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Consolidated PB2Y Coronado Flying Boat

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PB2Y - Patrol Bomber and Transport

PB2Y Coronado - WWII American flying boat

PB2Y coronado flying boat. US. Navy photo.

Used by the United States Navy, and Royal Air Force during World War II, the PB2Y Coronado was a flying boat designed originally as a  long-range combat patrol bomber and transport. It also performed anti-submarine duties.

The PB2Y entered service in 1941, but difficulties were encountered including leaking wing fuel tanks. The problems were corrected and future versions saw improvements, including a deeper hull, armor and fuel tank protection, ball turret and top blister dome. Its deep hull provided not only additional cargo space but allowed the large PB2Y to take off from water. Jet-assist was used for take-offs with heavier loads.

PB2Y Coronado with retractable floats

Floats in the lowered position on PB2Y Coronado. US Navy photo.

Although it served a significant role in the Naval Air Transport Service (NATS) in the Pacific theater, production numbers of this large amphibious aircraft were limited because of the high cost per unit. The size and range of the aircraft caused quite a sensation in the news at the time.

Wingtip Floats on the Coronado

Floats on the wingtips prevented the wings of the PB2Y from tipping into the water and retracted after take-off to form extensions to the actual length of the wing, giving the plane more lift in flight. This was the same design as had been used on the PBY Catalina. Floats in the lowered position can be see in the photo to the right, above, and in the retracted position in the top, left photo. Also see diagram below.

PBY2 Coronado diagaram with propellors

Digram of the PB2Y Coronado. US Navy illustration with aded text.

The later versions were powered by four 1,600-hp Wright R-2600 engines. Interestingly, the inboard engines had four-bladed propellers which were 2 inches shorter than the three-bladed propellers on the outboard motors. The shorter inboard blades were used to avoid the splash from the hull during take-off and landing.

PB2Y Designation

PB2Y-3R reads as follows:
PB = Patrol bomber
2 = Model number
Y = Navy's designation for Consolidated
3 = Series number
R = Transport (H would = Hospital)

PB2Y Armament

Armament included eight .50 inch machine guns and and up to 12,000 pounds of bombs or torpedoes. Without cargo there was accommodation for a crew of five and 44 passengers. But many Coronado flying boats were converted into transports, which included the removal of the nose and tail turrets. Some were used as hospital evacuation aircraft, transporting up to 25 wounded on stretchers. A basic crew included a commander, first pilot, second pilot, navigator, radio operator, and flight engineer. When used as a bomber, a bombardier and gunners would have been added, or orderlies when used to transport passengers.

The PB2Y Coronado proved its worth in combat and as a transport making it a versatile and effective aircraft. After WWII, all of the PB2Ys were retired and most were scraped.



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* PB2Y Coronado facts

Category Flying boat - patrol bomber
Manufacturer Consolidated Aircraft
Entered service December 1941
Used in
United States Navy
Royal Air Force
Number built 217
Cruising speed 170 mph
Max. speed 194 mph
Altitude 20,500 feet service ceiling
Range 1070 miles
Wing span 115 feet
Load capacity:
(-3R version)
44 passengers or
16,000 pounds of cargo
* Numbers are approximate