Investigation of a
U.S. Navy PBM-3


Two types of PBM were built, the PBM-3 and PBM-5.   The types differed in their engines and a slight variation in the tail configuration.   All were true seaplanes that could not operate from land -- they did not have landing gear.

Of a total of 1,367 PBMs built by Martin, only three are known to survive.   One is a PBM-3D lying in Lake Washington, near Seattle -- the Navy tried to recover the wreck in 1990 and 1996.   The second is an intact, original PBM-5A in the Smithsonian Institution's collection in Arizona.   The third is BuNo 6672, which lies in the Choptank River.   The Navy retains legal title to the two sunken PBMs, as it does to all sunken Navy ships and aircraft unless sold or transferred.

'As designed' sketches of a PBM-3

On April 26, 1943, a new PBM-3 was delivered to the U.S. Navy and was assigned Bureau of Aeronautics number (BuNo) 6672.   The plane was transferred to Transport Squadron Eight (VR-8) at Naval Air Station, Patuxent River, Maryland, on December 31, 1943.   During a training flight two days later, it crashed in the Choptank River four miles southeast of Tilghman Island, Maryland.   All six crew members survived.

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