REPUBLIC SEABEE MODIFICATIONS

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'Dream Machine' - N3500G (s/n 631)
350 hp TIO-540 engine, extended wings, composite wing floats, droop tips,
extended spray rails, large rear windows, etc. by Transition Aircraft
Photo: Randy Komko

More than 60 years after the production ended, the Republic Seabee is still one of most popular amphibian aircraft on the used market.  Many amphibian pilots agree that the Seabee is the best single engine amphibian ever built, in terms of utility, ruggedness and water handling.  More and more pilots are realizing this and quite many Seabee 'hulks' have been taken out of barns and hangar backyards to be restored or rebuilt.  The last two decades the number of Seabees on the US Civil Aircraft Register has been increasing, from 260+ in 1972 to 320+ in 2002!

Several attempts have been made to put the Seabee into production again, unfortunately without success.  Meantime, Seabee owners do anything they can to keep their Seabees flying.  There undoubtedly have been advances in the aviation industry the last 50 years, especially when it comes to avionics and engines...  Therefore most Seabees flying today have been modified in some way or another to increase performance and to modernize the equipment aboard.  Listed below are all known Seabee modifications and conversions.

 

   

Engine Conversions

Seabee Engine Conversions

Several experimental one-of-a-kind engine installations have been developed for the Seabee, including gas turbine engines.  A number of engine conversions also have been STC'ed, and have been offered commercially by a few companies.  Probably more than two-thirds of the World's Seabee population have an engine conversion installed.

   
 

Seabee Airframe Modifications

Seabee Airframe Modifications

Many modifications have been developed by Seabee owners and engineers to improve the aerodynamic performance of the Seabee; extended wings, droop wing tips, wing tip end plates ('splates'), inboard 'splates'.  Other modifications, such as extended spray rails, will improve the water performance and reduce water spray into the propeller.

   
 

Seabee STCs

Seabee STCs

Here is a summary of STCs issued for the Republic Seabee.

   
 

Seabee Revisions History

Seabee Revisons

Republic Seabee production revisions history, and Franklin engine revisions history.

   
 

UC-1 Twin Bee

STOL UC-1 Twin Bee

The most dramatic conversion of the Republic Seabee is the UC-1 Twin Bee twin engine amphibian.  The Twin Bee conversion is so extensive that it has been awarded a new Approved Type Certificate (# A13EA).  The Twin Bee was developed in the early 1960s by Joseph Gigante, Norwood, Massachusetts. Twenty-three Twin Bee conversions have been built to this date.

 

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Updated: 2013-10-05

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2006-2013 Steinar Saevdal