View Full Version : Chuck is back in a Cat!

Rallye Driver
28th Apr 2004, 06:08
He just couldn't say no! Chuck is back at North Weald this week to do another Catalina ferry flight - this time to Israel.

They were running the engines yesterday. As they hadn't been started for a very long time, problems were anticipated.

The starboard engine fired up OK, but then hydraulic fluid started pouring out to create a big puddle on the apron. A quick bit of packing around the cooler sorted that one out, and the engine was run up successfully and the prop feathering checked after shut down.

The port engine proved to be more recalcitrant. It started OK as well, but was quickly shut down because no oil pressure was showing. An air lock was suspected, and more oil put in.

It was started a second time, with the same results. They started bleeding the system, then called it a day. Work resumes agin this morning.

The Catalina is due to fly out on Saturday, and arrive in Israel on Monday, where it is going to a museum (the plan is to keep it in flying condition).

RD :ok:

Chuck checking the starboard engine


Running up the starboard engine


Checking the feathering


Part two to follow...

Starting the port engine the first time


Start up the second time


Chuck in the office


28th Apr 2004, 10:13
Thanks for posting those pics Rallye Driver - I am hoping to get a job at North Weald and was equally hoping I'd be around to meet Chuck & see the Cat go. Guess I'll miss out after all. :{

Have a good flight Chuck! :ok:

28th Apr 2004, 11:39
I didn't think that the orange Cat was airworthy, its been parked outside for so long. When it disappeared last week I thought it had gone to the knackers yard, but obviously not.

Any idea when the DC-4s are due to fly again?

Good luck Chuck!

Rallye Driver
28th Apr 2004, 22:20
The Edwards Brothers and their team have done a magnificent job to get her airworthy in about three weeks of very long days.

The old girl got to do some high power taxi runs today, after the oil pressure problem was sorted. Even got her nose wheel off the ground briefly. Very misty, so not ideal for photography.

They had some water contamination, which caused ashut down until it could be drained.

Back in the hangar now to have various panels refitted, then, once the paperwork is completed, on to flight testing.


Both engines running


Engines running. Vortices just visible coming from props


Inside the Office - NB the anchor in the nose


Interior view, showing the water tank for fire bombing. Very spartan inside


View from the revetment


Moving under her own power for the first time in many years


Taxi run


Being put to bed


Chuck Ellsworth
1st May 2004, 13:49
Rallye Driver:

It was a real pleasure meeting you at North Weald and I am amazed at the wonderful pictures you posted here..thank you.

I wish to clarify our position with regard to this Cat.

I specalize in training pilots on the Cat and also world wide ferry delivery of these machines, this is the first instance wherein the Edwards Brothers and I have not completed a delivery.

First let me explain that test flying and ferrying aircraft such as this machine in the condition we started on it is a very high risk endeavour and requires experiencied people to safely complete the contract.

I only work with and fly with three other pilot mechanics with regard to the Catalina, they are Mark and Clive Edwards and Phillipe Jay.......

My agreement with the owner of this Cat was plainly understood and given in writing with regard to crewing of this machine.

Several days ago I was given an ultimatium by the owner that as his employee I would follow his orders and he would decide how this machine would be flown and by whom.

I had two choices and they were either I flew with him and his mechanic and follow his orders or he would find another Qualified pilot on the PBY and replace me.

That was a no brainer as I will not fly without my crew for safety reasons...It is out of the question for me to fly a machine such this with two other people that have never been in one before.

I am now back home in Nanaimo B.C. and Mark and Clive are also at home.

As part of my agreement with owners of these aircraft I arrange for very reasonable insurance through Lloyds underwriters based on our past performance of safe mechanical repair and flying of these aircraft.

I have informed my contacts in Lloyds that I have terminated my involvement with this Cat due to safety issues, such as the owner demanding that I overload the airplane with fuel out of North Weald to save him money with the tax drawback.

Now all that remains to be seen is if we get paid for the work and expenses we have put into this project, I am out of pocket about two thousand dollars at this point in time, not to mention what Clive and Mark are owed.

The owner claims that Boeing Aircraft will pay us....

Anyone want to deliver a Cat to Israel? I can give you the contact number as they are looking for a crew.

Chuck Ellsworth

Rallye Driver
2nd May 2004, 00:27

It was a privilege to meet you. And thanks to everyone who allowed me to hang around while you all were trying to get the old girl airworthy. I?m really sorry things have turned out this way and that you are out of pocket.

I understood there were certain tensions about the demands that were being put on you all with the tight deadline for delivery. You just can?t cut corners regarding the safe operation of any aircraft, let alone one that?s been standing around so long.

I know you made the right decision not to be pressured into doing something against your better judgment. It's an example to us all.

I just hope that whoever they get as a replacement has the same strength of character to prevent a case of ?press on-itis? from turning into a disaster.

Best wishes

Rallye Driver

3rd May 2004, 11:04
Chuck, you made a goodcall, this guy sounds like he hasn't a clue about the operation of any aircraft let alone a vintage one that has been stored for a very long while.

Better off out of pocket, than quite a few feet under :{

If you get over to blighty again pm me.


PPRuNe Radar
3rd May 2004, 12:06
Excellent professional attitude and actions Chuck :ok: A good example to set to us all.

Lets hope the CAA read this thread and keep an eye on what is going on.

6th May 2004, 02:10
Hey Reverend, great pics, excellent story and call. Now, should I do a cut & paste and send it to our infamous TC'ers and show'em what you're made of - maybe then, they'd straighten themselves out - if not I guess great big bitchslaps upside the head will be called for - can I help, can I help !?!?!?!

Back to caA, catch you later ....


Genghis the Engineer
7th May 2004, 06:28
Somebody was flying this rather handsome beastie yesterday.

I was earning my own living test flying a small homebuilt a few miles from Duxford when I found myself in conflict with what at-first appeared to be something out of "Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind". Once self preservation had taken over from morbid curiosity and I moved out of the way (disrupting a glide performance test, but that's another story) it resolved into a side view of this rather handsome orange Catalina. I assumed that it was flying out of Duxford, but don't actually know if that's true.

I hasten to add that any conflict was purely down to two aeroplanes on conflicting courses in the same open airspace, and no lack of airmanship on anybody's part is suggested.

Pretty aint it!


Rallye Driver
7th May 2004, 07:53
Plane Sailing have recently ferried in their replacement PBY from Canada (C-FNJF). That's now based at Duxford and is an overall yellow with green trim lines.

It was probably that one you saw. The Flypast Forum has a report that its been flying over the past couple of days working up a display routine.

RD :ok:

Genghis the Engineer
7th May 2004, 10:02
That would make sense, I certainly wasn't close enough to read the reg, and it was flying in a manner that might indicate display practice.


7th May 2004, 10:45
was flying in a manner that might indicate display practice.

Is that the aeronautical equivalent of 'tired and emotional'? ;) :p


Vick Van Guard
7th May 2004, 11:29
Going back to the orange Catalina, surely it's not the one that was stored at East Midlands back in the eighties is it :confused:

Belonged to a Company called Avalon Aviation IIRC.

Genghis the Engineer
7th May 2004, 13:21
Aha, all becomes clear.

I was just speaking to a colleague who does test flying for CAA. I mentioned the encounter with the Catalina, and he admitted to having been flying it at the time. 'Twould appear that he was busy conducting the UK airworthiness air test (and didn't see me at-all, just as well I got out the way!).


Chuck Ellsworth
7th May 2004, 14:32
Anyone have any idea if the owner of the Orange Cat found a qualified pilot to fly his cat at North Weald?

When he gave me his ultimatum about how I was to fly it he seemed quite confident that he would have a replacement pilot in no time.

Maybe there is an insurance problem?

Chuck E.

Chuck Ellsworth
12th May 2004, 16:41
I am going to do something that I normally would not bother with, and that is share a problem that I have had with a customer.

My reason is two- fold , it is rather bizzare and I think needs to be shared.

The agreement to repair and ferry this Orange Cat took over a year before the go ahead was given. The estimate that was given a year ago was very close to the actual cost for the mechanical work performed on the airplane. It was clearly outlined that I was to be the Captain and the Edwards Bros would be flying as first officers.

The owner has finally paid Edwards Brothers for their work but has refused to pay my airfare and extra expenses stating that my refusal to follow his orders has resulted in the project being delayed and costing a lot of money, which he holds me responsible for because I misrepresented my qualifications.

Now it gets really bizzare, he wrote a letter outlining his opinion that I am incompetent and may have ruined his engines during the start ups and the taxi and high speed runs on the runway.

That part is subjective to some extent and I of course just ignored it, however in the letter he clearly stated that I was not qualified to fly his PBY due to my not having a valid pilot license because I did not hold a valid medical when I was in North Weald!!!

Several days ago I got a phone call from a friend in the USA, who also is rated on the PBY, he told me that he had received a call from the owner of the orange cat asking him if he could deliver it to Israel...........my friend said he should call Chuck Ellsworth as that is what he does for a business......the owner told my friend that I was the reason for all his problems because when he brought me to England he found out that I did not have a valid medical and that I am guilty of dishonesty by misrepresenting myself.

Sorry for airing my laundry here but this is bizzare beyond beliefe, it is one thing to tell people that I am incompetant but to accuse me of not holding a valid pilot license is truly something that I can not understand as I had faxed my licenses and medical to him and then was asked to scan it and e-mail it to him as the Israelis wanted a better copy of the license than the fax......my medical was and is group 1 valid until Aug. 01/2004 and I hold an ATP endorsed for the PBY among other things.

He claims Boeing Aircraft is involved in paying for the delivery of this aircraft...........

Normally I would just swallow the loss of the money for the airfare ( he authorized it and I paid for it due the fact he wanted me in North Weald on short notice.)

I am wondering if any of my friends on this forum could advise me of how they would react to such a strange problem as this one?

By the way, would any of you try and get the money out of him?

The truth is I refused to follow his orders with regard to flying the airplane due to safety considerations...period.

Chuck Ellsworth.

Chuck Ellsworth
22nd May 2004, 16:25
I have edited the above post and am bringing it up to the top again for discussion.


22nd May 2004, 18:14

Depending on how much the money is you are owed, a UK 'small claims court' might be your best bet. If you have proof for everything above, it seems relatively straight forward to get the money back at minimal cost to yourself.

Not a pilot, lawyer or expert on anything related to your problem!


Info. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/crime/law/smallclaimscourt.shtml)

You want it when?
22nd May 2004, 18:21
I'd go down the small claims court route for the out of pocket expenses. It really costs you little to do and can seriously mess up his credit rating when the CCJs (County Court Judgements) start turning up.

However the issue of stating that you were/are not fit to fly and damaged his aircraft is more worrying as it is a direct attack on your business and proffesionalism. As much as I detest them I'd get an ambulance chaser er... lawyer involved. Sort of fire and forget. You never know he may settle out of court and give you the Cat :ok:

23rd May 2004, 05:09
The owner of the aircraft tells a slightly different story (yes, know him and more importantly, his maintenance supervisor, personally, for many years).

During engine runs, no oil pressure was observed on one engine, yet high power runs were done anyway (hello....goodbye master rod bearing).
Strike one.
During high speed taxi tests, no one was watching engine instruments, contrary to detailed briefings beforehand.
Strike two.
The Edwards Brothers apparently walked off the job after the pilot was told to...don't come Monday.
Strike three.

It generally takes two to tango, and it seems only one wanted to dance.

A new pilot has been found, is the latest information.

PS: The maintenance supervisor is positively the very finest round engine guy I have ever met, and if our plan is successful, will restore a DC-6B for our account.

Chuck Ellsworth
23rd May 2004, 15:10
411A :

Very interesting comments, and of course quite predicitable.

As in all cases where two parties differ there will be two stories.

After flying P&W 1830's for around then thousand hours with no previous complaints regarding my handling of these engines I am not concerned about Bob & John defending their position with claims such as the above.

Had they left it there they may have convinced a few people that do not know me that I do not know what I am doing.

But I have on paper and from two phone calls from the USA the statement by Bob that I lied to him about my being qualified to fly the airplane due to my medical being invalid.

Now of course that is a very simple matter for me to prove as Transport Canada has on record that I did then and do now in fact have a valid medical for my ATP. I also can prove that Bob had two copies of my documentsa, including my medical, one sent by fax and one scanned copy sent by e-mail. As well the Israeli's have a copy, including the valid medical document

However by acusing me of dishonesty regarding my medical he has crossed the line and has opened the door to defending himself from a lible suit for putting that statement in writing, which I have a copy of and slander for making the same statement to a person whom he was asking to fly the ferry filght.

Anyhow 411A, the people at North Weald have already made their own judgements as my ability to deliver a PBY anywhere on earth and common knowledge regarding all the circumstances surrounding our departing the project will suffice to clear the air in that group.

By the way the insurance people were courious as to why for the first time during my career I walked away from an aircraft delivery. The very first thing I did was call my insurance company and advise him that I was no longer involved in the ferry of Bob's Cat due to safety considerations........they have been insuring me for many, many years to ferry PBY's in about forty different countries. In fact I delivered a PBY from North Weald to Virginia just last July.

Believe me the insurance people know me very well and on a personal level aside from insuring me.

So to sum up, I was given an ultimatum by Bob that I was being payed by him ( by the way he to this day has not payed me a dime, nor has he reimbursed me for my airfare and expenses ) and I had two choices...to do as he ordered, including him flying in the left seat with me along to make it legal. He also stated flatly that he would decide how and when the airplane would be flown and if I did not agree to those conditions he would find another pilot.

I of course went to my room and packed my things and went back to Canada.

Next time you are talking to Bob and John ask them about the fuel load they told me that I was to depart North Weald with so he could get the tax rebate.

Anyhow thats my story and for me it was all about safety being compromized if I were to have accepted Bob's ultimatum.

PS :

By the way 411A, I have been flying PBY's since 1968 and to the best of my knowledge am the higest time PBY pilot still flying them, and Bob and John are the first to make the determination that I do not know what I am doing.............hmmmmmmmmmmm

Chuck Ellsworth

23rd May 2004, 20:43
Sorry it did not work out Chuck, but on the other hand I am only an outside observer, and really have no idea who is correct...only reporting what I was told.
I have personally known both for years, in fact these folks are the only individuals that are allowed to lay a wrench on my personal aircraft, and have been for a very long time.
As in all business matters, there are two (sometimes more) stories to be told.
Many times the facts are somewhere in between.
Wish you well.

PS: Did you really do rather high power engine runs with minimal (or no) oil pressure indication on one?

Chuck Ellsworth
23rd May 2004, 22:01

The simple answer to your question is no.

We pre oiled and on the first start got no oil pressure, shut down after about fifteen seconds.

We disconnected the oil pressure line and there was air in it.

We started again and shut down right away and drained more air out of the line.

We started the engine once more and waited for thirty seconds at low RPM and once again shut down and called it a day as it was late.

The next morning we pre oiled again once again checked the oil pressure line for air with oil pressure from the pre oil, on that start we got normal oil pressure indication.

We have been repairing and operating these engines for decades and do not run them without oil pressure at any RPM above the lowest it will run at, especially at tempertures as low as the temps. that we had that day due to the cold oil will result in excessive oil pressures at any RPM above that at which it will keep running......until we get 40 degrees C we do not exceed lowest RPM it will keep running at.

We determined the oil pressure problem was due to the pressure line and instrument having air or for some other reason failed to indicate pressure as once the pressure started to indicate it was normal.........

Bear in mind the engine was well pre oiled and was not run at any RPM other than that at which it would run with prime due to the temperature being around ten or so degrees C.

During all engine runs both Bob and John were parked in a car keeping warm, therefore their ability to determine what was transpireing in the airplane has to be examined from that basis.....

As to the accusation that we did not monitor the instruments during the high speed runs down the runway, that is ludricious, how did John determine that. He was in the compartment behind the cockpit and it is impossible for him to observe where we were looking....give me a break do you for a heartbeat think that me and my crew would ignore the instrument indications on test runs????

Naw, 411A what we have here is a situation wherein Bob clearly tried to intimidate me into doing things that in my opinion compromized the safety of the operating of that airplane, and the engine runs were not the only problems that we had.

To put it simple, Bob told me before I left Canada that he and John would fly the ferry flight with me and I informed him that in that case he could find another crew.

He then agreed that me and the Edwards Brothers would fix, test and ferry the airplane, with a ferry permit signed by a DAR because the airplane did not meet the standards required for an annual sign out.

I then booked a flight and went to England at Bobs request.

On the third day we were informed that John would sign out an annual and we did not need the DAR, I refused to fly it on that basis and both the Edwards Brothers stated they would not fly in it unless I were the Captain, so Bob agreed to having a ferry permit issued by an FAA DAR.......there were just to many problems that finally ended up with Bob giving me an ultimatum that I was not prepared to accept............end of story.

By the way we pulled the main screen on the engine that had the oil pressure indication problem after the test runs and there was only carbon in it...

However after sitting outside for eight years and never flown who knows what condition the bearings will be in due to possible galling of the surfaces?

Unless the case is split and the bearings checked it is anyones guess what condition the engines are in, the real test will be how long they run once the airplane starts flying.......

And that brings me back to the issue of fuel..........I will only put on enough fuel to safely fly short planned flights until we determine the condition of the engines after all those years sitting outside in the weather.....that way if I lose one I will be at an all up weight that I can safely fly it on one to the nearest airport , river, lake or ocean......

The real crunch came with my being told that they planned on fueling with enough fuel to fly to Dijon France then on the southern Italy before adding fuel to save money.

Then when he informed me he would fly it and my crew would not be flying it during the ferry flight period, I had no choice but to leave.

Anyhow everyone has lost on this one and the airplane has yet to fly......

Bottom line is I have never ever failed to deliver an airplane until this one..........

To walk away knowing I would probably lose two thousand dollars I must have been sure that I was justified to refuse Bob's ultimatum....

Hopefully everyone that reads this will consider what is most important, money, or safety and integrity.

My decision was to leave and I have not had reason to regret it.


27th May 2004, 15:56
It is possible to enter a claim in a small claims court up to about 2-3000 pounds (not sure of exact figure) and do it all online with a credit card for about 30.

I'll dig out the url of the website if you would like to try, its all very simple if i remember correctly.


Rallye Driver
27th May 2004, 19:31
The Cat did a 45 minute test flight late this afternoon - very gentle manoeuvres. All seemed to go OK as they kept fairly close to the field. No photos I'm afraid as I was flying - they were waiting for me to land so they could take off.


Chuck Ellsworth
27th May 2004, 21:16
NinjaBill and Rallye Driver :

Thanks for the suggestion NinjaBill.

And yes I would appreciate you explaining how to file such a claim.

I wonder how going to small claims court in England would work in a situation where I live in Canada and the person whom I would be filing the claim against lives in the USA?

Normally I would not discuss something like this in a public forum.

However in that it Rallye Driver had already posted pictures and was kind enough to relate the story about the Cat finally after all those years being brought back into flying condition again, and then having the been removed from the project I'm sort of in a situation whereby I feel I need to make it clear to everyone that I was left with no real choice but to leave.

I still find it really strange that anyone would waste all the time and money that the owner of this Cat has just because we would not agree to his demands regarding how to fly the airplane which in my opinion would have compromized safety far beyond that which I would accept.

Remember I have been flying these machines for around 4,500 hours all over the world since 1968 and the Cat is our specialty

It is no big deal that the airplane has sucessfully done a test flight, remember it was the Edwards Brothers that worked so hard and long to get into a condition that it would fly.

The main concern that I have now is that whoever is flying it as Captain has the ability to ensure that it be flown with due regard to safety..........it's a long way to Israel, there can be enough problems with these old airplanes without taking undue risks.

Chuck Ellsworth

27th May 2004, 22:12
Chuck, I have a strong tendency to believe your side of the story - I have no idea how a Canadian citizen would fair against a US citizen through the UK small claims court, but I wish you the best of luck!

But, if ever I buy a Cat,:ok: I'll be guided by you!

Chuck Ellsworth
27th May 2004, 22:59
Thank you treadiograph :

Sometimes in this industry we must make decisions based on what is the best course to take when put in a position that could put people at risk.

It is not an easy thing to discuss these things on a worldwide forum knowing that hundreds of people will be examining what you did and why.

Remember I do not hide behind an assumed name therefore I at least believe that what I do will set a good example for others.

I pride mydelf in being a high time professional pilot and have no problems with sharing this with everyone so you can maybe some day make the right decision by following my example.

If nothing else I would rather be a live chicken than a dead duck.


Rallye Driver
28th May 2004, 13:52
The Cat departed North Weald for the South of France just before noon today.

I hope they have a safe, successful and uneventful flight.


28th May 2004, 14:23
Amen to that - off hand I can think of three serious Cat accidents (all water landings IIRC) in Europe over the last decade or two... no more please!

28th May 2004, 16:13
I happened to be at North Weald warming up the engine in a Bulldog when the Catalina departed. Another a/c at the hold mentioned that there was a panel loose on the Cat, but I presume that they sorted it out.

Chuck Ellsworth
28th May 2004, 16:15
Yes water landings are accounting for some of the needless accidents due to improper pilot handling techniques.

The big problem is that as time goes by these aircraft are flown less and less, especially in water operations.

It has been several decades since PBY's have been used in public transport on the water and the qualified and experienced crews are no longer available to teach the newer pilots how to safely fly them in regard to water handling proceedures.

Even the fire bombing crews have moved on to more modern equipment such as the CL 215 / 415 and that leaves a very few pilots avaliable with the experience to properly train new pilots.

I constantly run across pilots who say " oh we have so and so who is going to fly our PBY and he has lots of float plane time " ( in some instances Albatross time. ) the truth is having that kind of seaplane experience and then trying to teach yourself to fly a PBY is like having nose wheel experience then just jumping into a tail wheel airplane and having it get out of control.

In any event this ferry flight should be all airport landings so water handling skills will not be a factor.

Chuck E.

Vick Van Guard
28th May 2004, 17:30
Quite a lot of photographs of the Cat on the Flypast Forum (http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=24856&page=1).

Remember her landing to go into store at EMA, must have been around 1985. I think she was ferried to North Weald a few years later by Dizzy Addicott. Didn't one of the main gears fail on landing?

28th May 2004, 22:57
VVG, yes she suffered a main gear failure at NW. Before that - early 1990s?- she was outside the Arnold hangar at EGKB for a while... along with sundry Lancaster and Lincoln parts!

28th May 2004, 23:57
OK Chuck,
You have rather gone on and on about how...'you was wronged' and 'safety is being compromised'.

Seems to me---
the owner asked you to ferry and you walked away.
In this case, no payment is due....period.

OTOH, if they asked you to operate 'not in a legal fashion', you might have a legit beef.

SO, did they specifically ask you to break any 'rules of the air?' :confused: :confused:

Chuck Ellsworth
29th May 2004, 00:05
411A :



29th May 2004, 04:17

And these would be...what specifically? :confused: :ugh:

29th May 2004, 07:17
Guys, is it really fair to Capt PPrune and his colleagues to thrash out the arguments publicly here, particularly given that identifiable individuals may be accused of acting in a manner which is unlawful or unsafe? Why not continue the debate by PM or email?

Mr Ellsworth, I shall send you a PM later with a few, I hope helpful, pointers on UK legal procedure. I have just been enjoying reading of your exploits taking a Catalina on the old Aeropostale St Exupery route.

29th May 2004, 14:18
Unfortunately...or perhaps fortunately, depending on your point of view, Chuck asked for debate on this issue earlier in the thread, even with one post bringing it to the top once again.

Now he has mentioned that the owner of the aircraft in question asked him to operate in a manner that he considered unsafe (no problem with this, as he is certainly entitled to his opinion), but to then go on in a public forum and further mention that the owner asked him to operate in an illegal fashion, is altogether different.

If Chuck decides to go public with his complaints, would seem to me that to tell only half the story is to not lend credibility to his version of the whole scenario.

Seems reasonable to me anyway.

Chuck Ellsworth
29th May 2004, 15:39

Thank you for your kind offer to help me by giving me the gen on what I may be able to do through UK legal procedures.

One of my problems is the simple fact that I am not a wealthy individual and thus severely limited in what I can afford to do.

I fully agree that Danny and the gang should not be put in a situation wherein I get to far down the road of making accusations that may only prolong this subject.

Like many senarios in life we sometimes can get carried away with being myopic to a degree when we feel we have been wronged. I have already explained the situation regarding what transpired between the owner of this airplane and the Edwards Brothers and myself.

Anyone truly interested in searching out the issues regarding this matter need only read my posts here.

The Aeropostale trip was quite difficult at times due to the time frame restraints that we were compelled to try and keep up with.

However if you would like to read about a far more difficult project you should read about the African documentary flying we did with the same PBY called " Project Okavango " the South American trip was easy compared to the African stuff.

411A :

Please read carefully what I have stated so far.

If you are truly doubtful as to the truthfulness of my statements, PM me and I will give you some further information that should clarify things for you.

Chuck Ellsworth

31st May 2004, 08:38
Chuck, check your PMs, apologies for delay. I shall look up a copy of the book on your African trip. Changing the subject slightly, have you read "Corsairville"? It's an account of the final flight of one of the Empire class Flying Boats of Imperial Airways, with reflections on the great age of flying boats.

Chuck Ellsworth
4th Jun 2004, 02:50

Thanks for your suggestions regarding the money owed to me, I have been quite busy lately and have not had time to dwell on this matter.

No I have not read that book, but will see if I can find it.

I have been informed that that Cat that I was going to ferry to Israel is grounded somewhere in the Paris area with an engine problem.

Any of you guys in France have any info on where it is or what went wrong?

I am supposed to be heading over to Amsterdam around the fifteenth to test fly and train some guys on the PBY that has been restored there.

It was my first waterbomber in 1972, I last flew it to Santiago Chile and water bombed the the season of 1974 / 75 with it.

Time sure passes quickly, doesen't it?.


Genghis the Engineer
4th Jun 2004, 15:37
Corsairville, ISBN 0-670-86653-9, author Graham Coster.

My copy has the price inside the front cover in Stirling (12.99) and Can$ ($34.99), so presumably you won't struggle to get hold of a copy Chuck. Well worth reading.


Vick Van Guard
7th Jun 2004, 12:26
I understand from one of my colleagues that said aircraft is now 'tech' in Beauvais with a blown engine.

He was told one of the con-rod's has failed.

Oh dear :sad:

7th Jun 2004, 13:53
Thanks Rallye Driver for posting this wealth of pictures.
Seems there's a B.25 facing an uncertain status adding to the decor on one of the first.
Some people believe they know everything, while in fact they don't and this unfortunately extends to vintage aircrafts. I would not be surprise to hear those individuals
-have a croc in their swimingpools because it's trendy :suspect:
-drive a XZWXZ 16 Valves, because one must drive it :suspect:
list goes on

Chuck Ellsworth
7th Jun 2004, 14:49
Are you the Alain that I know?

The one that flew with me on the Aeropostale flight to Santaigo?


Chuck Ellsworth
3rd Jul 2004, 19:27
Hi troops :

I am still in Amsterdam with the Dutch Cat group and stopped in Beauvis France a couple of weeks ago to see the Orange Cat that is U/S there on my way to DiJon driving a car.

Rumour was they had a broken master rod or link rod, at least that was what I was told by several sources.

Well, there was no sign of any oil loss other than normal drool that Pratt radials normally have.

The guy who I talked to at the flying club where the Cat is parked said he saw it fly in and taxi to the parking area, he said both engines were running, that of course answered my question of why the prop was not feathered.

So there is no way in hell that it suffered a broken rod and kept running with no sign of an oil leak, so it must be some other problem that grounded it.

I am just curious because of my previous involvement with that Cat.

By the way the Dutch Cat is going to be a real show stopper when it finally comes on line.

Chuck E.

3rd Jul 2004, 22:30
Is the Dutch Cat PH-PBY?
I remember seeing that in the UK a few years ago, lovely machine!

Chuck Ellsworth
4th Jul 2004, 07:36
fradu :

Yes it is, it was formerly CF-HHR in Canada and was the first water bomber that I flew in 1972 so I am looking foward to flying it again.

I last flew it to Santiago Chile in 1974 and water bombed with it in Chile in 74//75.


Peter Barron
4th Jul 2004, 10:57

I have just again watched the film Always.
The opening sequence with the Cat is one of the best I have ever seen.
I have to keep winding the tape back to watch it again.

Was that you flying it ????.


5th Jul 2004, 02:02
Peter Barron, I have that scene on a wmv file. E-mail me an address if you want a copy.

Chuck Ellsworth
5th Jul 2004, 04:57
Peter :

No it was not me flying that scene in the movie, however I did fly that same Super Cat fire bombing in the eighties.


Peter Barron
5th Jul 2004, 07:26

Thanks for the offer, I have it already, but thanks again.


Still nice to know that you have flown the same Cat


5th Jul 2004, 16:33
The Cat pilot in Always was the late Bob Schlaefli. I think the plane is still at Moses Lake awaiting sale along with Bob's other assets.

Don't know which lake it was in the opening shot (there are lots around here), but the flying sequences in the movie were at Libby, Montana (the 'base') and Ephrata, Washington (the 'school').

10th Jul 2004, 08:56
... and the Cat in EDI (friday 9) is ???

Chuck Ellsworth
10th Jul 2004, 12:51
What or where is EDI? :confused:

10th Jul 2004, 14:58
Well, then it probably wasn't you :D

BTW: some years ago you asked about facilities in Greenland, did you visit or ?

Chuck Ellsworth
10th Jul 2004, 15:34
Hi again Dusk to Dawn :

If the Cat was yellow with green and red trim it belongs to Plane Sailing out of Duxford.

Plane Sailing is one of the few groups who have actually went to all the trouble to own and operate a Cat to preserve these historic airplanes in flying condition.

We all should support these collectors as it is the only way these airplanes will survive.

Yes, I finally landed in Greenland at Narsarsuaq last summer when I ferried a US registered Cat from North Weald to Suffolk Virginia.

Greenland is awsome, just awsome to fly over at low altitude on a clear day.


10th Jul 2004, 18:53
Yellow, yes - the trim I couldn't work out at distance. Well, I just spend 4 days in north London wondering if there would be something interesting to see....

Greenland - ah yes yes yes - right above my computer is a picture of another Canso [CF-CRP] in 1960 Greenlandair livery on the "catalina ramp" in Nuuk harbour - the sound of radials I have to dream about :)

10th Jul 2004, 19:22
Plane Sailing's Cat was dislpayed at East Fortune on Saturday 10 July, here it is:


Chuck Ellsworth
10th Jul 2004, 21:29
Great picture.

When I get back to Amsterdam I will get some pictures of the Dutch Cat when we finally start the test flying and pilot training.

It is really quite interesting being involved in this segment of aviation and being part of ensuring these magnificent aircraft are kept in the air for everyone to enjoy.

The dutch also have a beautiful flying restoration of a super Connie that will be part of their display aircraft, maybe I can trade some PBY stick time for some Connie time????? Oh well we can dream.


Rallye Driver
10th Jul 2004, 22:37
Saw the Cat fly back in to Duxford this evening while chatting to some former Typhoon pilots from 609 Squadron in the Red Lion at Whittlesford. They are here for the unveiling of a memorial tomorrow.

The Swiss Super Connie was at Flying Legends too. A lovely sight to see a Connie gracing the skies again. Now we have two in Europe to look forward to.

RD :ok:

11th Jul 2004, 07:56
Ahhh, the Connie, and a Cat again... On my way to Duxford in a minute, or at least I will be if I stop PPRuNeing and go have a shower before my Chauffeur raps on the front door!

I'll be in the vicinity of Hangar Two (near the bar if it's still there!) around 12:30 wearing my PPRuNe sweatshirt if anyone else is about...


11th Jul 2004, 09:27
Perhaps Sir would also consider a trouser-type thing in addition to the sweat shirt?

The ladies like a trouser, Sir. They do. Ooh - suit you, Sir a trouser would!

The gentle rumble of old radials was enjoyed here at BEagle Towers yesterday as the BBMF Dak ambled gently about just to the East at an enjoyably low level.

12th Jul 2004, 07:31
By God, I'd never thought of trousers... no wonder I felt a bit chilly.

Back to topic, shame the Catalina - or rather Canso - didn't fly! But very nice to see it.

13th Jul 2004, 18:32

Did you ever resolve your 'difficulties' over the ferry flight that you (quite rightly) walked away from?
Reading the whole of this thread for the first time, it seems to me that you had a solid, verbal agreement in place prior to you leaving Canada to come to the UK to ferry her.
The fact that that agreement was not honoured by the other party would seem to suggest that you have a very strong case to persue them through the court system, IMHO
Best of luck.

Chuck Ellsworth
13th Jul 2004, 22:33

Thanks for your concern.

I have not had the time to try and collect what is owed to me as I am involved with two other Cat operators who need training. At the moment I am back in Canada for ten days off, I shall be returning to Amsterdam next wednesday July 21 and then heading over to Seattle on Aug. 07...that is of course plan W or so.

I am rather reluctant to delve to far into the strange circumstances sorrounding the Cat in question.....

However the FAA has been asking questions of us regarding the airworthiness of the Orange Cat when we walked away from any further contact with it.

I can only suggest that based on the questions that the FAA were asking there seems to be some doubt as to the compliance with some airworthiness items and required paper work etc. on said cat when it departed the British Isles......

This I can state as a fact, the airplane was in France with some engine problem. ( I saw it when I drove from Amsterdam to DiJon a few weeks ago. ) and the owner told others that I did not perform a proper engine run up and taxi checks due to my not being qualified to do same...that I have in writing in an e-mail that he sent to another party...who sent it to me.....and of course he also has stated that I did not possess a valid pilot license and should there be any problems with the engines he would consider taking legal action against me.....

So based on all that I am going to just sit and wait and see where all this goes.

This is one of the more bizzare situations that I have ever been involved in...........

By the way anyone know anything about the "qualified" pilot that replaced me having any problem with the air space above North Weald on the first test flight????

Or anyone see the climb profile that the Cat managed with the fuel load it had on departure???

Those are fair questions I believe.


Rallye Driver
14th Jul 2004, 09:46

From what I have heard, the Cat bust Stansted airspace three times during the test flight - they weren't very happy about it.

I have also heard that the FAA have been asking questions here too about the validity of the paperwork.

I was on my way to NW when I saw the Cat depart. It seemed to be climbing very gently (if that's the right term!).

When I got there I asked if it was another test flight, and was told it had gone for good. Coudn't believe it. But, as you say, a strange case all round.



Chuck Ellsworth
14th Jul 2004, 15:40
Rally Driver:

Thanks for the reply, the reason that I asked about the climb performance or lack thereof was to confirm the fuel load the Cat had on board.

If you return to my first posts about walking away from the project one of the reasons was I refused to carry an over load of fuel as demanded by the owner to get the tax back savings.

Anyhow eventually this whole sad episode will be just another bump in the road of aviation screw ups.

The loss of money is not anywhere near as frustrating as having someone make unfair and untrue statements about my two partners and I as we depend on our reputation for excellent service to bring in our business.

I will be back at North Weald in the near future to do some flying with one of the local guys but first I have to finish the commitments I have for this summer.

And of course there is the Ex Greenpeace Cat that I left in Lee on Solent that I have a feeling will be flying again in the near future so sooner or later I will be back at North Weald.


Captain Airclues
13th Oct 2004, 14:53
Just out of interest, did the Orange Cat ever make it to Israel?


13th Oct 2004, 16:08
Made it as far (!) as Beauvais. Still there last Monday.

Captain Airclues
13th Oct 2004, 17:50
Thanks PaperTiger. Perhaps they should eat humble pie and ask Chuck to deliver it for them. :)


Chimbu chuckles
14th Oct 2004, 17:50
Hey Chuck how about a post on flying the PBY. Or can you point to a site with a good description of flying them...particularly water ops/handling...I notice no water rudders.

Many, many moons ago I was offered a job flying them and Albatros in Thailand by an old friend who was to be the Chief Pilot (Brian McCook) but it all came to naught after a rather nasty takeover by Thai shareholders...:suspect:

If you know Brian he is retired in Brisbane last I heard with failing eyesite...his first 'job' in aviation was WW2 PBY pilot with RNZAF...I think the last 'fulltime' flying on PBYs was on the Nile many moons ago now (well over 10 yrs anyway)...he also started my floating hull endo on a Widgeon in Rabaul but we were never able to complete it for various and sundry reasons:{

Lu Zuckerman
14th Oct 2004, 20:12
To: Captain AircluesThanks PaperTiger. Perhaps they should eat humble pie and ask Chuck to deliver it for them

I'm surprised that someone from the UK would make such a misteak.

It is Umble pie not Humble pie.

Umble pie
\Um"ble pie`\ A pie made of umbles

a phrase derived from a pie made of the entrails or humbles of a deer, which was formerly served to servants and retainers at a hunting feast.

Umbles \Um"bles\, n. pl The entrails and coarser parts of a deer; hence, sometimes, entrails, in general. [Written also humbles

However it seems that we are both correct as Humble Pie is the commonly accepted version.

:E :E

Chuck Ellsworth
15th Oct 2004, 01:20
Chimbu and troops :

Well my season is finally over and the Dutch Cat is once again safely parked in the hangar for the winter. We did one hundred and twelve water landings during the test flights and training and the pilots just loved it.

I spent most of my time in Holland and truly enjoyed the Dutch and their Cat.

Next summer I will go back and finish their training and fly a season with them to give them some pointers on how to operate with passengers on board operating into and out of the water.

The world now has four Cats being operated as collectors aircraft for public display....Britain ... New Zealand....Australia and now Holland.

I am writing an article on how to fly a Cat for Todays Pilot, in fact I just received an e-mail from the editor asking me when it will be finished, so I will get back at it and finish it.

After hearing all the background stuff on the Orange Cat that we were supposed to ferry to Israel it wouldn't suprise me if the authorities have grounded it and maybe even had it land where it is due to all the questionable circumstances surrounding its departure.....

To get me and the Edwards Brothers to finish the ferry flight would take a lot more than eating humble pie....he would have to pay me the money he owes me.....plus.....like plus a lot more than the origional amount agreed on...a hell of a lot more. :ok: