Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to our campaign to rescue our beloved Catalina, Miss Pick Up, pictured here on Loch Ness just after she ran into engine problems on Saturday 17th October (Photo credit: Eoghan Smith).
Now that we have exceeded our funding target, all additional funds raised will help pay for the repair costs of the damaged engine (estimated at £25,000) and help preserve the future of keeping Miss Pick Up in the air for years to come.
We are also very thankful to the RNLI Loch Ness for helping us secure the aircraft following the engine troubles and for towing her to safety. After a few stressful and worrying days, we were finally able to crane her onto dry land on 22nd October.
Photo credit: Garry Short
Miss Pick Up is one of the world's only airworthy Catalina flying boats and is currently operated by Plane Sailing based in Duxford, Cambridge. We are a small team of dedicated volunteers who do it for the love of preserving this wonderful WWII flying boat. You can read more about our aircraft and how we keep her flying for all to see on our website here: https://www.catalina.org.uk
What was originally thought to be just a faulty starter motor has turned out to be something inside the engine itself shearing and preventing the starter motor from turning the engine over. The only solution is to change the engine and send the damaged one off for overhaul. Thanks to the generosity of everyone who has donated here, we are now able to fund the rescue mission which as you can imagine, involves some massive logistics. We have split them into three phases:
Phase 1 (completed) - Removing Miss Pick Up from the Loch to dry land (actual cost over £13,000)
Phase 2 (in progress) - Performing the engine change away from base (estimated cost £8600)
Phase 3 - Returning Miss Pick Up to the Loch to fly her home (estimated cost £7800)
We have managed phase one of the operation and are around half way through phase 2 (updated 10th Nov) but we're still a long way from being able to get her returned to her home in Duxford.
Phase 2 involves transporting our spare engine from Duxford to Loch Ness and then spending two to three weeks swapping them over. This will involve more cranes to winch the damaged engine off and then replace in which is not an easy task, especially out in the open and away from the facilities of our home base. The damaged engine will then need to be returned to Duxford to be accessed.
Phase 3 will involve another big crane to put her back onto the Loch along with boats to ensure it all goes well. Once back on the water, we will take her to Inverness for a final check before flying her back home to Duxford.
Photo credit: David Barlow
All funds raised here will be received by Plane Sailing Ltd, who operate and manage the Catalina, and used to help with the various costs involved in rescuing her from the Loch and flying her safely back to our home in IWM Duxford, Cambridge. These are currently estimated to be, but not limited to:
- Crane hire to extract the aircraft from the Loch
- Boat hire
- Transporting our spare engine from Duxford to Loch Ness
- Another crane to remove the damaged engine and hoist the replacement into place
- Workshop facilities for engine preparation
- Scaffolding built to access the engine once on dry land
- Crane hire to put her back onto the Loch
As we have now surpassed our original funding target, any additional funds will be used to help with the engine overhaul that will be required once the damaged engine has been removed. As you can imagine, none of this comes cheap with an aircraft as rare and as old as Miss Pick Up.
Thank you for taking the time to read our plight and please be assured that every donation, no matter how small, will help us to rescue our old lady and keep her flying for future generations to enjoy. If you are planning on visiting the site at Loch Ness, please note the aircraft is parked on private property and so please do not enter without seeking permission from the land owner. When we get her back to Duxford, please come and see us in the hangar and tell us that you donated. We would love to thank you in person!
- Lorenzo Labrador
- Life L044
- Tim Crook-Giles
- David Bradbrook
- David Hart