The Last African Flying Boat Reunion

AfricanThe Catalina on Lake Tanganyika on a later safari trip in August 1992. Photo: David Legg

The Last African Flying Boat Reunion

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The Catalina on Lake Tanganyika on a later safari trip in August 1992. Photo: David Legg

Written by David LeggEditor of The Catalina News Readers with long memories will recall the BAFTA award-winning BBC TV documentary The Last Flying Boat in Africa. Featuring Pierre Jaunet’s ex-RCAF Canso A C-FJCV (later Z-CAT and now in New Zealand as ZK-PBY), it described a flight from Alexandria to Mozambique in 1989 at a time when Pierre was operating trips for passengers up and down the Nile, emulating in part the old Imperial Airways flying boat routes. The marvelous documentary was narrated by Alexander Frater, author of the book Beyond the Blue Horizon about Imperial Airways routes and, at the time, chief travel writer for The Observer newspaper.

On 25th October 2017, a reunion of the BBC TV team took place in Richmond, London. Present were two of the pilots involved in the early Catalina Safari Company flights (Bob Dyck and Oliver Evans), Alexander Frater and several of the film team.

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The BBC TV crew reunion. From right to left – Julian Charrington, cameraman; David Wallace, producer/director; Nigel Meakin, cameraman; Alexander Frater, narrator; Bob Dyck, Catalina pilot; then second from left Ron Brown, sound and third from left Oliver Evans Catalina pilot. Picture: David Legg

As a Catalina fan and a passenger on a subsequent East African charter in 1994, I was fortunate to be invited along by Oliver Evans who currently flies Bob Dyck’s Canso A C-FUAW out of Victoria, BC. Needless to say there was a great deal of reminiscing about the documentary and the flight itself!David Legg is Editor of   The Catalina News, the news outlet of The Catalina Society. The club is the supporters association for the PBY5A Catalina, operated by Plane Sailing Air Displays Ltd at Duxford in the UK and its aim is to keep this beautiful old flying boat airworthy for many years to come. The society has brought together people who share this goal. By joining you will become part of a  dedicated group of enthusiasts who can proudly associate themselves with this amazing aircraft. We encourage readers to join and support the cause by becoming a society member. See www.catalina.org.uk for details on how to join.

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