A BLACK Catalina that has become a favourite with Lake Macquarie residents is back in the air after being grounded by engine trouble for three months.
The aircraft, knows as Felix the Black Cat, had been on its way from the NSW South Coast to do a fly-by at the Rathmines Catalina Festival last year when it experienced engine trouble and was forced to make an emergency landing at Maitland Airport.
And there is stayed for three months as the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society, of Albion Park, determined how to get the aircraft home.
A re-built engine was transferred from Albion Park earlier this month, and on Saturday the aircraft was cleared to make its flight home.
Felix has become a popular drawcard at the Rathmines Catalina Festival.
Each year that Felix has appeared at the festival, locals have marvelled at how low and slow the aircraft flew.
Seeing the aircraft fly across Lake Macquarie gives locals a sense of what it was like when Rathmines was home to the busy World War II RAAF air base.
There is also growing interest in the efforts of Rathmines Catalina Memorial Park Association to restore its own Catalina to become a static display in a proposed museum and memorial to the airman at Rathmines.