The planned return to Napier skies of the PBY Catalina flying boat after nearly five years away has been cancelled.

"We have been informed that the Catalina will now not be attending Aero Deco in Napier," Napier Aero Club spokesman Dave Nash said.

There was no problem with the historic aircraft after more than four years of refurbishment - it came down to sorting an air crew.

Mr Nash said the Catalina organisation was "very disappointed" they could not join their aviation colleagues as part of the Tremain Art Deco Festival which kicks off on February 15 but they had been unable to find a sufficiently qualified crew to bring the aircraft through to Napier.


During the long restoration programme only a few crew members had flown it enough to build up sufficient time to fly it.

Mr Nash said the aero club was disappointed at the news but said it was simply "one of those things" and out of their hands.

The club had, however, managed to secure a third fighter the Kittyhawk, to join the Spitfire and Mustang.