Portrush 2017 Preview Day 3 – BBMF Spitfire & Catalina

Welcome to day 3 of our Airwaves Portrush 2017 preview which will today cover an iconic WWII aircraft and a former Canadian Air Force flying boat.

This weekend at Portrush will see the return of a crowd favourite, the Battle of Britain Memorail Flight (BBMF) who will be sending their Griffon powered Spitfire to Portrush this weekend.

The BBMF had origionally scheduled the Lancaster, Spitfire & Hurricane trio to come to Portrush however an issue with one of their Merlin powered aircraft has grounded the Merlin powered fleet until the issue has been resolved.

The Royal Air Force Battle of Britain Memorial Flight (RAFBBMF) is part of the Royal Air Force No 1 Group and operates from RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire which has been their home since moving from Coltishall in 1976.

This year sees the BBMF celebrate their 60th annviersery, having formed in 1957.

The aircraft are regularly seen at events commemorating World War II, upon British State occasions, notably the Trooping the Colour celebrating Queen Elizabeth II’s birthday and at air displays throughout the United Kingdom and Europe. We are proud to have HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge as our Patron.

RAF BBMF commemorate the past of the RAF’s Air Combat Power – Lest We Forget.

The Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Visitor Centre is located at RAF Coningsby in Coningsby, Lincolnshire. A partnership between the Royal Air Force and Lincolnshire County Council, the centre allows visitors an up-close guided tour of the aircraft when not in use, as well as exhibits about the aircraft and other temporary exhibits.

The Spitfire was produced in greater numbers than any other British combat aircraft before or since the War, 20,341 Spitfires were built in 22 different variants (excluding the navalised Seafire) and the aircraft remained in production for 12 years. The Spitfire played a major part in achieving ultimate victory in World War Two and truly deserves its place as probably the most successful fighter design ever, and certainly as the most famous and charismatic of all time. The BBMF currently have 6 Spitfire aircraft (Photos our own)




Making a welcome return to Portrush (Especially for this admin who has not seen her in over 20 years) is the PBY Catalina flying boat.

PBY Catalina G-PBYA ‘Miss Pick-up’ run by the Plane Sailing Air Displays Limited who are based out of Duxford, England.

The Consolidated PBY Catalina is an American flying boat, and later an amphibious aircraft of the 1930s and 1940s produced by Consolidated Aircraft.

The Catalina was one of the most widely used seaplanes of World War II. Catalinas served with every branch of the United States Armed Forces and in the air forces and navies of many other nations.

During World War II, PBYs were used in anti-submarine warfare, patrol bombing, convoy escorts, search and rescue missions.

G-PBYA – The aircraft that will fly in Portrush was originally ordered for the Royal Canadian Air Force as a Canso. An amphibian, equivalent to the US Navy PBY-5A. It was built by Canadian Vickers at Cartierville, Quebec and was allocated their constructors number CV-283 before adopting the RCAF serial 11005. It was taken on charge by the air force on 27 October 1943 and initially saw service with 9 Squadron.

After the war she entered a period of storage at Moose Jaw before being converted to a freighter in 1948. Since then she has changed hands quite a few times working as a freighter and even as a water bomber in the Province of Saskatchewan, Canada.

In 2004 she was bought by ‘Plane Sailing’ and brought to Duxford and in November of 2004 her registry was changed from C-FNJF to G-PBYA.

The Catalina is operated by Plane Sailing Air Displays Limited on behalf of Catalina Aircraft Limited which is made up of a number of shareholders. The enterprise is supported by its own ‘fan club’ – The Catalina Society. The Catalina displayed in Portrush last year. (Photo and information from Catalina Society Website )



Check back tomorrow when we will continue our preview when we move onto the fast jets that will be on display.


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