The Consolidated PBY Catalina was a World War Two era flying boat used by the Allies for maritime patrol, search and rescue, laying mines and anti-submarine warfare. Between 1936-1945 over 3,300 Catalina’s were manufactured. A number of US Navy squadrons had PBY’s painted in a matt black paint scheme that were specially equipped for night-time operations against Japanese convoys. The “Black Cats” proved to be very successful and between August 1943 to January 1944 they sank 112,700 tons of Japanese merchant shipping. The Royal Australian Air Force also operated “Black Cats” for night-time mine laying operations from April 1943 to July 1945 to bottle up Japanese ports and divert their ships into waters where Allied submarines lurked in waiting. The last PBY was retired by the US Navy in 1957 (the RAAF retired theirs in 1952). This particular example painted up in US Navy markings at Wings Over Miami in Florida found itself in a rather unusual setting during their annual car show this year.
Note: This PBY-5 is actually a “Super Cat” variant that was modified in the 1960’s. All the military equipment was removed and the original Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp 1,200 hp radial engines were replaced with more powerful Wright Cyclone R-2600 1,700 hp engines. To accommodate the extra power the tail was also modified to provide better control. You can read more about the history of the aircraft here.