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PB4Y-2 Naval Aviation Centennial

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PB4Y-2  at Naval Aviation Centenial February 12, 2011

PB4Y-2 Privateer

The PB4Y-2 Privateer in the following photos was on static display at the Naval Aviation Centennial Celebration on February 12, 2011, in San Diego California. According to the display sign, this aircraft is the only airworthy example of a PB4Y-2 variant of the B-24 Liberator bomber.

In 1945, this aircraft was transferred to the United States Coast Guard as PB4Y-2G. In August 1958 it was retired from the Coast Guard and used as a fire bomber from 1959 to 2006 under various owners. The motors were replaced with 1,700 hp Curtiss-Wright Cyclone engines when it was converted into a tanker for fire bombing.


PB4Y-2  at Naval Aviation Centenial February 12, 2011

Sold at auction in August 2006, a comprehensive inspection, maintenance, repair and conversion effort was started on this aircraft. The fire suppression tanks were removed to restore fuselage interior space and bomb bay doors were refitted for the first time in over 50 years. The aircraft retains its well know fire fighting paint scheme.


As for the design history of the Privateer in general, the PB4Y-2 evolved as a modified version of the B-24 Liberator to fit the specification of the U.S. Navy during WW II. Modifications included an additional top turret, new waist-powered turrets, longer nose and a single vertical tail place of the B-24s twin tails.


PB4Y-2 tail view

Additionally, the Liberator's turbo superchargers were removed and replaced with supercharged Pratt and Whitney R-1830s since the Navy patrol missions were flown at lower altitudes than the B-24s. Many PB4Y-2s were also modified to have an Erco ball turret installed in the nose to fend off bow attacks and for strafing in anti-submarine warfare.

In the service of the US Coast Guard, beginning in 1945, PB4Y Privateers were used for search and rescue missions and weather reconnaissance. The designation PB4Y was changed to P4Y in 1951.


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PB4Y-2 Privateer - American Aircraft

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