The PB2Y Coronado was an American Flying Boat that served to a limited extent in World War II

Description

All versions of the Coronados minus the first prototype had twin tail fins, which is very similar to the tail unit found on the Consolidated B-24 Liberator.[1] Most PB2Ys, minus a few prototypes, were powered by Pratt & Whitney R1380 engines.[2] The PB2Y had heavy defensive armament for a Naval Patrol Aircraft, carrying 8 x 50 caliber (12.7 mm ) Browning Machine guns. This defensive armament was only present on the Naval Patrol bomber version. The transport version had all defensive armament removed.[1] The PB2Y had a modest range of 3,815 km (2,370 mi), which was less than the Consolidated's earlier PBY Catalina[1] but was still able to do 10-hour patrols.[1] The crew for a typical PB2Y serving in the transportation role would be composed of a commander, a pilot, a co-pilot, a navigator, a flight engineer, and a radio operator.[3] If the maritime recon bomber variant was being used, a bombardier and several gunners manning the turrets would also be among the crew.[3]

Variants

  • XPB2Y-1-Prototype model.[2]
  • PB2Y-2- Revised version of the XPB2Y-1 with several important additions such as twin tail fins.[2]
  • PB2Y-3- Main Patrol Bomber Version.Introduced self-sealing fuel tanks and improved armor protection[2]
  • PB2Y-3R- Transport version of the PB2Y-3[2]
  • PB2Y-4- Prototype fitted with improved engines[2]
  • PB2Y-5- Low altitude version[2]
  • PB2Y-5R- Air Ambulance version[2]
  • Coronado Mk I- British PB2Y-3 Models[2]

History

Development

The PB2Y was developed to meet a US Navy requirement for a new generation of flying boats to replace the aging Consolidated PBY Catalina.[2] Consolidated Aircraft Corporation designed a prototype called the XPB2Y-1. The new Consolidated prototype had many similar design features to the Consolidated PBY Catalina. Two examples of this include the retractable wing tip floats[3] and the high mounted wing.[2] The new Consolidated design beat out the competing Sikorski design in 1937.[2]However, the XPB2Y prototype had shown to have its issues. It's handling on the water was found to be unsatisfactory.[2] It also was revealed to have stability issues which stemmed from its single fin tail unit.[2] To fix these issues, the XPB2Y-1 tail unit was changed from the single tail fin to a pair of rounded tail fins instead.[2] This improved version of the PB2Y was called the PB2Y-2.[2] The PB2Y-2 was accepted into service with the Navy, but further tests were carried out on the new aircraft.[2]

A PB2Y-2 with patrol squadron VP-13, November 1940

The results of the tests showed the need for more armor protection and self-sealing fuel tanks.[2] When these additions were carried out, the resulting PB2Y was known as the PB2Y-3, and this version of the Coronado became the definite long-range patrol version of the aircraft.[2]


Operational History

The PB2Ys service in World War II was rather limited. It was used in long-range bombing and anti-submarine operations in limited numbers.[4] This was due to many factors chief among them was that the Consolidated PBY Catalina was already entrenched in that role with much success in substantial numbers. Eventually, the PB2Ys serving in the Maritime Reconnaissance Role were succeeded by the land-based Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer.[2] It was much more common to see a PB2Y operating in roles that were not combat-related such as a transport or air ambulance.[4] Despite the PB2Ys impressive service record with Naval Air Transportation in the Pacific, impressive cargo and payload carrying capacity and formidable defensive armament, not very many were produced due to the high cost per unit.[3] The British received ten PB2Ys through the Lend-Lease program. [4] These aircraft were used exclusively as transport aircraft flying across the Atlantic Ocean.[4] The Coronado's in service were withdrawn from the fleet in 1944. After the war ended in 1945, most PB2Y Coronados were scrapped.[3] When production was ceased, 217 PB2Y Coronados were built in total.[4] Currently, there is one surviving PB2Y Coronado, which is on display at the National Naval Aviation Museum.[5]

References

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