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£30.5k raised to help stricken seaplane stranded in Loch Ness

By Louise Glen

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One engine in, one engine out.
One engine in, one engine out.

A fundraising campaign to save a historic WWII seaplane has surpassed all expectations.

The Plane Sailing group is raising cash for Miss Pick Up – one of the last air and seaworthy Catalinas in the world. It has so far achieved £30,500.

Matt Dearden, from Plane Sailing, set up the campaign to raise £13,000 after the seaplane lost engine power while at Loch Ness on October 17.

Mr Dearden said: “Thank you to everyone who has continued to donate to our fundraiser.

“All these additional donations will really help us pay for the engine overhaul this winter and help keep Miss Pick Up flying for years to come.

“Now that we have exceeded our funding target, all additional funds raised will help pay for the repair costs of the damaged engine, estimated at £25,000.

“Miss Pick Up is one of the world’s only airworthy Catalina flying boats and is currently operated by Plane Sailing based in Duxford, Cambridge. We are a small team of dedicated volunteers who do it for the love of preserving this wonderful WWII flying boat.

“What was originally thought to be just a faulty starter motor has turned out to be something inside the engine itself shearing and preventing the starter motor from turning the engine over. The only solution is to change the engine and send the damaged one off for overhaul.

“Thanks to the generosity of everyone who has donated, we are now able to fund the rescue mission which as you can imagine, involves some massive logistics.”

Mr Dearden said there were three phases of the operation – the first was to remove the Miss Pick Up from the loch to dry land costing in excess of £13,000.

“Phase two involves transporting our spare engine from Duxford to Loch Ness and then spending two to three weeks swapping them over.”

He continued: “Phase three will involve a big crane to put her back onto the loch along with boats to ensure it all goes well. Once back on the water, we will take her to Inverness for a final check before flying her back home to Duxford.”

He continued: “We’re still a long way from being able to get her returned to Duxford.”

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