Republic RC-3 Seabee


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  AMPHIBIANVirtual Aircraft Museum / USA / Republic  

Republic RC-3 Seabee

The first prototype flew in 1945. Over 1000 aircraft were built.

 MODELRC-3 "Seabee"
 ENGINE1 x Franklin 6A-215-B8F, 160kW
  Take-off weight1429 kg3150 lb
  Empty weight953 kg2101 lb
  Wingspan11.48 m38 ft 8 in
  Length8.53 m28 ft 0 in
  Height2.92 m10 ft 7 in
  Wing area18.21 m2196.01 sq ft
  Max. speed193 km/h120 mph
  Ceiling3660 m12000 ft
  Range579 km360 miles

Bill Heaphy, e-mail, 05.09.2017 00:36

My old SeaBee N6278K found her way to Fairbanks years ago. She met her end in a hangar fire so I was told. The SeaBee used in the James Bond movie intrigues me. A Flying Tiger pilot buddy called me saying that a Bee had just been onloaded onto one of our stretched DC-8' s at Lax bound for Bangkok. Tigers being very good about space available employee shipping thru which I had brought many parts home. Especially the old Philadelphia Seaplane Base owned by a gentleman named Bob Mills. I think our expatriate maint. supervisor R.C.Anderson at BKK actually assembled the aircraft. About one month later I was on a trip there and inquired of Andy what the status of the Bee was. His answer was originally the movie people were going to leave it there until they were told that the "import fee" would be about as much as shipping it back to the U.S.. Thus the script was rewritten to have the poor old SeaBee step taxied onto the beach and blown up. It also appears that the LH float strut and float is missing during that scene. Another good reason to head for the beach. Following that I turned my attention to RTAF Chipmunks on the other side of Don Muang airport that were being phased out.


Leslie Keith Merrick, e-mail, 03.09.2017 14:51

Referring to the comment made by Suzan ( 21 /3 /2012 ),could you tell me if the drawings dicovered were the Republic Company's drawings of the Sea Bee; and if so could you please give me her Email address? Thank you.
Kind regards,


Robert Gould, e-mail, 27.01.2015 21:25

I just donated my Seabee to the Pacific Aviation Museum at Pearl Harbor. I loved it. Power on stall was at 35kt indicated, top speed was about 95kt indicated. I always made power off approaches and landings. (Rate of descent at 70kt power off was about 1300fpm, but there was plenty of speed for the flare.) I had droop tips and wide spray rails. Richard Barrett is right about crosswinds. 15kt is about the max for taxiing on the ground or in the water if you want to turn!


Mr.Pong, e-mail, 19.03.2014 07:59

We need to buy propller for seabee engine Franklin 6AL500
Please contact me.
Thank you


Gareth Hill, e-mail, 31.05.2013 01:04

I am helping to restore a Seabee and am looking for a Replacement Tail Wheel Collar.
Any used parts out there? Thanks in advance.


Richard Davis, e-mail, 23.04.2013 07:26

i have owned 5 over the years including what was left of the B used inthe James bond movie that was burned to the waterline


Susan, e-mail, 21.03.2012 06:36

I own the building in Amityville where theses planes were made. It is an old seaplane hanger on the Great South Bay, that sits at the end of Bayview Ave in Amityville. We are looking for any pictures or history on this building which was built in 1929. We found a stash of old aviation plans and blueprints in the attic and are currently going through them to see if they are of the planes built here.


Shaun Olinger, e-mail, 26.12.2011 22:54

I have always wanted to fly one of these planes, love the way they look. I can't afford a real-life plane, but if these aircraft where as much fun in reality as they are on FSX, it would have been a real joy to fly. All of you that got to own one... I'm jealous. I'm flying the '47 with the Franklin engine, and it seems to do quite well, although it took some practice to land with full flaps. It doesn't like to land!


robert Wooldridge, e-mail, 31.08.2011 05:52

In 1962 on a clear windless day my father took a sightseeing flight over the lake. The Seabee crashed violently . He was a 10k hr C54 war pilot with 1000 hrs of Seabee time. The sightseeing trip was probably 200ft agl. The damage was severe, particularly up front. Could the cause been unscheduled prop reverse in flight?


Richard Barrett, e-mail, 12.03.2011 01:49

I have owned two of these birds and I like them. They are very well made and can operate in much rougher water than a float plane. They takeoff at 60, cruise at 120 approach at 70 and land at 60 mph IAS. The first Bee I owned was stock and I had to porpoise it to get it on the step. It flew nose up 3 degress because it needed more wing. It flew like a DC-6 ... very heavy for a light airplane. The glide power off is like a brick but with the proper technique can be handled just fine.
Now let's compare the second Bee I owned:
Takeoff just fine, no porpoise. Cruise 120 level. glide and land just fine power off but make a power approach at 70mph.
What's the difference?
Mods: Spray rail added that is 6"wide.
Three blade Hartzell prop. and a BT oil cooler.
Wing extensions, 2 ft, added outboard of the tips.

Things to know about flying the SeaBee:
Always use full flaps for takeoff and landing ... it's in the Pilots Operating Manual. Full flaps are only 30 degrees.
Always make wheel landings because the tailwheel retract mechanism is weak and will fail.
Don't overload it. It has a huge cabin and can carry 60 gallons of gas. That's too much. you can carry 4 people but not 4 football players and 60 gal.
You must be a good, experienced tailwheel pilot or you WILL groundloop.
The SeaBee is very hard to taxi in 10+ mph crosswind and 15 mph... forget it. If you can't make a turn toward the downwind side make a 270 to the opposite side. Cleveland brakes are a great improvement over the old expander tube brakes as is the steerable tailwheel mod.
The reversing prop is great! Operate in beta to dock and use the prop control to increase T. O. rpm to the redline for getting on the step and then put it in the normal locked position to accelerate to takeoff speed. It will fly off at 65-70 mph.
Most people that tell you the scary storys never flew one.
Capt. D 57 years of flying, 38,400 hrs and counting.
GA, bushpilot, Airlines 32 yrs, BizJets 18 yrs and counting. The SeaBee is a wonderful plane for the right guy.


victor, e-mail, 08.03.2011 16:33

I got my multi-seaplane rating in one of these coversions into a twin (tractor)180 hp. engines at a seaplane base in Florida. First flight I was taught T /O @ 90 mph; cruise 90 mph; landing speed 90 mph. I logged M /E land, M /E sea, tail-dragger, as well as RG time all on the same plane.


Aero99, e-mail, 12.02.2011 18:36

Thi aircraft was used in a James Bond movie.


John Kutz, e-mail, 06.11.2010 01:39

THE CRUISE SPEED AND STALL speed were within 3Knts IAS


Arnold Michel, e-mail, 04.10.2010 22:16

I owned a "great" Seabee from 1955 to 1956.
Tail # N6753K and flew a lot. .
My wife and I flew to Tupper and Long Lake in NY for fishng and several other trips. To me it was a great airplane and have very fond memories.
I had very little trouble with it.
It was a good airplane ad required you to be a good pilot.


Bob Kaplan, e-mail, 20.09.2010 06:44

During 1954 I worked as an A&E for the New York Army National Guard Aircraft Maintenence Pool 1 at Zahns Airport, Amityville, NY. On the field a group were working on a convertaplane project and one of the engineers was a former engineer for Republic Aviation just north of Zahns. He told me don't go near a SeeBee they have the glide angle of a brick, without power on. I didn't and retired with 32,000 hours and 36 years of airline service in 1990.


G I wonder, e-mail, 03.02.2010 02:32

Curious what was the max + /- g load with the original wing?
And with the wing extensions(which are at the wing root)how the g #s changed?
These old girls are 63 years old... so added span, raised gross, more power sounds a little shaky to me.


al, e-mail, 18.01.2010 04:27

We had a small RC3 club near Toronto in 1980. I was the youngest. One of our older members did this extreme mod to his RC3 at his lake. He purchased 5 Surplus Turbines (592 HP Aztazou-$4000 ea) in the USA. He extended the RC3 wings and ailerons. He had hydr. retract the gear. He modified the RC3 aft Cabin ceiling and replaced the Franklin with an Aztazou turning a 4 blade. He also had his RC3 fitted with snow skis. After burning up one Aztazou he had Canadian MOT inspect his work. His first and last test flight was off the frozen lake. His wife said he took off in about 5 lengths of the aircraft (592 HP). Another club member had just landed his RC3, also on skis. Unfortunately the stress of the test flight was too much because after landing to meet his visitor, he walked a few steps and suffered a massive heart attack. At the time of his death he was in his early 60s.


Jock Williams, e-mail, 15.04.2009 18:39

The Seabee was a joy to fly -but it needed another 100 horsepower or so -and perhaps another 8 feet of wingspan. Eventually both of these modifications were tried -and I understand they worked!

This old bird was as stable on the ground as a DC3 /C47 and on the water as a PBY.

In 1978 I almost traded my Tiger Moth for a Seabee. I am glad I didn't -but am sorry I didn't have the money to buy the Seabee and operate them BOTH!

It is the ultimate family bushplane. Way before its time!

Jock Williams


Harold Brouphy, e-mail, 24.07.2008 06:09

I was a proud owner for a very short time During this time I made three landings; Two dead stick and one necessary down wind.


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