Republic Seabee News 2003

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2003 Nov 20

 Brazil News

Seabee s/n 457 in VARIG Hangars.
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 13 November 2003
Photo: © Silivo T. Comenho

Mr. Silivio T. Comenho has sent some photos from the restoration of his Seabee #457 (PP-DKU) in Brazil.  The restoration is progressing well, thanks to the skilled workforce at VARIG.  The photos suggest that a Lycoming engine will be installed?  Silvio is a Boeing 777 captain with VARIG.  He hopes that #457 will fly again in April.  We look forward to Silvio's next report!  For more photos, please visit the Seabees in Brazil page.

2003 Nov 07

 Sea Hornet on Water

The Sea Hornet on water!

C-GNVS (s/n 465) "Sea Hornet"
California 24 October 2003
Photo: © Mark Ward

The Sea Hornet has made her first flight tests on water, and she is performing well - and looking great.  The Sea Hornet has a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-20 turbine engine, turning a specially built Hartzell 3 blade full feather, reversing propeller.  The engine has been de-rated to 400 SHP.  Mr. Mark Ward has promised to be back with more details on this project soon. 

2003 Sep 10

 Turbine Seabee!

C-GNVS - Turbine Seabee!

C-GNVS (s/n 465) "Sea Hornet"
California Sept. 2003
Photo: © Dave Saunders via John Cuny

Just when you thought you had seen it all...take a look at this!!  A Turbine Seabee!  Mr. John Cuny reports that this 'secret' Seabee project finally has been revealed to the public.  Not many details are know at this time.  The subject Seabee is registered on the Canadian Civil Aircraft Register as C-GNVS (s/n 465).  The listed owner is Mr. R. Wallace of Bellingham, Washington, USA.  However, the modifications and flight testing are reported to be taking place in California.  Reportedly the engine installed is a PT6A turbine.  From the photos it is also seen that the Seabee has gotten a serious 'nose-job'!  Also noted are the struts on the tailplane. The Turbine Seabee project has been named The 'Sea Hornet'.

"Sea Hornet"

C-GNVS (s/n 465) "Sea Hornet"
PT-6A turbine engine!
Photo: © Dave Saunders via John Cuny

One of the people behind the Turbine Seabee project - Mr. David Saunders - reports that they already have accumulated a few hours on the 'Sea Hornet' and no problems have been experienced so far.  The first flights have been made for evaluating the handling and getting familiar with the aircraft.  The definitive flight tests start soon. They hope to be on the water next week!!  We look forward to getting more details about this extremely interesting project soon!

2003 Aug 12

 Simuflight - The Legacy Continues!

Seabee enthusiasts will be glad to learn that Joe McHugh's son Scott A. Henderson informs he and his sisters are going to continue Joe's Seabee Legacy and that Joe's kits and conversions will continue to be available once they have sorted out the estate.

Like Joe, Scott is also an avid Seabee pilot as any good son should be and he was trained to fly Seabee's by the man that knew more than most about them - his father.

For any inquiries regarding Joe Simuflight or his kits, please contact Scott at:

Mr. Scott A. Henderson
Finite Technologies Incorporated
3763 Image Drive, Anchorage, Alaska 99504
Phone: 907.337.2860, Fax: 907.333.4482

2003 Aug 15

 Last Norwegian Seabee...

It is with some sadness that your (Norwegian) Webmaster has been informed that the last Seabee in Norway, LN-IKK (s/n 270), has been sold abroad...

LN-IKK was offered for sale more than a year ago, but the Norwegian owner Torleif Disen failed to find a new owner in Norway.  The Republic Seabee was one of the most popular air taxi aircraft in Norway from 1946/47 - when more than 10 Seabees were imported to Norway.  A total of 17 Seabees have been on the Norwegian Civil Aircraft Register, and LN-IKK was the last.

Fortunately s/n 270 has found a happy new owner in Sweden, where the Seabee amphibians still are very much appreciated.  The new owner is Mr. David Pajus, who lives in Linköping.  S/n 270 was flown from Norway to Sweden on 26 June, and she will be based at Malmslätt airfield just outside Stockholm.  She will still have the Norwegian registration marks LN-IKK for a while.

2003 Jun 19

Joe McHugh R.I.P.

All Seabee enthusiasts are shocked and saddened to learn that it was Seabee legend Capt. Joe B. McHugh who was killed, when Seabee N6723K crashed in Yelm, Washington, on Monday 16 June 2003 (see News 2003-06-17).

Douglas Gentzkow of Redmond, who had just purchased the Seabee from the estate of late George Mojonnier. was seriously injured in the accident. 

A witness to the crash, John Mayerl, died from heart attack when rushing to the crash scene to help.

- The Seabee never left the ground. As Gentzkow taxied down the grass runway of Western Airpark in Yelm, it turned into the trees and fell down the 300-foot embankment. The plane landed upside-down on the steep slope, making it difficult and dangerous for investigators to reach it; NTSB Investigator Tom Little said to local newspaper "King County Journal".

- Gentzkow recently purchased the Seabee from a man who lived at Yelm's Western Airpark; Little said. - He and McHugh were flying it to Crest Airpark in Kent, where McHugh lived. It's possible the two were going to work on the plane, although that has not been confirmed; Little said.

More details at: 

Joe McHugh was a true Seabee enthusiast and an avid long-time Seabee owner.  For many years McHugh developed and sold some of the most popular Seabee engine conversions and Seabee modifications available, through his company Simuflight.  The Simuflight GO-480 engine conversions were installed on Seabee all over the World.

Born Aug. 27, 1931, in Tacoma, McHugh graduated from Enumclaw High School and served in the Navy Reserves as a pilot. He lived in the South County area for 70 years.

Mr. McHugh worked at Pacific Northwest Airlines as a flight engineer and co-pilot; at Western Airlines as a co-pilot and captain; and as a captain at Delta Airlines.

He is survived by his son, Scott A. Henderson of Anchorage, Alaska; daughters, Penny Larson of Woodinville, Kris Goldman of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Lynn Clark of Bothell; brothers, Jim McHugh of Enumclaw and John McHugh of Olympia; sister, Barbara Jussila of Sumner; and eight grandchildren.

NTSB Report

[Updated 2003-06-20][Updated 2003-06-23][Updated 2003-07-24][Updated 2004-03-26]  

2003 Jun 17

Seabee N6723K Crashes in Yelm, WA

N6723K (s/n 1006)
Photo: © William T. Larkins

It is sadly reported that Seabee N6723K (s/n 1006) crashed on take off from Western Airport, Yelm, WA on Monday 16 June 2003.  Two people were aboard the aircraft at the accident.  The 71 year old occupant was killed and the 61 year old was seriously injured.  A third person, a 54 year old man, suffered a fatal heart attack when rushing to the accident scene to help.


Two men were aboard the plane as it attempted to take off from Western Airpark shortly before 6:30 p.m.

The takeoff failed, and seconds later, the plane crashed upside down near the Centralia Canal at the base of a steep, 300-foot embankment off Cook Road Southeast.

A bystander who attempted to help the occupants of the plane had an apparent heart attack and was found dead two-thirds of the way down the overgrown embankment. 


Because the crash site was unreachable by helicopter, the Thurston County dive crew transported the injured Redmond man along the creek using a Zodiac watercraft so he could be airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The effort took more than two hours to complete.

About 8:50 p.m., a helicopter carrying the injured man took off for Seattle.

Yelm and Rainier fire districts, the Thurston County Sheriff's Department, Medic One and the Coroner's Office all responded to the accident. Representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration also are investigating the crash.

"I've lived out here a long time, and I can't even tell you the last time something like this happened," Yelm and Rainier Fire Chief Rita Hutcheson said. "It's not a frequent occurrence, thank god. It's just a really unfortunate situation."

Carolyn Skye, who lives on Cook Road Southeast, saw the takeoff attempt and said it was obvious something was wrong with the plane, which she described as beige with an oddly shaped nose. However, she said she did not hear anything to indicate mechanical difficulties.

"It was going too slow to take off and too fast to stop at the end of the runway," Skye said. "It kept going, so I knew it was in trouble. I heard a lot of crashing into the trees, and there was a fir tree sheared off at the top by the plane."

Lt. Steve Slater, of the Yelm Fire District, made his way down to the crash site and said the nose of the airplane was slightly smashed in. Both wings also were damaged, he said.

The steep hillside made it nearly impossible for rescue workers to complete what is called a high-angle rescue, which involves strapping the victims to a board and carrying them up the embankment. So instead, Thurston County dive crews planned to use their boats to remove the two bodies that remained at the crash site after the injured man was airlifted from the scene.

"It's extremely difficult because the hillside is very steep," Slater said. "You wouldn't be able to walk down this except if you were holding onto the trees and brush."

At 9:30 p.m., workers still had not removed the two bodies from the site. The Thurston County Coroner's Office was expected to take possession of the two bodies.

"I've lived here 31 years, and I've seen five planes go down," said Lloyd Klumpp, a Thurston County resident who lives near the crash site. "Normally, nobody gets hurt."

[Heather Woodward, The Olympian]


2003 Apr 18

Seabees at Sun'n'Fun 2003

Seabees at Sun'n'Fun 2003!

Sun'n'Fun 2003
Photo: © Scott Perkins

At least five Seabees visited EAA's Sun'n'Fun 2003 fly in and the Splash Ins arranged on this event; N6240K flown by Jim Poel, N6428K flown by Richie Brumm, N6144K flown by Henry Ruzakowski, N9042N flown by Steve Mestler and N6356K flown by Jan Bem.

For Steve Mestler's account of this great event, please visit the IRSOC News pages.  More Sun'n'Fun 2003 Seabee photos can also be found here.

2003 Apr 14

Trigull in Production - Finally?

C-FTRI in Viking Air hangar on 11 April 2003
Photo: © Jim Jackson

In the late 1960ies and the early 1970ies the Trident Trigull amphibian was designed and developed by Chuck Y. Herbst and P. H. Spencer to be a modern replacement for the Seabee.  For more than three decades attempts have been made to put the Trigull amphibian into production in Canada.  They have all failed for a number of unfortunate reasons.

Brent Wallace now sent this very exciting news on the Trigull, from Flight International magazine:

Beaver to bring back bush aircraft


Canadian manufacturer reveals goal of reviving production of 35-year-old utility lines and refloating amphibian

A Canadian company is planning to restart the de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver and DHC-3 Otter utility aircraft lines, 35 years after production ended.

Beaver Aircraft Canada also intends to breathe life into the four-seat Trident Aircraft Tri-Gull amphibian. This programme, now owned by Canada's Viking Aircraft, was shelved during development in the 1970s due to lack of funding.

The all-metal, single-engined, high-wing Beaver made its first flight in August 1947 and around 1,650 of the six-seat aircraft were built. Of these more than half are still flying, says Beaver Aircraft director Mark Sager.

The larger, 16-seat Otter entered service in 1953 and when production ceased in 1968, around 460 aircraft had been built. Sager says: "We have an overwhelming response from the market worldwide, which is keen to see these rugged short take-off and landing bush aeroplanes back in service, particularly the Beaver, which is widely regarded as one of the most perfectly designed and robust small utility aircraft ever built."

Beaver Aircraft has acquired Viking Air, which owns the production jigs and drawings for all three aircraft. The Victoria, British Columbia-based company builds spare parts and specialises in the reconstruction and modification of Beaver and Otter designs.

Although development details are being kept under wraps, Sager says the Otter will be offered only with a modern turbine engine. The Beaver will be available in two variants. One will be faithful to the old design, perhaps powered by second-hand radial engines such as the Pratt & Whitney R-985 Wasp, while the other could encompass a number of modifications added to the aircraft over the years such as new avionics, engines and doors. The Beaver is likely to be stretched to accommodate nineseats, Sager says. The Tri-Gull will also be turbine-powered and is likely to be renamed, he adds.

"There are still a few balls to go through the hoops before we can turn the light back on in the factory. But when that day comes, we expect prototype, flight testing and certification [for all three models] will take about two to three years," he says. The first aircraft to enter service could be the Otter, followed by the Tri-Gull and the Beaver.

The company is predicting sales of around 600 Beavers, 490 Otters and 365 Tri-Gulls in the first 10 years, Sager says. "There is a large market for the Beaver and Otter from private owners, through to maritime surveillance, and passenger/commuter operators. The Tri-Gull will mainly be targeted at recreational flyers," he adds

Source: Flight International 08 April 2003

You can read more at  Visit Beaver Aircraft Canada at for latest official Trigull information.  For more information on the Trigull amphibian you can also visit my unofficial Trigull web-pages.


2003 Jan 30

George Mojonnier R.I.P.

It is sadly reported that Mr. George Mojonnier passed away a few weeks ago, 85 years old.  George was a well known and true Seabee enthusiast, and in the early 1970ies he published Seabee Newsletters that were very much enjoyed by all Seabee enthusiasts receiving them.  George lived in Washington, and owned a number of Seabees.  If you can tell me more about George and his flying career, and his Seabee stories, I would very much appreciate hearing from you.  Please e-mail me.  Thank you!

2003 Jan 26

Trigull C-FTRI

Brent Wallace reports that he spotted Trigull prototype C-FTRI in one of Viking Air's hangars at Victoria International Airport, BC, Canada - on his visit to Viking Air on 2003-01-23.  C-FTRI was hangared together with Republic Seabee N6483K (s/n 727) and the DHC-3T Otter turbine engine conversion C-GVTO.  The Trigull looked magnificent!  Brent sent these great photos;

C-FTRI at Viking Air 2003-01-21
Photo: © Brent Wallace


Instrument panel of C-FTRI
Photo: © Brent Wallace

Thank you so much, Brent!

Viking Air's plans for the Trigull are not known...  If you have any Trigull news or know anything about Viking Air's plans, please e-mail me!

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