The crew of G-PBYA is made up of a Captain, Co-Pilot and Crew Chief. This is the minimum crew as set down by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Both pilots hold type ratings to fly the Catalina and this is renewed annually. The Captain also holds the required CAA Display Authorisation. Only a minimum crew is permitted when performing any displays. Following an announcement to the shareholders of G-PBYA and the group of volunteers (The Cat Pack) who maintain the Catalina in such a superb condition, a number of Pilots, Crew Chiefs and Ground Crew have freely volunteered their services.
A final crew selection has been made. Rod Brooking was part of the crew that brought G-PBYA across the Atlantic in 2004. It is very fitting that he will be in the left hand seat for the flight from Duxford to Southampton and then coastal to Cromarty before flying down the Great Glen to Oban. Rod has over 40 years flying experience including both land and sea ratings for the PBY. As such he is probably the most experienced current Catalina Captain based in the UK. Also on that section of the flight will be Crew Chief, Shaun Jarvis who has been associated with the Catalinas operated by Plane Sailing Air Displays Ltd since 1996. There will be a partial crew change in Oban with John Warman taking over the left hand seat and David Legg coming on board as Crew Chief. John’s 40 years of flying experience includes RAF service on both Shackleton and Nimrod aircraft. David is a world leading authority on Catalinas having been continuously involved with Plane Sailing Air Displays Ltd since February 1985 when its first Catalina arrived from South Africa. Since 1987 he has produced The Catalina News magazine for the associated Catalina Society and acts as the organisation’s researcher and archivist, answering any historical queries. He regularly flies in the Catalina as one of a small number of Crew Chiefs and has amassed some 410 take offs and landings (163 from water) in four different Catalinas. Also, he is the author of Consolidated PBY Catalina – the peacetime record. John, Jeff and David were the crew for the London Flypast commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of Atlantic last month.