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Mon, Oct 26, 2020

Catalina Needs Rescuing From Infamous Loch Ness

No Monsters Known To Be Involved... or Even Seen (So Far) 

'Rescue Miss Pick Up from Loch Ness!' is the rallying cry for a project on GoFundme that is trying to keep one of the few remaining PBY Catalinas flying... even after an incident in which the bird had to make an emergency landing in, of all places, Loch Ness.

Miss Pick Up is the name of one of the world's only airworthy Catalina flying boats and is currently operated by Plane Sailing based in Duxford, Cambridge. They call themselves, "...a small team of dedicated volunteers who do it for the love of preserving this wonderful WWII flying boat."

Miss Pick Up ran into engine problems whilst operating on Loch Ness on Saturday, October 17th. RNLI Loch Ness helped them secure the aircraft following engine troubles and assisted in towing the aircraft to safety. After hopes for a simple fix were dashed, the massive warbird was pulled out of the water by crane and onto dry land -- through the assistance of funds raised online... but as the aircraft gets a thorough look-over, its obvious that they are in for an extensive and expensive effort to return her to flying status.

The Miss pick Up crew has described what they've done and what they need to do... "What was originally thought to be just a fault starter motor has turned out to be something inside the engine itself shearing and preventing the starter motor from turning the engine over. The only solution is to change the engine and send the damaged one off for overhaul.

As you can imagine the logistics involved are massive and we have split them into three phases:

Phase 1 - Removing Miss Pick Up from the Loch to dry land (actual cost over £13,000)
Phase 2 - Performing the engine change away from base (estimated cost £8600)
Phase 3 - Returning Miss Pick Up to the Loch to fly her home (estimated cost £7800)

We have managed phase one of the operation but we're still a long way from being able to get her returned to her home in Duxford.

Phase 2 will involve transporting our spare engine from Duxford to Loch Ness and then spending two to three weeks swapping them over. This will involve more cranes to winch the damaged engine off and then replace in which is not an easy task, especially out in the open and away from the facilities of our home base. The damaged engine will then need to be returned to Duxford to be accessed.

Phase 3 will involve another big crane to put her back onto the Loch along with boats to ensure it all goes well. Once back on the water, we will take her to Inverness for a final check before flying her back home to Duxford.

...If we manage to raise more than is required for everything above, those additional funds will be used to help with the engine overhaul that will be required once the damaged engine has been removed. As you can imagine, none of this comes cheap with an aircraft as rare and as old as Miss Pick Up."

As of this writing, they have raised over 2/3s of the funds they anticipate they will need to do all this, and are still seeking folks to send them a few bucks to get this aircraft back where she belongs. Donations may be made to the link shown below.



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