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Day May 15, 2009

Over Tahiti In A Flying Boat

Yesterday, I finally ordered a copy of Richard K. Smith’s The Airships Akron and Macon (aka ZRS-4 and ZRS-5). This is generally regarded as the best published work on the two U.S. Navy ‘flying aircraft carriers’ of 1931 through 1934. I was a little surprised to find it was out of print, but then I suppose there aren’t many semi-rigid airships zipping around in the skies these days.

While researching Wright Cyclone 9 engines early this morning, I somehow stumbled across a few nice Youtube videos of the elegant and venerable Consolidated PBY Catalina. This ‘flying boat’ succeeded the P2Y-1 Ranger aircraft which recently featured in one of my sketches.

The first is a short scene from the beginning of the rather sappy Spielberg-directed movie Always. Aside from the night-flight at the end, this is arguably the best scene in the entire movie.

The last video is easily one of the most beautiful video sequences I’ve ever seen via Youtube. Entitled “My Grandfather at Age 26, WW2 over Tahiti”, the film captures a few beautiful moments within the aft section of a military Catalina during World War II.

A screen capture of a frame from the Youtube video titled 'My Grandfather at age 26, WW2 over Tahiti' uploaded by user named 'spanishmackerel'.