Click HERE to see the individual compartments on the is beautiful PBY!

On the 28th of May, 1944, a PBY-5, Number FP-216, was involved in a water-looping accident in East Bay, Pensacola, Florida that resulted in strike damage to the airplane. The historian for the PBY Catalina International Association (PBY CIA), I. James Morrison, was stationed at Pensacola at the time. According to his recollections, the aircraft was parked on the seaplane ramp used by Training Squadron VN8D-8A for some time after the accident. waiting to be stricken, until an enterprising Safety Training Officer convinced his superiors that, rather than scrapping the airplane, it could be turned into a training exhibit. Accordingly, he made arrangements to have the entire hull built into the back wall of what was then Survival Training Unit Building at the Naval Air Station. Half of the hull was inside the building and the other half was outside, with the outer wing panel was removed, leaving the stub wing and starboard engine in place. On the inside, the port wing wing was totally removed. The imaginative Training Officer then arranged for the Naval Air Station Assembly and Repair (A & R) Department to selectively remove the metal skin all along the half of the hull inside the building, exposing to view all the inside compartments and operator stations, including the "tower" which is the flight engineer's station inside the cabane strut between the wing and the hull.
There it remained, intriguing countless Naval Aviators in training, until the mid-90s when plans were made to demolish the Survival Training Building and convert its site to other uses. The future of FP-216 was uncertain.

The PBY CATALINA INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION, a non-profit organization whose mandate is to promote enjoyable camaraderie within the Catalina flying boat international community, became aware of this "once in a lifetime" specimen while holding its 1995 annual reunion in Pensacola and investigated what might be in store for it in the future. It was learned that FP-216 was the property of The National Museum of Naval Aviation and that there were no plans for it beyond its being saved when the building was demolished. In consultation with the Museum, the PBY CIA learned that there are avenues for groups, such as the PBY CIA, to provide the funding support to proceed with a restoration project because, otherwise, it might take several years before they would be able to undertake the operation. After a survey of the members revealed that the Association had the capability of effective fund raising, the PBY CIA was instrumental in organizing a non-profit corporation to solicit, raise and disburse funds to finance the Cutaway PBY Display within The National Museum of Naval Aviation at the Naval Air Station, Pensacola Florida.


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