Urgent call for donations to rescue Catalina stranded on Loch Ness

INVERNESS | The operators UK’s only flying PBY-5 Catalina are asking for £20,000 to rescue their aircraft from Loch Ness, after it became stranded due to engine problems.

This wasn’t your everyday Shout on Loch Ness…!!!More details will follow tomorrow, but all the crew from the…

Posted by RNLI Loch Ness on Saturday, 17 October 2020

The aircraft had been operating from the lake while conducting filming work and renewing its crew’s water pilot ratings. However, on Saturday 17th October, a failed starter motor meant the aircraft was unable to depart. While waiting to be towed ashore by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, another boat collided with the Catalina, smashing one of its blister windows.

The crew were rescued unharmed, and the aircraft towed to Urquhart Bay, where it was hoped it could be repaired and flown to its base at Duxford or to Inverness for further work. However, the aircraft’s operators have since determined that it will cost thousands of pounds to rescue the plane.

A GoFundMe campaign says the aircraft must be extracted from the Loch in order for the damaged engine to be replaced, before being returned to the water for the flight home. “Otherwise she will be at the mercy of the harsh Scottish winter on a Loch rather than her usual cosy hanger in Duxford. The damage this could do to the aircraft could be irreparable,” the fundraiser says.

Costs include transporting the replacement engine from Duxford to Loch Ness, hiring a crane to lift the aircraft into and out of the water, and hiring a second crane to replace the engine. Plane Sailing, who operate the aircraft, said the logistics involved would be “massive”.

The aircraft, registered G-PBYA and known affectionately as “Miss Pick-up”, is a former fire-bomber turned airshow performer, which was most recently displayed at Duxford’s final Showcase Day of the year earlier in the month. The Catalina is an amphibious aircraft, designed to be able to take off and land from water.