Planning stage, pby, input appreciated - RC Groups
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Oct 07, 2009, 09:27 PM
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Planning stage, pby, input appreciated


I'm rather new to all of this but in reading here I've been nothing but astonished with the wealth of knowledge and experience here. If anyone has input I would greatly appreciate it.

I'm looking to build a PBY Catalina. I'm looking for a set of plans that will allow a wingspan of around 36in +/-. (I'm also hoping that one of you will point out the flaws in my wishes so that I correct as many of them as I can pre-build.)

I have a great cove to fly her on and really no land so I was planning on not bothering with landing gear of any sort. Size wise I would like it large enough to fly in a mild breeze, 6 knots or so, but most likely I won't be attempting to fly unless the lake is glass.

I would appreciate all input, especially right now on a sufficient set of plans to use and where best to find these. Hopefully I'll hear from someone soon.

Thanks again,

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Oct 07, 2009, 09:35 PM
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portablevcb's Avatar
The Dare kit is a nice one. A bit difficult to build simply because a couple of the formers are a bit 'off'.

It is a nice flier even if it is a little fast for a PBY. Then again, I've not seen a PBY model that could fly slow enough

The Guillows one is nice too but the ones I have seen built turn out even heavier than the Dare one.

Oct 07, 2009, 10:33 PM
Two left thumbs
While you want a very small model, would you consider a bigger one if you could get lots of help building it? If so, look at the top of this section of RCG, at the Ivan Pettigrew plans and models sticky thread. Go to and take a look at his Minicat (84" span). Should you choose to build Ivan's smaller PBY you would find several very knowledgeable and enthusiastic people willing to help you every step of the way. Building one of this size will assure a much better wing loading and much easier handling than what you have in mind.

The only caveat regarding doing this is that Ivan's plans are for experienced builders, and don't exactly hold your hand as you go! However, if you've built a few complex kits, you could do it.

Good luck whatever you decide!

Oct 08, 2009, 11:33 AM
Registered User
My only problem with size is transportation. I'm in the navy and live essentially out of my car. I'll be in Florida for six months starting in January and then either California or japan after that. Anything that gets much larger than 4feet becomes a transport nightmare. I will take a look though, I can always scale things down.
Oct 08, 2009, 11:35 AM
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portablevcb's Avatar
The Dare version is set up for removable outer wing panels.
Oct 08, 2009, 01:37 PM
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paulbw's Avatar
Hi Behr,
Even given your size constraints, what Geoff was saying about going larger would certainly combine well with Portablevcb's advise about plug-on wings outboard of the nacelles. The Catalina can be quite a 'wet' hull when loaded so the lighter wing loading of a larger airframe would be a good move, if you are intending to build one yourself? Otherwise, there is a smaller Great Planes ARF Catalina that would fit the bill, but even that is a one piece wing at around 53" span - just about large enough to be able to avoid waiting on 'perfect' flying weather!
Paul W.
Oct 08, 2009, 01:50 PM
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portablevcb's Avatar
My comments about wing loading were not related to sitting in the water. It is flying slow enough to look like the real thing. My Dare version (19oz and 44" span) had a wing loading around 11oz/sqft and that was a bit high to get it really slow. At the same time it sat in the water a little higher than scale.

Given size constraints I'd go for the Dare one. You might contact them and see if you can get just the plans if you'd rather scratch the build.

Oct 08, 2009, 05:34 PM
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Airboatflyingshp's Avatar
Ivans minicat if you want to build and geared S480 motors or cheap brushless............ take a look round in waterplanes.............we can help.
Best size flyer if you went away from the PBY is the short Sealand S480 a lot simpler to build...but there are also some foam ARTF PBYs eg HPV. that size.
For an attractive PBY esq sport model search for a UK offering called Samson by Traplet publications based on a smaller twin cox design Delilah.
Oct 08, 2009, 06:12 PM
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vintage1's Avatar
a 36" cat should be very very light to fly scale. pair of 20W IPS geared or very small outrunners.

12 oz target weight.
Probably 5x3x3 props.

I am not sure such a small boat would ever fly it over long grass ;-)