COLORADO SPRINGS — People in Colorado Springs are hearing the roar of propellers and engines crackling to life as the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow takes to the skies this weekend.
FOX21 got to take flight in a piece of history, riding in a PBY Catalina Aircraft that is part of this year’s airshow.
“The World War II veterans, especially the Navy veterans, absolutely loved this airplane because this airplane pulled them out of the ocean. This airplane spotted submarines. This airplane would go on long patrols and save their lives if they got shot down over the ocean,” said Ian Wayman, Pilot of the BPY Catalina.
Because of their long-range flying capabilities, PBY Catalina’s were one of the main patrol bombers during the war.
“They had almost 20 to 24 hours worth of flying fuel on board originally. So they go on very long patrols in the compartment underneath the wing. They actually had a galley with a stove, with a refrigerator,” said Wayman.
The planes were also equipped with bunk beds back in the day as crews spent long stretches on board.
These planes were used during World War II for multiple roles and are known as the American flying boat. The aquatic aircraft was mainly used for search and rescue missions, night attacks, bombing missions and anti-submarine warfare.
“And they were18, 19 and 20 year old kids flying these all the time in World War II. I’ve had the biggest smile on my face flying it not just because of the history involved with it, but it’s a cool airplane,” said Wayman.
PBY Catalina Aircraft’s were used for search and rescue missions for years after the war. The last active military PBY’s were retired from service in the 1980’s.
At this year’s Pikes Peak Airshow, more than fifty aircrafts are on display including the latest jets as well as vintage warbirds.
Headlining the airshow were the United States Air Force F-35 Lightning Demonstration team and the U.S. Air Force Academy Wings of Blue jumping from a World War II era B-17 bomber.
This year, the Pikes Peak Regional Airshow board of directors, Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and the National Museum of World War II Aviation partnered to bring different experiences and resources, elevating the show to new heights.