Catalinas were produced than any other patrol
plane in aviation history. It all started in 1932, when the US Navy issued a requirement for a new
with a 3,000-mile range, 100 mph speed and a gross weight of 25,000
pounds. Several aircraft companies competed for the contract. Consolidated, then at Buffalo, N. Y., was the
last big winner of the competition with the P2Y series in 1931.
On Oct. 28,1933, the Navy ordered one seaplane from
Consolidated, the XP3Y-I, or company Model 28. It was a case of
being at the right place at the right time. Several hundred were
built over the next few years, then World War II broke and the
demand for the plane was enormous. Five U.S. and Canadian plants delivered
3,281 of the flying boats. Russia built another 150. The
"mother" plant at San Diego produced most of the
that carried thousands of aviators on military as well as
civilian missions during the war.