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Photo: Wanted!


Manufacturer: Republic Aviation Corporation; Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, USA.
Model: RC-3 Seabee
Type Certificate No: A-769
Serial Number: 903
Manufacturing Date: 1947-05-??
Engine: Franklin 6A8-215-B9F (215 HP at 2500 RPM)
Remarks: Mode S Codes: 52140700 / A8C1C0 (N6630K)
Reg. No. Date Remarks
NC6630K 1947-05-?? Manufacturing Date.
1947-05-?? Test flight.
1947-06-04 Statement of Conformity, Form ACA 317, issued by Republic Aviation Corporation ... 903 has been manufactured in conformity with the data forming the basis for Type Certificate No. 769...
[Signed W. I. Stieglitz, Design Engineer, Commercial Req'ts].
1947-06-06 Application for Airworthiness Certificate and/or Annual Inspection of an Aircraft, Form ACA-305:
Engine 6A8-215-B8F
Owner's name: Republic Aviation Corporation; Farmingdale, New York.
1947-06-06 R. Wilks, Agent (signed)
1947-06-06 Edwin W. Schwoebli, CAA Inspector (signed)
1947-06-11 Bill of Sale, Form ACA-500 Part C:
Purchaser: Lane Aviation Corporation; 3364 Riverside Drive, Columbus 8, Ohio.
Seller: Republic Aviation Corporation; M. G. Veckman, Assistant Treasurer.
1947-12-11 Repair And Alteration Form (Aircraft, Propellers, Engines, Instruments), Form ACA 337, NC6630K:
Owner: Lane Aviation Corporation; Hangar #1, Port Columbus, Columbus 9, Ohio.
Agency: Derward F. DeVore; Hangar #1, Lane Aviation Corporation, Port Columbus, Columbus 9, Ohio.

Installed one heavy duty S.O.S. Fire Guard Carbontetrachloride Extinguisher #328606 forward of front (passenger) seat.

1947-12-11 Supervising Mechanic: Derward F. DeVore; A&E 787815 (signed).
1947-12-13 Eugene J. Warner, Designee #3209 (signed).
1947-12-30 (?), CAA Inspector (signed).

1947-06-11 Officially delivered from Republic Aviation Corporation to Lane Aviation Corporation; Columbus, Ohio, USA.
1948-07-09 Bill of Sale, Form ACA-500 Part C:
Purchaser: Clarence E. Thiele; 213 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee 3, Wisconsin.
Seller: Lane Aviation Corp., Fenton Lane, Pres. (signed).
1948-07-09 Application for Registration, Form ACA-500 Part B.
Name: Clarence E. Thiele; 213 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee 3, Wisconsin.
1948-07-16 Certificate of Registration, Form ACA-500.1 Part A, issued to:
Clarence E. Thiele; 213 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53201.
1949-05-07 Application for Airworthiness Certificate and/or Annual Inspection of an Aircraft, Form ACA-305:
Owner's Name: Clarence E. Thiele; 213 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wis.
Authorized Agent: E. T. Pietyak (?).
1949-05-07 E. T. Pietyak (?), Designee (signed).
1949-06-03 (?), CAA inspector (signed).
1949-05-07 Certificate of Airworthiness, Form ACA-1362, issued.
1949-07-28 Repair And Alteration Form (Aircraft, Propellers, Engines, Instruments), Form ACA 337, NC6630K:
Owner: Clarence E. Thiele; 213 West Wisconsin Avenue, Milwaukee, Wis.
Agency: Randall E. Tiegs; c/o Spring City Flying Service, Inc., Waukesha, Wis.

Removed Main Gear, Tailwheel complete, and 50# ballast.
(Weight reduced from 2217 lbs to 2028.5 lbs)

1949-07-28 Supervising Mechanic: Randall E. Tiegs; A&E 169666 (signed).
1949-07-28 Dale B. Crites, Designee #391 (signed).
1949-08-01 (?), CAA Inspector (signed).

1949-09-05 4-Mile Bridge, Rock River, Janesville, Wisconsin; aircraft crashed into center span of bridge on take off from river.

Plane Crashes 4-Mile Bridge; Pilot Injured
- Milwaukee Amphibian Ship Is Wrecked in Takeoff From River

      In a spectacular crash, a Milwaukee amphibian plane Monday afternoon crashed into the center span of the new Four-Mile bridge, north of Janesville, and then plunged into Rock river.  Clarence Thiele, 56, Milwaukee insurance company executive, who was piloting the craft, is in Mercy hospital for treatment of shock and bad lacerations and cuts.
      A heavy steel girder under the bridge structure was dented by the impact, and the plane was demolished.
      Thiele said he was attempting to take off from the river when caught by a gust of wind or an up-draft at the bridge, and crashed into the structure.  As the plane fell, he jumped or was thrown from the wreckage, and picked up by Steve LaVelle and Floyd Arnold, who had a motorboat nearby.
      Take to Mercy hospital following the crash, Thiele suffered severe shock but was able to make a statement about the accident today.  His nurse said that he apparently suffered no broken bones or internal injuries, though he may have two cracked ribs.
                                                    Landed Without Difficulty
      The single-engine Republic Seabee plane had been flown here by Thiele from Milwaukee and landed without difficulty on the river.  At 4 p.m. Thiele attempted to take off again and crashed.  He swam to one of the wings which was ripped from the craft, and supported himself until help arrived.
      A first report made to Sheriff Miles C. Sweeney was that Thiele had attempted to fly under the bridge span, where there is clearance of about 25 feet between the water and bridge girders above.  This was later denied.
      At the hospital this forenoon, Thiele said that he had followed an electrical highline from Milton as far as the Four-Mile bridge, and circles the area four times at about 1,000 feet as he looked for a safe landing.  He sat his craft down on the river without mishap and tied up at LaVelle's dock while visiting friends at a nearby cottage.
      Before attempting to take off again, LaVelle and Arnold took him down the river by speedboat to check the course, and he decided that he would taxi under the bridge from the south, and then take off from the north side.
                                                         Traveling 40 M.P.H.
      Thiele said he had attained a speed of about 40 miles per hour but was not out of water as he approached the bridge.  Near the structure, the plane lifted swiftly and hurled into the heavy supporting steelwork despite his efforts to keep the nose down.  The plane, he said, would not normally become airborne until a speed of 45 to 50 miles per hour had been reached, and wing flaps had been lowered to keep the speed down.
      The flyer today urged that a survey be made of wires and cables crossing the river in the vicinity of the bridge, which he said makes it difficult for planes equipped with pontoons to land or take off there.  He is manager of the life insurance department of the Continental Insurance Co., 213 W. Wisconsin avenue, Milwaukee, and has been flying for several years.  He holds a private pilot's license, and had owned the plane wrecked Monday for the past year.
                                                        Landing Wheels Off
      As a possible explanation of the crash, he said the retractable landing wheels had been removed from the plane as a precaution against accident when landing or taking off from the water, and this lightened the plane by about 200 pounds.  The lighter weight may have permitted the plane to gain altitude faster than expected.
      The crash peeled the cockpit from the top portion of the fuselage and dented the steel work of the bridge.  The old Four-Mile bridge went down in 1942 under a milk truck, and rebuilding was impossible during the war.  The new bridge was opened to traffic only about a month ago, providing a heavily-traveled link between U.S. Highways 51 and 14.

[Janesville Daily Gazette; Janesville, Wisconsin, Tuesday, Septemberm 6, 1949, courtesy of Matt Miller].

  1950-01-30 Aircraft Status Change, Form ACA 195:
Registered owner: Clarence E. Thiele.
Canceled for reason checked below:
[x] 4. Accident. Washout 9-5-49 per list 1-27-50 Master File.

Cancelled from CAA Aircraft Register.

  Sources: RAC Seabee Delivery List.
FAA Aircraft Registry.
Barry Collman.
Matt Miller.

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Updated 2017-12-29

  2017 Steinar Saevdal