter, and after consultation of a friendly engine overhaul shop in the USA a different conclusion was drawn: the most likely problem is a sheared accessory drive shaft.

The plan now is to lift the Catalina off the Loch and onto dry land where a zero-time engine arriving from Duxford will replace the faulty unit. The lift will be done when conditions are right - and very carefully. Once the Catalina is out of the water, the engineers will also be in a better position to effect a temporary repair to the port blister transparency. The Catalina Society claims to have a spare blister unit in the USA.

The Catalina Society has started an appeal to raise funds to help pay for the repair and recovery operation for their Catalina currently 'stranded' at Loch Ness in Scotland. Any contributions will be greatly appreciated, visit the website. Many thanks in advance.


Photos: Kirsten Dawn Ferguson and Gert Jan Mentink

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