Moray’s aircraft enthusiasts are in for a special treat this week when a veteran Catalina flying boat will land at Lossiemouth.
The Catalina – G-PBYA – is the oldest amphibian aircraft still flying in the UK and will be visiting Moray on Thursday as part of a round-UK flight to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Circuit of Britain race.
In 1913 the Daily Mail launched a challenge to aviators that they circumnavigate the country in a seaplane. Of the four pilots who entered the most successful was Australian Harry Hawker, who flew 1000 of the 1540 mile challenge before ultimately crashing north of Dublin.
G-PBYA is undertaking the flight to commemorate the efforts of these flying pioneers, with another Australian, Jeff Boyling, co-piloting the Catalina alongside Paul Warren-Wilson.
The Duxford-based aircraft was originally ordered for the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943 and saw service along the British Columbia coastline. After a long and distinguished career under various owners it was brought to the UK in 2004 and re-registered in November of that year.
It is hoped that the current round-UK challenge, dubbed ‘Project Hawker’, will help raise funds for the RAF Benevolent Fund, with a Just Giving donations page set up for that purpose.
G-PBYA is due to land at RAF Lossiemouth on Thursday at 1.30pm.