A short history of Consolidated PBY-5A Bu number 46633
The Catalina with the Bureau number 46633 was built as a Consolidated model 28-5A PBY-5A (construction number 1997) in late 1944 at New Orleans in Louisiana in the USA. Then it was delivered to the United States Navy in January 1945. The machine was withdrawn from service in November 1952 and stored at Naval Air Service Litchfield Park, Arizona. It was struck off charge in 1956, sold and registered as N10023 to Trade Ayer, Linden, New Jersey. In July 1957 it was sold to Miron and Freres of Montreal, Quebec, in Canada (registered as CF-MIR).
CF-MIR was subsequently converted to a model 28-5ACF Super Canso 1000 twenty-two passenger transport by Timmins Aviation at Montreal. Two 1,700 hp Wright R-2600 Cyclone fourteen-cylinder double-row air-cooled radials replaced the original 1,200 hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830s; the bow and rear turrets and all other military equipment were removed, a ventral air-stair was fitted, and the tail area was increased with the fitting of a new, larger rudder with a squared off tip. CF-MIR took to the air again on 9 December 1960. The aircraft was registered to Laurentian Air Services of Ottawa, Ontario, in September 1964.
In 1965 the machine was registered to Survair, also at Ottawa, while in July 1967 it was registered in the USA to Equitable Leasing at Burbank, California, as N608FF. Subsequently it was leased to Firefly of Portland, Oregon, Aeroservice of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Barringer Research of Toronto, Canada. 1970 saw the aircraft again registered in Canada (as CF-MIR to Geoterrex of Ottawa) and fitted with a MAD boom used in survey operations in Europe and South Africa (in South Africa the aircraft carried the registration in the style CF-MIR as well as C-FMIR) till Geoterrex retired it from service in 1984. The registration was cancelled on 14 December, as the aircraft was sold to the UK.
Subsequent to that the machine’s identity record underwent some changes. On 17 December 1984 ex-C-FMIR was registered as G-BLSC to John Watson and John Wilson of Plane Sailing Air Displays at Duxford. The following February (the 14th) it left South Africa for the UK, staging through Zambia, Sudan, Egypt, Italy, France, arriving at RAF Barkston Heath, Lincolnshire, on 20 February (where it received the RAF marking JV928/Y. On 4 February 1994 the UK registration was cancelled and transferred to Bermuda, where it became VR-BPS (registered to the same owners), being reregistered VP-BPS in 1996. The aircraft was severely damaged on 27 July 1998, when upon landing on the Solent near Netley, Southampton, water entered the aircraft through the nose and the aircraft sank rapidly. Of the four crew and fourteen passengers two passengers drowned, including the Mayor of Southhampton, Michael Andrews.
After recovery the aircraft was stored at Hamble, and sold to Super Catalina Restoration the following year. The aircraft was moved to Lasham and then to Lee-on-the Solent. It was sold in a partially restored condition in 2006 and moved to Weston, Ireland, with the intention to restore it to display condition at a future planned museum at Weston/Dublin Executive Airport.
The final bit of news I could find is that the aircraft was chopped up for scrap at Weston Airport, Dublin, on 27 June 2012.
In this view Super Canso CF-MIR is seen at DF Malan Airport (ICAO code FACT) on 29 December 1974. Note that Table Mountain is visible in the background.
This close-up of the Canso was also taken at FACT on 29 December 1974 and it depicts the cartoon character Sylvester, situated on the tail section of the aircraft.
Here CF-MIR is seen between sorties. The photograph was taken at Rand Airport (ICAO code FAGM) on 14 December 1976. Some of the aircraft visible in the background include Piper Cherokees ZS-EBZ, ZS-FTH and ZS-EKH. Geoterrex Canada Airborne Survey titles and the Geoterrex logo appear on the forward fuselage.
Another view of CF-MIR, which was taken on the same date at FAGM, is shown here.
By the time this image was taken in 1982 at FAGM the registration style of the aircraft was changed to C-FMIR. The boat lineage of the machine can also be clearly seen in this view. In this view the Geoterrex Canada titles and logo can be seen on the nose section.
Here the Canso is illustrated with its new-style registration. This image is a scan from a slide that was also taken at FAGM in 1982. There are Terra Surveys titles on the tail section.
COPYRIGHT IMAGES: Gabriel le Roux/Aviationpics.co.za 2017
Note that the above text was adapted from information gleaned from various sources, including the following:
1. Warbirds Resource Group:
2. Aviation in Malta:
3. Professional Pilots Rumour Network
4. Bryan Gibbins Collection, 1000 aircraft photos (most of the above information came from this source)
5. Air-Britain Photographic Images Collection
6. PBY Catalina International Association, Newsletter 1990, volume 2, number 2
7. Aircraft register of the United Kingdom
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