Consolidated PBY Catalina (G-PBYA) Virtual Tour

This virtul tour shows the flight deck, with all the controls, instruments, and switches explained. It also shows the view from one of the huge perspex blisters in the rear. Panoramas of the other sections of the Catalina's fuselage will follow.

The client is the The Catalina Society, the home of Plane Sailing, based at the Imperial War Museum Duxford in Cambridgeshire, UK.

"Many thanks indeed for this wonderful piece of work! It&#39;s great that people will be able to take a look in the Catalina with so much detail - and this will also be useful for our own training purposes."
Paul Warren Wilson (Director / Chief Pilot, Plane Sailing Air Displays Ltd)

The main objective of the Catalina Society is to keep a Catalina flying boat airworthy. The interactive panorama (that will be extended to a virtual tour of the whole fuselage in the near future) on their website will draw attention to the aircraft and the society, to keep the Catalina flying.

The panorama on the Catalina Society website can be seen here

Equipment used:

  • Canon 5D Mark II with Really Right Stuff L-Plate
  • Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens at 24mm
  • Gitzo G1325 carbon fibre tripod
  • Really Right Stuff BH-55 ball head and Multi-Row Pano Elements Package
  • Really Right Stuff carbon fibre monopod with MH-01 Pro momopod head for nadir shots
  • Notebook computer with remote camera control software

How it was done:
All photography has been done with the camera remotely controlled via a laptop computer. The main challenges here have been the difficult light- and weather conditions on the day, from heavy rain to bright sunshine.

To have every detail in focus, from the closest to the lens to the furthest (almost infinite), focus stacking has been used. All photography has been done with available light only, using exposure bracketing. The combination of focus stacking and exposure bracketing means a large number of photos: The cockpit section is based on around 600 photos.

The resulting photos have been processed using focus stacking software. Instead of using HDR processing to cope with the bright windows and the relative darkness in the cockpit, images showing the windows correctly exposed, and other images showing the interior correctly exposed, have been combined.. The resulting images have been edited, then stitched together, edited again, and then turned into a spherical panorama.

Technical information:
This virtual tour exists in two different versions: One is using, if available, the Adobe Flash Player, the other uses HTML5. The Flash version will be used only if a browser does not support HTML5. The HTML5 version works on almost all modern devices..

The aircraft:
The aircraft was built for the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1943,has been used in various roles, from freighter to water bomber, until it came to the UK in 2004. Since then, the "Cat" is one of the stars of the British and European air show scene. A detailed history of the aircraft can be found here.

General information about the Catalina is available on Wikipedia.


  • Garry Short, Chief Engineer, for his time, help, and support.
  • Derek Head, for compiling all the labels and descriptions used in the panorama

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