PBY Catalina N7179Y
$30,851 raised
123% of $25k goal
156 contributors
94 Days running

The extensive restoration on the CAF’s PBY Catalina continues with the Lake Superior Squadron. Two years ago, the Lake Superior Squadron was forced to relocate to a different airport because their hangar was being condemned by the city. The Squadron members’ focus turned from restoration work to finding a new location and moving logistics. The move to the Richard I Bong Airport in nearby Superior, Wisconsin was completed in November 2018. Now the volunteers are settled into their new space and are diving back into the Catalina restoration.

The PBY Catalina is an amphibious aircraft that was used during the War for observation, reconnaissance, and rescue operations. Less than 20 Catalinas remain airworthy today and volunteers are eager to add this aircraft to that short list. This unusual aircraft restoration project presented some unique challenges, including the need to combine two different aircraft together in order to create one stable aircraft. 

Work on the center section of the wing and the right fuselage  reconstruction is now complete. A significant milestone in the project was the fabrication of a new keel “Y” cap located at station 7. This assembly required the help of a very skilled fabricator who was recently able to craft a replacement. About 35 people have collectively volunteered more than 4,500 hours working on the Catalina restoration.

Volunteers plan to work through winter despite the cold temps along Lake Superior. The Catalina is tented inside the hangar so that sections being worked on can be heated. Upcoming tasks include working on the left side of the fuselage and the front wheel compartment. Within the next few months they will be able to install the characteristic bow turret.

This Catalina is being restored to replicate Howard Ady’s historic PBY Catalina from the Battle of Midway. For this, a flat bow turret is being installed instead of the eyeball turret that came standard on the later PBY-6A models. As they work towards the goal to have a completed aircraft, they are also working to engage young people in the community. The squadron members recognize the importance of training the next generation of volunteers that will keep this Catalina flying for years to come.



Each year the CAF holds an annual fundraiser to help support and highlight aircraft projects for planes in need of restoration, maintenance or repairs. Donors may contribute to a specific aircraft project or to the CAF’s Restoration Grant Fund.

Don’t want to donate online?
Call 877-767-7175 or mail check to: CAF Headquarters, P.O. Box 764769 Dallas, TX, 75376

The Restoration Grant Fund
The Restoration Grant Fund is a dollar-for-dollar match program created to help aircraft projects with the most need get back into the air faster.

Giving to a Specific Aircraft Project
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