The "Flying Porcupine" as it was known was a sea going British version of the B-17. It was renowned for it`s legendary toughness and made the US Consolidated PBY- 5A "Catalina" look like a child`s toy compared to it`s own heavy defensive power, staggering offensive bomb load, and awesome range on just 3 of it`s 4 engines. It was quickly fitted with the Leigh Light and centimeter radar for hunting their main opponents, Nazi U boats. The very 1st operational combat patrol with this equipment resulted in detection of the sub, cutting back all the throttles to semi glide in very quietly, and at 1/2 mile turning on the Leigh light while going to full power and using the forward firing .303 machine guns to sweep the sub`s deck. At approx. 1000 and 400` above the sea, all 8 300 pd depth charges were ripple dropped, perfectly straddling the U boat, both caving in it`s hull for most of it`s length and momentarily blowing it almost completely out of the water, to sink in less than 10 seconds with the entire crew lost. This sea plane also rescued survivors, carried VIP items and personnel including Winston Churchill, and during the Berlin Crisis of 1947-`48 used several Berlin waterways to help increase the flow of supplies, coal, food, into and exports out of the city...
Know it was a 10 centimeter wave length set, and if remember correctly it could detect a U boat`s conning tower at 15 nautical miles; later versions towards the end of the war occasionally detected exposed periscopes and/ or snorkel heads at shorter ranges. They also later used a mix of depth charges to attack diving submarines followed by a "Fido' sound homing torpedo with a very deadly high rate of success. A "Sunderland" over the Bay of Biscay fought a running aerial battle for close to 3 hrs with 4 JU-88s (shot 2 down, forced 1 to ditch), and then was jumped by 5 FW-190s (shot down 1, forced 1 to ditch) and then while struggling home it chanced upon a small German mine sweeper, shot it up and with a well placed burst of .303 fire detonated it`s depth charge ready rack, blowing it and it`s crew to Kingdom come, and further damaging the "Sundy", which upon landing, promptly sank with pieces from the former mine sweeper actually imbedded in it`s wings and hull.The "Sunderland" stayed in RN, RAF, Australian, New Zealand, and French service after WW2 into the mid 1950s as patrol and search and rescue platforms as well as transport and cargo aircraft. A TOUGH old bird that more than 1 enemy pilot chose NOT to attack!
Then there are the two remaining Martin Mars planes, now serving as firefighting water bombers. I wonder what it would be like to ride along when they drop down to take a running scoop of 30 tons of water.
Actually, Nat`l Geo recently did a special on them fighting forest fires in northern Mexico. Origionally they also were built as ultra long range/ long endurance patrol bombers for the USN for use in the Pacific. They could carry 18 depth charges or 6 homing torpedoes or a mixed load of both, allowing multiple attacks designed to simply "dog" enemy subs until their batteries finally gave out, forcing them to the surface where they were easy prey...1 set a still standing record of carrying 241 passengers and crew from Alameda Cali to Pearl Harbor Hawaii in 1945...that record (for a sea plane) still stands and wasn`t bested for 5 yrs by a "Super Constellation" (C-121)
Possibly a Grumman "Goose', or Hughes HU-16 "Albatross", both designed in WW2 and used as patrol and search and rescue birds. The HU-16 was used by the USAF until the mid 1970`s; a pilot won the Silver Star for daring to snatch a pilot out of Haipong harbor in 1967 while a diverted entire USN "Alpha Strike" tore into the anti aircraft defenses, suppressing them just enough to allow the crew to grab the pilot while still moving and getting airborne with the "rescued" pilot still 1/2 hanging out of the hatch and collecting over 200 hits from shrapnel. A similar attempt a few months later with far less support tragically caused the loss of the plane and crew...
It just strikes me that it must be a heck of a task to learn the operation of the aircraft itself, and on top of that learning to operate it as a watercraft, dealing with weather and towboats and harbor masters, etc.
That wiki article mentions using a watercraft to create a wake ahead of the plane to break a suction effect that keeps the hull on the water. I'm guessing there are some stories about that.
I'm in a Navy frame of mind, I just scanned my late neighbor's typed account of serving on the USS Blue, DD-387 - if that rings a bell to anyone, I can give you the .pdf, it's about 2.5Mb.
edited to add, looking at pics, that Don Scott boat was bigger than a Goose but smaller than an Albatross.
The 2 engine amphibian you saw might have been a Grumman "Widget" ("Gosling"); it was a smaller lighter version of the "Goose" with close to the same range, but slower and with a lighter load of only 2 300lb depth charges. It was made famous on "Fantasy Island' with Tatoo yelling "The plane! The plane !" Surprisingly many still exist and refitted with more fuel efficient and more powerful engines are used by many small air operators, especially in Canada. A well liked and sturdy mount that can land on rough unprepared runways or almost any body of water, and at slower speeds rather economical to operate...