Catalina restoration news 2014

Report from our restoration supervisor, Terry.

19th July, 2014

Volunteers, Nathan & Bruce have completed removing the toilet structure that was fitted when the Cat was in civilian use. Care was taken not to damage or remove any other original components. Not only does this now allow access for riveting & sheet metal repairs, there is now unrestricted access all the way back to the tail which is going to be useful during reassembly of the aircraft.

Volunteer, Warren has completed de riveting the corroded areas in the starboard rear hatch area, work will pretty much have to stop here until we have professional assistance to assist in fitting the blisters, however there is some cleaning up & priming to be completed to stop corrosion setting in again.

One of our first, and very enthusiastic volunteers, Bruce, has carried out a great job in removing all the cockpit windows. The latest photo isn’t quite up to date as I have been working on removing numerous window retaining fasteners that were either broken during removal, or just wouldn’t come out. Had to have the heads ground off! This job is very labour intensive as a lot of the original screws are high grade stainless & difficult to drill. However, a procedure has been worked out, mainly using the correct drilling speed, & work has progressed well.

I spent some time recently tracking down local sources where all the components required to repair this area could be purchased. Still going to be slow going treating & priming as we go, but nothing impossible.
We have also made a conscious decision to use 3/16 UNF & 4mm stainless fasteners in this area. Will serve just as well in a static situation – plus aircraft grade are very costly!
Have also found the plaque in the cockpit that would have been attached after the Cat was altered for it’s civilian life. Cannot read much of it unfortunately.

Finally, would like to extend a welcome to our latest volunteer, Paul McSweeney, who, amongst other things, works as a aircraft mechanic in the USA. Paul is also experienced in aircraft restoration so his experience will be invaluable.

Still appreciate more volunteers. Many hands make light work, and it is a great experience working on such a grand old aircraft.

Terry Woolard. (Restoration Supervisor)

Rear bulkhead                                                                             Port screen


Old toilet removed.                                                                                                                                                                      Old windscreen removed.

Work has commenced on ‘Our Girl’.

5th May 2014

(“Click” on photo for larger view)


PBY Catalina

‘Our Girl’

Cleaning down 'Our Girl'

Cleaning down ‘Our Girl’








A small band of volunteers, under the direction of Recovery Team Member, Terry Woolard, has commenced the arduous task of cleaning down the hull of our PBY Catalina, ‘Our Girl’.

A corrosion inhibitor has been sourced, and rivet by rivet, section by section, the hull is being scraped, brushed & rubbed ready for treatment and the application of primer coat. With the generous help of some qualified trade people, hull (body) work is being attended to, along with measuring, removal and replacement (where required), of sheet metal sections.

Anyone wishing to help by volunteering, (even the making of an occasional coffee), will be most welcome, and can be arranged by contacting either Mr David Swanson at e: dave.swanson76athotmaildotcom, or mobile 0497 605 580, or Terry Woolard e: tlwoolardatbigponddotcom, or mobile 0437 170 343




Restoration Begins.


Following the arrival of the last shipment, (centre wing assy.), of ‘Our Girl’ from San Juan, member of the recovery team, Mr Terry Woolard, has finalised categorising all the parts and sections that were shipped.

Product for treating the corrosion on the aircraft has been sourced, along with the process of obtaining aircraft grade primer coat. Work has commenced on the removal of some small sections for repair & treatment, with the help of a couple of volunteers.

As Terry has advised, “The work carried out so far has indicated that much of the corrosion can be treated without replacing sections of the skin, this applies particularly to upper areas of the fuselage. The lower hull is a different story, this is where a couple of our sheet metal workers will come to the fore.”

Centre wing.