Vintage plane completes SA to US journey

2013-02-04 11:41
The PBY Catalina that completed the journey from Germiston to San Diego looks similar to the one pictured above at the Berlin Air Show in 2010.

The PBY Catalina that completed the journey from Germiston to San Diego looks similar to the one pictured above at the Berlin Air Show in 2010. (Tom Klimmeck /

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Johannesburg - A 68-year-old PBY-Catalina flying boat that undertook an incredible journey from Rand Airport in Germiston to San Diego, California has arrived at its destination in one piece and good as ever.

Oos-Rand-Beeld reports that the aircraft, which was built in Canada in 1945, had spent six years being restored by Springbok Aviation Services at Rand Airport, before taking to the skies once more on 22 December 2012. It was delivered to its new owner, Jim Slattery (62), a collector from San Diego in January.

The 20 000km journey took a total of three weeks to complete.

"After 20 000km, 14 stopovers and more than 20 countries, we finally reached the aircraft's new home in San Diego, California," Matt Voigt, an engineer who formed part of the crew, told Springbok Aviation Services shortly after their touchdown on 15 January 2013.

Dating from WWII, the Catalina, flies at an average speed of about 170km/h.

"I've done a lot of fun things, a lot of unique things in aviation, and this one takes the cake," Mike Castillo, one of the pilots, told local paper U-T San Diego. "It was a dream trip."

The crew consisted of three of Slattery's full-time employees.

According to Beeld, Slattery plans on exhibiting it at the Greatest Generation Naval Museum, which he is planning on opening in the near future.

Read more on:    flights  |  travel international

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