The prototype PBY (the XP3Y-1) first flew in 1935 and was a significant
improvement over the patrol flying-boats then in service. Its
extended range and load-carrying capability prompted the Navy to create
the Patrol-Bomber category.
In 1939, the PBY-5 was introduced with
retractable wheeled landing gear so the
Catalina could operate as an amphibian.
The Catalina served in the U.S. Navy, Soviet Navy and the British,
Canadian and Australian Royal Air Forces in World War II. The PBY
was used for scouting, submarine patrol, search and rescue and
transportation. The U.S. Army used the Catalina under the designation OA-10.
The PBY Catalina was known as the Canso in