When I heard that IPMS had this book for review, I begged and pleaded to get it, for two reasons; I was in the process of building the Anigrand 1/144 PB2Y-5, and I know a WW2 veteran who flew PB2Ys in the war. Ed Cooper has a lot to say about the quality and factual content of the book. Since he still has his log book from 1944-45, he was able to check facts and dates. Also, he has that great comeback about how something happened: “Have I heard about it? I was THERE!!”
Ed Cooper: The Pilot’s Perspective.
Hi, I’m Ed Cooper, and I flew the PB2Y-5 in both VPB-4 and VPB-13. My good friend, Jim Pearsall, how is building a model of the PB2Y, has allowed me to review this book. How exciting and what a joy I have experienced. In the short time allowed, I have skimmed this book, and hope to read every word and study every photo.
I received my wings SEPT 26. 1944. The Navy had decided to send multi-engine pilots to navigation school, so that is where I spent the next couple of months. Training DID NOT include15 hour flights seeing nothing but water. I arrived at SQDN VPB-4 at North Island during the holidays, and met up with the PB2Y in early January. George Saxon was my Skipper. We had some ground training and started to fly January 19. We flew various planes in our training, it was interesting to pick them out in this book. I have compared much of the information against my log book and have not found one date or incident wrong.
On April 6, 1945 we received our own plane – 7163 (G-10) – and flew it for the first time. It had come from being modified from a PB2Y-3. We only flew it 3 hops, 23.2 hours, before we headed for Hawaii. We had never flown above 3 or 4 thousand feet.
On the late afternoon of 4/15/45, we took off for our TRANSPAC (Trans Pacific flight) to Kaneohe. JATO was used, as we had extra fuel tanks in the hull. About 4 ½ hours later we decided to climb to 10,000 feet for more favorable wind. As we approached our altitude, all 4 engines quit. Fortunately our flight engineer was at his control desk and immediately started to use the “wobble pump” (hand fuel pump). The engines were restarted at less than 1000 feet, and we returned to San Diego at “low altitude”. The fuel pumps were replaced and we made he 17 ½ hour flight to Kaneohe a couple of days later. (See page 119 of the book for another PB2Y with engine failure.)
The book is correct in saying we were late getting to VPB-13, as we hit a reef at Johnson Island. We did finally get to Kerama Retto on June 13th. The crew we relieved was not happy that we were 2 weeks late.
I find the book’s description of the suicide attack on the USS Curtis and USS Whiting to be very accurate. We returned from night patrol at dawn and saw smoke coming from the Curtis. I walked through the mess on our own ship and collected a few small pieces of the plane, which are now on display at the Naval Air Museum.
July 3 we had a bow turret fire, no injuries. The description about evacuating from typhoons is very accurate. In the one on September 16, when several planes were lost, we almost crashed on takeoff due to the high seas. Somebody screwed up and did not issue the warning in time.
Flights from Hong Kong during October and November were rather uneventful except for hauling British Red Cross girls on our Cavite run. We were 2 days late in leaving Hong Kong for the States, as the final Squadron party left pilots too sick to fly. We must have bought some “bad” booze.
On Saipan we picked up PB2Y pilots who had been based there. They said their planes had been sunk off the island. .
7872 miles after leaving Hong Kong, we happily arrived back in San Diego on the morning of December 16, 1945.
Jim Pearsall: The Modeler’s Perspective
I’ve just finished my Anigrand PB2Y. Mike Hinderliter and I bought Coronados at the IPMS Nationals in Columbus, Ohio. It’s now a year later, and Mike is close to finishing his Mach 2 PB2Y also. It sure would have been a lot easier with this book. The book answers a question about the PB2Y-5 propellers. Why the 4-bladed props on the inner engines, and 3-bladed on the outer ones? The answer is that the engines changed between the -3 and -5, and the new engines were shorter. This brought the prop blades too close to the fuselage, so they were changed to a 4-blade prop with shorter blades. Coop also said he appreciated that the 4-bladed props were reversible.
The detail photos answer a lot of questions about what goes where, such as how the floats actually look when they’re in the “down” position.
There’ a complete listing of all the Coronados and their squadron assignments. That’s possible with a limited production aircraft like the PB2Y. There’s also a listing of accidents, which Coop refers to. He was there for a couple of them.
There are no color drawings in this book, but with the excellent photographs and captions there is no need for these. Especially since there were only 4 basic schemes for the Coronado, and 3 of these are covered on the front and back covers. I also appreciate the several line drawings.
While I was typing in Ed’s comments, I needed to look up what the Curtis was. There’s no table of contents, so I had to page through the book until I found the section on seaplane tenders.
Highly recommended. If you’re planning on building the Mach 2 kit, the Anigrand Coronado, or the RarePlanes PB2Y, this book will be a huge help. If you’re just into Naval aviation in the Pacific, you’ll find this book has stuff no one else bothers to mention. Captain Hoffman has done a marvelous job of putting together a history of a lesser known flying boat, and got it all right.
Many thanks to Steve Ginter and Ginter Books for this excellent edition and the chance to cover the book with one of the men who flew the Coronado