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Sea Planes and Float Planes

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  • Sea Planes and Float Planes

    The heyday of float planes and their bigger cousins the Sea Planes was World War II.

    During World War II Float Planes in the USN they were mainly carried by cruisers and battleships. Other navies also carried them on battleships and cruisers. The Germans also had them on of some their commerce raiders. And some nations had the few oddball submarine aircraft carriers. And some operated from harbors. If equipped with wheels they could also operate from run ways. From ships they would be launched from catapults.


    The bigger Sea Planes operated from bases and could take off from runways or the water. The USN and some other navies had Sea Plane Tenders. The Sea Plane Tenders supported Sea Planes, providing them maintenance supplies and fuel.

    In how heavy seas (sea state) could Sea Planes and Float Planes take off and land in?

    I have seen accounts of Sea Plane Tenders setting up in atolls to give a sheltered area to launch their seaplanes.

    I have also seen lots of accounts float planes in the Pacific Theater. Not near as many in the Atlantic.

    Float Planes would have been handy during the early days of the battle of the Atlantic. In the period before widespread use of escort carriers in the Mid Atlantic air gap.

    Were the seas too heavy in the Mid Atlantic for these aircraft to operate?
    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
    Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

  • #2
    Any flight training manuals available from that era telling a pilot what kind of water conditions he can land on?

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    • #3
      Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post
      Any flight training manuals available from that era telling a pilot what kind of water conditions he can land on?
      No luck finding any manuals.
      "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
      Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 17thfabn View Post

        No luck finding any manuals.
        I can't find anything specific, only tales, I guess one PBY landed in the open ocean to collect survivors of the USS Indianapolis?

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        • #5
          Typically, float planes could land in up to about sea state 3-ish. Here's photo of close to about the max roughness one could manage:



          The way it worked was the ship would turn into the sea / waves and create a patch of calmer water in its wake. The floatplane would then land and taxi up to the ship's stern or alongside. A Hein mat would be streamed over the side. This was sort of like a cargo net of metal rope that the plane could ride up onto and hook(s) in the float would catch on the mat keeping the plane in position. The second crewman would then exit the cockpit





          to do a little bit of risky trying to hook the plane to the ship's crane. Once that happened, the plane was hoisted aboard.

          For seaplanes the sea state might go to 4 depending on the model (larger = better / higher sea state usually). These would land and then for the non-amphibious types they'd taxi up to a ramp where they'd be put on the equivalent of a boat trailer and pulled ashore.

          For seaplane tenders, the procedure was much like for floatplanes only the seaplane was usually taxiing up to the ship at anchor.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by OttoHarkaman View Post

            I can't find anything specific, only tales, I guess one PBY landed in the open ocean to collect survivors of the USS Indianapolis?

            Found this. One of the PBY landed in heavy seas to rescue USS Indianapolis survivors. It was unable to take off, but was used as a refuge until rescue ships arrived.

            https://www.dc3dakotahunter.com/blog...-shark-attack/

            "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it" Beatrice Evelyn Hall
            Updated for the 21st century... except if you are criticizing islam, that scares the $hii+e out of me!

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            • #7
              Been digging around for books, like to find one on Japanese seaplanes and floatplanes

              4b239563a7361ba3d8eb0695f381aa94.jpg
              Before the advent of radar and other electronic devices aboard warships, the jobs of seeking out the enemy and spotting naval gunfire fell to the floatplane scouts.
              d829e24246aa081edd7699d6a32a1db4.jpg
              Several books have been written about US naval air patrol operations in World War II, but none do full justice to the role played by patrol squadrons of the US Navy in the longest, most bitterly fought campaign of the war, the Battle of the Atlantic. From the Arctic to the Equator, anti-submarine aircraft of the US Navy patrolled both sides of the stormy Atlantic alongside their Allied counterparts. They escorted merchant convoys through the submarine-infested waters, protecting the crucial lifeline from the United States to Great Britain and the Mediterranean that carried troops and supplies for the ultimate liberation of North Africa and Europe. The PBY Catalina, in which most of these vital missions were flown, was the most successful flying boat ever designed. Built in greater numbers than any other, it served the maritime air forces of all principle Allied nations, as well as the four branches of the US military. Except for a handful of Martin PBM Mariners, the Catalina was the only long range patrol bomber in the US Navy's inventory when the USA entered World War II. Though considered obsolete in 1939, it served in significant numbers until war's end and for many years after. Its total contribution to victory can only be surmised and the number of ships and lives saved by the PBY's mere presence over convoys will never be known. However, US Navy PBYs sank 19 Axis submarines, all identified by the author from contemporary evidence. Photographs of the Catalina in service in the Atlantic are rare but the author has assembled over 80 through research in official archives and private collections.
              b37e9a9202045bc5d9287051a1575e30.jpg
              Although designed in the mid-1930s and in squadron service several years prior to the Pearl Harbor attack, the PBY Catalina proved its soundness in combat throughout the four years that the World War 2 raged across the Pacific. Deadly in its primary role as a submarine hunter, the PBY was the scourge of the Imperial Japanese Navy's submarine force. Its amphibious traits also made the aircraft well suited to air-sea rescue, and thousands of Allied airmen were saved from a watery grave by PBY crews. Using personal interviews, war diaries and combat reports combined with original Japanese records and books, Louis B Dorny provides a view on the role of the Catalina from both sides of the war. Illustrated with over 80 photographs and color profiles detailing aircraft markings, this is the definitive history of and insight into the PBY's use by the US Navy and Allied forces in the Pacific during World War 2.




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              • #8
                Here is some pictures from "U.S. Navy Floatplanes"

                001.jpg

                You can see the calm area of the wake best in this picture

                002.jpg

                I never knew until now, as Gardner pointed it out, that they latched on to this thing! You can see the flags of the sled in his first picture fairly well.


                003.jpg

                Looks frightening to me!


                004.jpg
                Last edited by OttoHarkaman; 12 Jan 20, 19:45.

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