Convair PB4Y-2/ P4Y-2 Privateer
by Nicholas A. Veronico and Steve Ginter, Specialty Press, North Branch, Minn., 2012, $49.95
The Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer is one of those great warplanes we all know but would like to know more about. A naval derivative of the B-24 Liberator, it had a lengthened fuselage to accommodate a flight engineer’s station, no ball turret and a tall single fin rather than the Liberator’s familiar twin tail. The Privateer fought in the Philippines and the Japanese Home Islands, became an early air-to-air casualty in the nascent Cold War, guided nocturnal raids during the Korean War and pulled long-haul patrol duty with the Coast Guard.
If you’re somehow unfamiliar with the aircraft monographs Steve Ginter has been publishing for decades, this one will catch your eye with its brilliant Kodachrome cover of a Naval Air Reserve PB4Y-2 preparing to take off around 1950. Throw in yeoman author Nicholas Veronico and more than 200 additional photos, and you have the definitive guidebook to the Privateer.
You don’t get hair-raising flying exploits in this “Naval Fighters” series. What you do get is a thorough rundown on every squadron, every bump, every bulge, and interior and exterior diagrams. A pictorial guide to the PB4Y-2’s antenna array that occupies half a page looks as if it took many hours of research—like the rest of this guide, a labor of love.
The PB4Y-2 was redesignated P4Y-2 in 1951. In addition to maritime patrol, Privateers flew as pilotless drones, passing through atomic mushroom clouds during atmospheric tests in the Pacific, and also handled risky reconnaissance missions, including some mounted by Chinese Nationalist forces. In the civilian world, Privateers served as firefighters.
Continuing in a fine tradition by a publisher who has made giant contributions to aviation history, Convair PB4Y-2/P4Y-2 Privateer is a must-have reference for the historian and the modeler.
Originally published in the January 2014 issue of Aviation History. To subscribe, click here.