While Consolidated employees worked to produce the PBY-5, their counterparts at the Naval Aircraft Factory in Philadelphia worked to improve it. During 1940 NAF engineers developed several worthwhile hydrodynamic and aerodynamic modifications for the plane, but these couldn't be incorporated without stopping Consolidated's production lines and slowing much-needed deliveries of the current model. So the navy took a different tack: on 16 July 1941 an order for 156 modified PBY-5s went to the Naval Aircraft Factory itself. The NAF version, designated PBN-1 and named "Nomad," featured a longer hull - 64 feet 8 inches - a sharper bow, a 20 percent taper step amidships, and a shallow breaker step just forward of the tail. Wing tip floats were redesigned for more lift and improved planing. More fuel tanks were added in the wing center section. Wings were strengthened to carry 38,000 pounds gross weight. A new electrical system was installed. The most noticeable change, however, was the two feet in height added to the vertical fin. The armament was unchanged with one exception: a .50-caliber machine gun in a hydraulically powered turret replaced the .30-caliber gun in the bow. The first Nomad didn't come off the NAF assembly line until February 1943, and even then the navy got little use from the design. Of the 156 PBN-ls produced, 138 went to the U.S.S.R. under Lend-Lease. A modified Nomad design was produced by Consolidated late in World War II as the PBY-6A amphibian - the first was delivered in January 1945. It differed from the PBN-1 boats in having a 63-foot hull, a radome above the cockpit, and a rotating ball turret on the bow fitted with twin .30-caliber machine guns. This turret was also used on late-model PBY-5As. (text info from Roscoe Creed's "PBY: The Catalina Flying Boat".)
For more photos, history, and info on this aircraft, see the PBN webpage at
Additional information on this aircraft can be found at Wikipedia here.
(updated February 2009)
Naval Aircraft Factory PBN-1 Nomad
Type: Naval Patrol Bomber (Flying Boat) Crew: 9 Armament: three .50 cal machine guns one .30 cal machine guns up to 4,000 lbs. of bombs or two torpedoes Specifications: Length: 64' 8" Height: 17' 11" Wingspan: 104' (31.70 m) Weight: 38000 lb maximum at takeoff Propulsion: No. of Engines: 2 Powerplant: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp Horsepower: 1200 hp each Performance (mostly unavailable for PBN, PBY listed instead): Range: 2545 miles (PBY) Cruise Speed: 117 mph for long range (PBY) Max Speed: 195 mph (PBN) Ceiling: 14700 ft (PBY)
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