A World War II flying boat which was stranded on Loch Ness for six weeks has finally returned to the air.

The flying boat, named Catalina and nicknamed 'Miss Pickup', is the only one in the world to be airworthy. 

The aircrat suffered engine trouble while trying to take off from the loch in October, and had to be towed to safety for repairs to begin.

Generous donors raised £30,000 for the work and the seaplane was craned back onto the water before dawn on Tuesday. 

READ MORE: Seaplane raised from Loch Ness as race begins to repair it

After engine checks took place the plane raced down the loch - the first time a military flying boat has done so since 1945. 


The vintage flying machine then landed at Inverness Airport to refuel, before heading back to Duxford, Cambridgeshire. 

Pilot Matt Deardon said: "She's flown perfectly which is a huge relief as leaving her here over the winter could have caused serious damage. 

"We've been given a fantastic welcome on Loch Ness, the RNLI and the Piermaster Gordon Menzies have been incredible and we're grateful to everybody who contributed to the fundraiser to get her home, and we hope to come back to say thanks again in the future." 

Garry Short, chief engineer, added: "When she wouldnt start we quickly realised it might be a major problem as the aircraft is very reliable. 

"Changing the engine was complex but not too challenging once we had her onshore, but waiting for the right weather to crane her back into the Loch has been key. 

"To see her running perfectly today and taking off was a real joy - mission accomplished." 

READ MORE: Video shows lifeboat crews rescue PBY Cataline seaplane​

A documentary, Escape from Loch Ness, will be screened on BBC Alba. 


Documentary Director Nik Coleman said: "As we followed her over the weeks there have been some touch and go moments, we've seen all too may warbirds end their time like this so to film her departing under full power today was a huge joy. 

"She's been saved to honour all those who flew the Catalina from all over Scotland and the UK in WWII, it's a great relief."