Avalon Air Transport came into being during the summer of 1953. The airline was founded by pilot Dick Probert with partner Jean Chisolm. They began the operation with a single Grumman Goose (N1503V). A short time later, Jean Chisolm's share of the airline was purchased by Walt von Kleinsmid. The airline was very successful and grew into a fleet of seven Grumman Gooses, a Sikorsky VS-44A and a Sikorsky S-43. In 1963 the airlines's name was changed to Catalina Airlines. The airline ceased operations in 1968.
Avalon Air Transport/CAL Fleet list:
Grumman Gooses: (#1)N1503V, (#2)N1583V, (#3)N1513V, (#4)N1523V, (#5)N1543V, N322, N323, N324, N325, N327, N328, N329, N93G, N1133
Sikorsky S-43: N326
Sikorsky VS-44A: N41881
Avalon Air Transport N322, c/n B-73 at Long Beach Airport. N322 had previously been used by an Admiral of the US Navy as his personal airplane and was based on an aircraft carrier. Shown here in early AAT paint scheme.
Catalina Airlines N329 c/n B-119 in later Catalina Airlines paint scheme. Seen here departing Avalon Harbor mid 1960s.
Catalina Airlines N328, c/n 1053. Seen in this photo at the Avalon Pleasure Pier mid 1960s. This Goose was purchased from the Peruvian Air Force by Avalon Air Transport for $8,000.
Catalina Airlines N323, c/n 1191 at the Pleasure Pier in Avalon. The glass bottom boat "Phoenix" is at the upper left.
Catalina Airlines N322 at Long Beach Airport late 1960s. Photo by John P. Stewart
Catalina Airlines N1133, c/n B-59. This Goose was lost mid-channel after an emergency landing on April 10th, 1976. It was flying for Air Catalina and registered as N18CS. N18CS developed engine trouble after departing Camp Fox. Captain Bob Hoover landed her safely in the open ocean; however, the Goose took on water and sank before it could be saved.
Catalina Airlines N1133, c/n B-59. Loading passengers at the Avalon Pleasure Pier. Photo by Steven Dold.
N1503V, AAT's first Grumman Goose. This Goose was purchased by AAT from Cordova Airlines of Alaska.
Avalon Air Transport/Catalina Airlines
Airline Logos and Paint Liveries
This Sikorsky S-43 was previously owned by Amphibian Air Transport and was registered as NC53294. Avalon Air Transport operated it as N326 throughout the 1950s until it crashed and sank while landing in Avalon Harbor in 1959.
Avalon Air Transport's founder, Dick Probert at the controls Catalina Airlines Goose N328
Avalon Air Transport ship #3 N1513V c/n B-103. N1503V is parked behind it. Photo courtesy of Ed Coates.
Avalon Air Transport N323, c/n 1191 at Long Beach Airport, 1959. Photo by Ellis Chernoff.
Avalon Air Transport N322 c/n B-73. Special "one season" blue paint from 1961. Photo by Ellis Chernoff.
N1583V c/n 1125 was sold by Avalon Air Transport in 1956 to Kodiak Airways in Alaska. N1583V was Kodiak Airway's first Goose. It was lost with 5 fatalities in December of 1974. In this photo, N1583V is waiting on the beach in the Kodiak Channel, still painted in it's Avalon Air Transport colors.
N326 on the step in Avalon