An exceptionally rare sight — as the UK’s only air-worthy heritage flying boat will fly along the Thames next week, and over Tower Bridge.


In fact, they at least once landed on the Thames and passed through Tower Bridge, but I doubt we would be that lucky this time. The event is to mark the 100th anniversary of a Daily Mail’s Round Britain Race back in the days when the newspaper used to sponsor a lot of aeronautical feats of endurance.

It also happens to be the 70th birthday of the specific flying boat that will make the flypast.

What will happen next week is that the Catalina G-PBYA flying boat, which is currently based at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford will start a 5 day tour around the UK, deviating from the original route in order to fly over some significant landmarks.

Weather depending, the plane should fly over Tower Bridge at 10:50am next Wednesday (21st Aug) and then fly along the Thames to Kingston (10.55), down to Chessington then over to Weybridge (11am), before heading down to Southampton.

It returns on Sunday reversing the same route and passing over Tower Bridge at around 4:15pm.

For photographers then, two chances to catch the flying boat over Tower Bridge, from both sides.

…and passing various London landmarks, depending on how low the boat is allowed to go.

Update: Looks like the plane won’t be that low after all, the lowest approach being 1,400 feet, which is higher than The Shard. Alas.

Now, how about landing it in the river?

Article last updated on August 16th, 2021 at 10:28 am


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  1. We had a visit from the Catalina in Felixstowe the other week, such a beautiful piece of machinery which I can highly recommend going out to see.

    One of my pics:[email protected]/9439064812/

  2. Davide says:

    I made a note of this and I will be ready with my camera, thank you for sharing!

  3. Sailing Guy says:

    Lovely, I’ll look out for it! It would be great if it did a chitty chitty bang bang style drop in the river, though It’ll add a lot of difference to the London skyline!

  4. Ian says:

    Same plane that flew over London as part of the battle of atlantic flypast on 9th May

  5. David Cohen says:

    There’s a website where you can apparently spot the progress of the Catalina

    also accessible via:


  6. John says:

    Nice to see the Catalina, a little disappointed that it flew over Tower Bridge at 90 degrees to the river. A very short glimpse.


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