(Tanker #126, operated by Hawkins and Powers Aviation, Greybull, Wyoming,
USA. Photographer unknown. Thanks to H&P Aviation)
History: During World War II,
the B-24-derived PB4Y-1 Liberator (originally designed for the US Army Air Corps) had
performed very well for the US Navy as a maritime patrol plane, but in 1943 it was decided
to navalize the aircraft as a dedicated long-range patrol bomber. Three
B-24s were taken off the assembly line and reconfigured with lengthened fuselages,
greater defensive armament, modified engine cowlings and a distinctive, single vertical
tail. The resulting aircraft was designated the PB4Y-2 Privateer.
With its 2,800-mile range, the Privateer was so useful that in the Navy took delivery of
739 of them, though few reached front line service by VJ-Day.
The Privateer went on to perform great service in the Cold
War as a radar and electronics-countermeasures platform, having been renamed the P4Y
in 1951. Following service with the US Coast Guard, the aircraft was retired in the early
1960s, although a small number were used as fire-bombers in the United States until
2002. One survivor is rumored to be under restoration to flight condition.
Nicknames: Lamp Lighter (Privateers
flying "Firefly" missions in Korea, dropping parachute flares.)
Engine: Four 1350-hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 Twin Wasp radial engines.
Weight: Empty 27,485 lbs., Max
Takeoff 65,000 lbs.
Wing Span: 110ft. 0in.
Length: 74ft. 7in.
Height: 30ft. 1in.
Armament: 12 12.7-mm (0.5-inch) machine
Number Built: 739
Number Still Airworthy: One
Privateer Reference Page
Eduardo's Page --
(Privateer 3-view drawings)
Hawkins and Powers Aviation, Inc. --
Former operators of Privateer fire-bombers in Wyoming, USA.
Lone Star Flight Museum, TX,
USA -- Privavateer Page
Museum of Naval Aviation: Privateer
NavyLib.com -- Information about US Navy
Liberators and Privateers.
Scott Van Aken's "PB4Y
Submerged Cultural Resources Exploration
Team (SCRET): Privateer Page
US Navy Pacific-Based PB4Y
Squadrons in WWII
US Navy Patrol Squadrons
"VPNavy" Privateer Page
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All text and photos Copyright 2006, The
Doublestar Group, unless otherwise noted.
You may use this page for your own, non-commercial reference purposes only.