Tunison Foundation, Inc.
PBY-5 Catalina

  Our PBY-5 was built by Consolidated Aircraft in 1943 in San Diego, CA with serial number 1785. She was delivered to the US Navy on 8 January 1944, given a Bu Nubmer of 48423 and assigned to VPB-73 at NAS Floyd Bennett Field, New York. As the war was winding down in May 1945 VPB-73 was transferred to San Juan, Puerto Rico where the PBY flew Dumbo missions for redeployed USAAF units. She returned to NAS Norfolk in January 1946. From Feb 1946 to May 1947 the PBY was reconditioned at NAF Philadelphia and then placed into storage. On 29 July 1947 she was stricken from the Navy list with 1,202 hours flown and sold to a civilian owner.

The PBY was known to have the civilian registration of N4002A before 1965 by an unknown operator. This registration was inactive by January 1965.

The trail picked up again in Canada owned by a series of Canadian survey companies.
  • Survair Ltd., Ottawa, ON in 1964 (registered as C-FJJG and named "Explorer One")
  • Canadian Aero Service Ltd., Ottawa, ON in 1970
  • Spartan Air Services, Ottawa, ON from 1973-74
  • Kenting Earth Sciences, Ottawa, ON from 1976-1986
During this phase she was flying long mission with a magnetometer mounted to her nose. In 1986 she was retired and sold off.

Red Stevenson of Jenks, OK is the next owner. He registred her as N423RS in June 1986. Then in July she was with Brice Redding of Reno, NV and then APEXX Company, Inc, Canby, OR from August 1986 to 1987. And then a stint with Northern Air, Inc., Dallas, TX (Dr. R. Slade) from 1987 to 1992.

In 1997 the PBY was purchased by Catalina Angels, Ltd of Galesburg, IL and painted for a new owner...GreenPeace. GreenPeace flew the plane for a year on several pollution watching activities. In September 1998 the PBY was flown to Duxford, UK and remained in the UK while her future was considered.

In May 2001 the PBY was purchased by Super Catalina Restoriations from Greenpeace. While at Duxford she was painted in the colors of the UK coastal command. From 1998 to 2015 she was only flown three times. Duxford to Lee-on-the-Solen, then to North Weald and lastly to Biggin Hill. Each stop features long periods in storage and maintence as well as ownership changes. James Lyle eventually purchased the PBY and contracted with Mark Edwards of AirVenture, Ltd to start the restoration. The decision was made to halt the work and ship N423RS to the US.

N423RS left Biggin Hill, UK on 19 Jannuary 2015 and shipped to Florida. Was stored at St. Lucie County Airport, FL sharing a hanger with James' other WWII plane, a C-47 named "Placid Lassie". Now part of the Tunison Foundation N423RS waits on fund to be raised to enable us re-start the restoration.

If you'd like to see N423RS fly again, kindly navigate to our donations page and make a donation. Or contact us for a more substantial donation.


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