The Long Blue Line: Coast Guard’s distinguished aviation amphibian Arcturus

In the early 1930s, Coast Guard Commandant Frederick Billard decided to acquire state-of-the-art flying boats capable of performing rescues by landing on the open sea. The first aircraft designed from the start for Coast Guard use, these new amphibians became known as the Coast Guard’s “FLBs” or Flying Life Boats. These platforms helped shaped the history of Coast Guard aviation.


Arcturus, one of several early Coast Guard amphibian aircraft given names rather than numeric designations. It was on board Arcturus that von Paulsen earned the first Gold Lifesaving Medal awarded for an aviation search and rescue mission. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Coast Guard Aviation Association.

The Long Blue Line: Carl Christian von Paulsen – Coast Guard aviation pioneer and war hero

The story of von Paulsen’s career is a lesson in adapting to change and getting the job done with the assets at hand. From his native Montana, he traveled to the four corners of the world. He also fought two world wars and a war against the Rum Runners, and he helped save countless lives.


History: Carl Christian von Paulsen & the establishment of Coast Guard aviation

2011 is the Centennial of Naval Aviation and will honor aviation pioneers in the Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps. The year-long celebration includes air shows, art exhibits, flyovers and tactical demonstrations nationwide. As part of our ongoing celebration of […]