Landseaire airborne yacht

James Kightly, journalist and author of the Vintage Aeroplane Writer, shows off the glamorous postwar conversion of Consolidated PBY-5A 34045 (civil registry N69043) to a Landseaire flying yacht.  His informative and droll image captions are not to be missed.

You’ll forgive me for marvelling at the aesthetics of film photography, flying boats and pleasant company, of course.

(Loomis Dean / LIFE magazine.  February 2nd, 1950)

Mid-cabin sleeping area. (Loomis Dean / LIFE magazine. February 2nd, 1950)

Sunbathing on one of the Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp radial engines. (Loomis Dean / LIFE magazine. February 2nd, 1950)

Lounge/bar in one of what was formerly one of the waist gunner blisters. (Loomis Dean / LIFE magazine. February 2nd, 1950)

On-board shower. (Loomis Dean / LIFE magazine. February 2nd, 1950)

Moored for port visit. Note nose gunner blister has been removed; bow is more streamlined than typical wartime PBY. (Loomis Dean / LIFE magazine. February 2nd, 1950)

At the saloon table, playing cards. (Loomis Dean / LIFE magazine. February 2nd, 1950)

For a fuller description of the amenities aboard these hedonistic craft, see Maurice F. Allward’s article “Airborne Yachts—Luxury Conversions of  Wartime Catalinas” in the July 1953 issue of Flight International.  Also see the full LIFE magazine archive of images of this craft, if you desire more.

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