Rare chance to glimpse Catalina Flying Boat above the skies of the Solent and Hampshire today as pilot recreates historic race

AN HISTORIC aircraft is being flown above Hampshire and the Solent today as a pilot recreates a famous race.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 10:50 am
File photo of a Catalina Flying Boat pictured at the Shoreham Airshow in 2008.

Pilot Jeff Boyling is taking to the skies in G-PBYA, a 1943 Catalina Flying Boat, departing from Duxford at 11am and arriving at Solent Airport in Lee-on-the-Solent at around 12.15pm today.

Mr Boyling will be crewed with Captain Derek Head and Crew Chief David Legg.

Together they are flying the Schneider Trophy Race circuit in the Solent on the race's 90-year anniversary.

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When raced in 1931, the start and finish of the 186-mile course was located at Ryde, and there were turning points north east of Cowes on the Isle of Wight, and at West Wittering.

The distinctive amphibious aircraft is painted in US colours to represent an air sea rescue aircraft, and she features Miss Pick Up nose art.

Mr Boyling, an Australian, commemorated the 1913 Round Britain Race with a 100th Anniversary flight in G-PBYA in 2013.

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A statement from Mr Boyling said: ‘Now in 2021, 90 years after Great Britain won the Schneider Trophy Jeff with a crew including Captain Derek Head and Crew Chief David Legg will fly the race course before landing at Solent Airport Daedalus. Once again, he will be flying G-PBYA, Europe’s last regularly flown Catalina Flying Boat.

‘This aircraft was built in 1943 and served with the Royal Canadian Air Force until 1961. She has had numerous subsequent careers but since 2002 she has been owned by Catalina Aircraft Limited and operated by Plane Sailing Air Displays Limited. She is based at IWM Duxford.

‘This amphibious aircraft is painted in US colours to represent an air sea rescue aircraft of the 5th Emergency Rescue Squadron of the USAAF based at Halesworth in Suffolk.

‘Her namesake carried nose art “Miss Pick Up” fitting for her role.

‘After landing at Solent Airport Daedalus, the Catalina crew will be refreshed by Lisa and the team at Cafe05.

‘Visitors can view a timeline of the history of Solent Airport over a coffee and other refreshments.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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