New Zealand Catalina Set for Triumphant Return at Wanaka Air Show!
WARBIRD RADIO – New Zealand’s only airworthy Catalina Flying Boat is set to make a triumphant return from major refurbishment work at next year’s Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow. According to a recent news release, ZK-PBY has been a favourite at Wanaka for a number of years, especially when she lands on the lake, but was missing in 2014 because of extensive work to repair the wings and fuselage of the 70-year-old aircraft. The work has been carried out in Brett Emeny’s hangar in New Plymouth by members of the New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society at a cost of around $250,000.
Brett says it’s great to see an end to what has been a major undertaking and the plan is to have the Catalina airborne later in the year. “We’ve done all the structural work on the wings and fuselage and all that remains are some fabric repairs on these two sections. We’re also taking advantage of some fine weather to work on the tail which is poking out the hangar doors.”
“Then there’s a fair bit of re-assembling work to do and we’ll need to get it weighed and re-certified before we can take her out for a test flight.”
Brett says the plan is to have the Catalina make her first Airshow appearance since the refurbishment began, at Wanaka 2016. It will be the first time the aircraft has displayed at Wanaka since the 2010 event.
Warbirds Over Wanaka Event Manager, Mandy Deans says they’re excited about having ZK-PBY display next Easter and being available for the public to book rides.
“We get regular calls from people asking if the Catalina is going to be at WOW and it’s great to be able to tell people now that yes, subject to final availability, she will be here,” said Mandy.
It’s expected the Catalina will be taking the public on flights during the airshow but also on the Rides Day which will be Monday, March 28th.
“Rides Day gives people the opportunity to enjoy the airshow and then stay on for another day to take a flight in the Catalina and other aircraft,” said Mandy.
Meanwhile, if you would like to help The New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society they are always very grateful for any donations. The Society is a registered Charitable entity allowing donations to be tax deductible. Donations can be made on their Quick Linked below or by post.
The New Zealand Catalina Preservation Society
P. O. Box 72-527, Papakura, Auckland 2244.
QUICK LINK: Catalina Preservation Society