Republic Seabees LN-BDT (s/n 202)
LN-PAK (s/n 865)
VLS was formed in March 1947 after initiative from local politicians who wanted to improve the transportations to and from Bergen. The location of a Bergen airport had been discussed for years, and was to be discussed for many more - until the final decision was made for Flesland in the early 1950s. Bergen Airport Flesland opened in 1956.
Thor Solberg also wanted to operate aircraft commercially from Flatøy, but the local government had put restrictions on the number of aircraft operators operating in Bergen area. They favored VLS and Thor Solberg was only allowed to operate as a flight school and air taxi operator. Solberg also founded a base at Sola Airport. During 1948 Solberg sold most of his aircraft in Norway, including the Seabees and moved back to the USA.
On the coast the Seabees would fly people, mail, supplies, etc. to habitated islands. From inland lakes and rivers, the Seabees would fly delicious fish to the town markets. The Seabees would also be the life saving ambulance transportation for emergencies in remote areas and to islands along the coast.
Seabee operators in Norway included Thor Solbergs Flyselskap AS, Wideröe's Flyveselskap AS, Vestlandske Luftfartselskap AS, Tröndelag Flyselskap, Sörfly AS, Mörefly AS.
Photo © via Per Erik Dalen
Photo © via Per Erik Dalen
Almost all of the Norwegian Seabees had minor accidents or crashed during their careers. Most of the accidents happened off airports. This should come as no surprise, when considering the challenging environment they operated in and the difficult tasks they had. In most accidents the occupants survived, but sadly three people died in two ambulance flight crashes.
Two Seabees (s/n 645 and s/n 646) were imported to Norway from England to replace Seabees that had been lost in accidents.
The last Seabee in Norway, LN-IKK (s/n 270), was sold to Sweden summer 2003 and was cancelled from Norwegian Register on 17 September 2004. In Sweden s/n 270 has been registered SE-AXR. Sadly 57 years of Norwegian Seabee history was over...
Summer 2009 Mr. Per Otto Leth-Olsen, Jonsvatnet, told this webmaster that he was considering purchasing a Franklin-powered Seabee from the USA. Autumn 2009 the great news was confirmed when registration LN-PLO was reserved for Seabee s/n 813 (N6547K). December 2009 the Seabee finally arrived Norway, and is now hangared at Værnes Airport for restoration. Per Otto's late dad, Petter Leth-Olsen, was the owner of Seabee LN-TVV (s/n 829) during the early 1960s!
After a 2-year restoration by Per Otto, LN-PLO made her first flight in Norway on 08 October 2010. On 15 October Per Otto made the first landing on his "home" lake "Jonsvatnet" just outside Trondheim.
Click on S/N for individual stories!
|D||LN-BDT||202||1957 - 1972||RAC
Ex LN-MAF, SE-BXA. Scrapped.
|F||LN-IKK||270||1966 - 2004||RAC
Ex SE-AXR. To SE-AXR 2004.
|D||LN-MAF||202||1947 - 1950||RAC
To SE-BXA, LN-BDT. Scrapped.
|F||LN-MAL||953||1947 - 1950||RAC
To SE-BXB. Flying.
|C||LN-MAM||737||1947 - 1963||RAC
To OH-SBC. Crashed 1962-06-15.
|E||LN-OAW||742||1947 - 1956||RAC
Ex XB-DEL. To SE-CBW. C of A expired 1963.
|E||LN-PAF||646||1947 - 1959||RAC
To SE-CHF. Crashed 1961-06-23.
|D||LN-PAH||647||1947 - 1966||RAC
|C||LN-PAI||864||1947 - 1950||RAC
|E||LN-PAK||865||1947 - 1962||RAC
To SE-CMM. Crashed 1964-08-15.
|C||LN-PAL||905||1947 - 1949||RAC
|C||LN-PAM||644||1948 - 1957||RAC
Ex G-AJVP. Crashed 1957-01-22.
|C||LN-PAP||828||1947 - 1951||RAC
Imported by Per Otto Leth-Olsen.
|C||LN-RAB||910||1947 - 1948||RAC
|C||LN-TAG||986||1948 - 1954||RAC
|C||LN-TSN||645||1949 - 1956||RAC
Ex G-AJVO. Crashed 1955-08-23
|E||LN-TSM||687||1958 - 1960||RAC
Ex N6437K. To SE-COC. C of A expired 1969.
1974 - 1979
Ex SE-AXX. To SE-AXX.
|Crashed (C) / Scrapped/Destroyed (D)|
|Confirmed flying (F)|
|Unknown (U)/ Restoration (R) / Stored (S) / Exported (E).|
|C of R #||Date||C of A #||Date||Reg #||C/N||Delivery RAC||Remarks|
|157||1947-06-09||180||1947-06-09||LN-PAF||646||1947-04-22||E. S. Thofte & Co|
|175||1947-07-26||199||1947-07-26||LN-RAB||910||1947-06-27||Trøndelag Flygeselskap AS|
|214||1948-02-27||238||1948-02-12||LN-TAG||986||1947-11-13||Trøndelag Flygeselskap AS|
|229||1948-06-09||253||1948-06-10||LN-PAM||644||1947-04-18||VLS (ex G-AJVP)|
|247||1949-05-31||272||1949-05-31||LN-TSN||645||1947-04-22||VLS (ex G-AJVO)|
|298||1953-08-07||328||1953-08-07||LN-TVV||829||1947-05-28||Ernst Hansen (ex SE-AXX)|
|466||1958-05-16||495||1958-05-16||LN-TSM||687||1947-04-29||Thor Solberg (ex N6437K)|
|853||1967-05-26||853||1967-05-26||LN-IKK||270||1947-02-14||Ernst Hansen (ex SE-AXR)|
|1399||1974-07-19||1399||1974-07-19||LN-TVV||829||1947-05-28||H. Grøtjorden (ex SE-AXX)|
|????||2010-07-01||????||2010-07-01||LN-PLO||813||1947-05-13||P O Leth-Olsen (ex N6547K)|