Republic Seabee News 2004

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ZS-ORX (Photo: John Miller/SA Flyer 2004)

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2004 Dec 03

December News...


N65NE on eBay!Twin Bee #23 For Sale on eBay -  STOL UC-1 Twin Bee N65NE (s/n 23) is currently listed for sale at eBay auctions!

Go to eBay!

Built in 1986, N65NE was the second to last Twin Bee made.  According to the eBay Auction description, she is in perfect condition with a fresh annual of April 2004.  TT 940 hours. The eBay auction ends on 5 December.  The Twin Bee auction has a "Buy it Now" price of $ 175,000.

N65NE was previously owned by Mr. Hardy F. LeBel who sadly was killed in an airplane midair collision on 16 November 2003.

ZS-ORX flight test report!Seabee Article on Web - October 2004 issue of the South African aviation magazine "SA Flyer" had a flight test article on Seabee ZS-ORX (s/n 261).  The article was written by Editor John Miller, and visitors to this website will already know John's fantastic photos from this flight test...

You can now read Mr. Miller's excellent Seabee flight test report on the SA Flyer website.  You can also buy prints of his incredible aviation photos - including a photo of Seabee ZS-ORX.

2004 Oct 11

October News...


Simuflight Website!Simuflight On Web -  Since the death of Seabee modifications guru Joe McHugh ("Simuflight") last year, Seabee owners have been without a primary source of modification kits, engine conversions and parts.

Earlier this year his son, Scott A. Henderson announced that the company McHugh Aviation Inc. had been formed by the family in honor of their father.  The company run by Scott A. Henderson (son), Penny Larson (daughter) and Kris Goldman (daughter) will continue to do business under the wellknown name Simuflight.

Now Simuflight is on the Web with a new web site. Simuflight is also sponsoring interactive forums on the Internet where Seabee users can exchange ideas and knowledge. Please visit:

Simuflight will be moving to Fallon NV. where they are building a new facility for manufacturing the popular Seabee conversions, warehousing their enormous parts inventory, restoring Seabees, maintaining Seabees and developing new Seabee kits and STCs.

Blue Horizons Movie!Hankwitz On Web - In 1949 the Hankwitz' Seabee NC6256K (s/n 463) was featured in the 23 minute movie titled "Blue Horizons", shot by then amateur movie maker Walter F. Chappelle Jr.  The fabulous movie was filmed in color and showed the Seabee in aerial flying shots over Milwaukee landmarks and in numerous water landing shots on Lake Okauchee.

Now you can see the "Blue Horizons" movie on the web site of Carl and Elise "Liz" Hankwitz!  Please visit:

The film also features a breathtaking Seabee water take off scene where the Seabee takes off just behind one of the speed shown in the still above...

2004 Sep 27

September News...


N335G (s/n 808)N335G -  Last August Mr. Doug Little came across this lonely 'Bee sitting out in the woods near Fox River, South Elgin, Illinois.  It seems that N335G (s/n 808) has been sitting there for some time...  On US Register N335G is still owned by Capt. Richard E. Kane Jr; Wayne, Illinois.  However, according to locals, Capt. Kane died some years ago.  Information is that the new owner does not intend to sell, and it is unknown what his plans are for N335G.  Let's hope that she will be restored soon...

Sweden - An 'Experimental' Building Permit has been issued to Mr. Sten Karlsson by EAA Chapter 222 for the restoration and rebuild of Seabee s/n 592 in Sweden.  S/n 592 was stored at the Fiskflyg AB base, Porjus, for several years, after being purchased from Germany for spares in the 1970s.  The Seabee was operated as D-ELPO in Germany from 1961 to 1971, when she was damaged in a water landing accident.  When the restoration is finished, s/n 592 will be registered SE-AXF.  Mr. Sten Karlsson is also the owner of beautiful SE-AXY.

N6256KN6256K - Sadly, on 04 June 2004 Seabee N6256K (s/n 463) was landed gear down on water, when the pilot inadvertently lowered the landing gear instead of the flaps for a landing on Newman Lake, WA.  The aircraft settled into the water with the gear extended and flipped over upside down.  Fortunately the pilot escaped with minor injuries. The Seabee was very quickly salvaged  and had the engine running again the next day.

In September 2004 (Bill of Sale 10 September 2004), s/n 463 was sold to a new owner;  Mr. Byron Miller of Silverton, Oregon. The damage on the aircraft after the accident seemed moderate and it was planned to fly the Seabee from Washington to her new base in Oregon for restoration.  A ferry permit was secured, but the FAA would not let her fly without a functioning airspeed indicator.

During an engine run made by the mechanics before the planned ferry flight, the engine mounts collapsed and the engine tipped down and cut a hole in the fuselage.  Fortunately this happened before any ferry flight was attempted... The Seabee was later dismantled and transported by road to Oregon, where she arrived on Saturday 11 September.   Byron hopes to have her put back together by spring next year.  N6256K was featured in the unique amateur movie 'Blue Horizons' of 1949, when owned by the Hankwitz Family in Milwaukee.

Commodore SPB -  One of the most famous seaplane bases in California is the 'Commodore' SPB on Stinson Beach, Mills Valley, Sausalito on Richardson Bay.  It seems that seaplanes have been operated from this base since 1945.  The base has its unofficial name from when company 'Commodore Air Service' operated from there.  Commodore operated several seaplane types, including Republic Seabees, Luscombes, Grumman Widgeons, a Piaggio P.136L-1 Royal Gull, a Grumman Duck, Cessnas and many more.  Commodore Air Service was owned by Mr. Robert Law.  Later operation 'Commodore Helicopter' operated helicopters from this base in the early 1970s.  Today 'San Francisco Seaplane Tours Inc.' continues the tradition by operating a DHC-2 Beaver and a Cessna 180 seaplane from this historic seaplane base.

Aviation historian, author and photographer William T. Larkins has now started a Yahoo! Group for the research of the Commodore SPB history.  If you have an interest in the history of this unique seaplane base, please join the Commodore SPB Yahoo! Group!

2004 Aug 24

Odds and Ends...


Shaya Manzi - South Africa!South Africa -  Mr. Mark Becker sent this fantastic Seabee air-to-air shot, taken by Mr. John Miller, editor of SA Flyer Magazine.  This proves that the South African Seabee ZS-ORX (s/n 261), "Shaya Manzi", now is flying after an engine change earlier this year!  The photo was taken on 19 August just outside beautiful Cape Town where she is based.  They also made some water landings near Pearly Beach.  Visit Downloads for more of Mr. John Miller's fantastic Seabee photos!

Seabee in museum!In Museum - Last May Mr. Derek Linder visited The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, and spotted Seabee N6705K (s/n 988) which is displayed there.  The Seabee was donated to the museum in 1989 by the widow of Mr. Romeo A. Lalli.  The museum also has a collection of models of designer Percival H. Spencer's amphibian aircraft, including S-12 Air Car, S-13 and S-14 Air Car Jr.  The Spencer S-13 twin engined amphibian designed in 1957 was never built.

V8 Seabee!V8 Seabee - The Robinson's sent this photo CF-ILM (s/n 881) taken on 8th August to show the impressive performance of the Robinson V8 Seabee engine conversion.  With four people aboard the V8 Seabee climbs off the glassy water like a homesick angel!  Four V8 Seabee conversions are now flying, while three more V8 Seabees are under work in USA, and another three in Canada.  The Robinson's are currently also developing V8 conversions for conventional aircraft like the Murphy Super Rebel, expected to be flying soon.

G-SEAB (s/n 413)England -  Mr. Roger Syratt visited a hangar at Nottingham Tollerton Airfield on 18 July and spotted the sole UK Seabee G-SEAB (s/n 413).  The Seabee is under wrapping and seems to have been stored there for a long time.  A note on the Seabee, however, suggests that she is under restoration.  G-SEAB was cancelled from UK register on 24 January 2002 and is currently registered on US Register as N6210K.  Owner listed is Southern Aircraft Consultancy Inc., Cornwall, UK.

2004 Aug 03

SE-IIO (s/n 120) is Flying!


SE-IIO (s/n 120)SE-IIO (s/n 120)


Mr. Björn Ek, co-owner of Seabee SE-IIO in Sweden, has sent a few more photos of the beautiful and freshly restored Seabee, proving that she has been flying since July.

2004 Jul 20

Another Swedish Seabee...!


Seabee s/n 270 is under restoration and repainting in Sweden.

Owner of Seabee s/n 270, Mr. David Pajus, reports from Sweden that the restoration and repainting of his Seabee should be finished by August!  The Seabee is currently being repainted at the Aircraft Mechanics School's hangar at Malmslätt AFB [ESCF], just west of Linköping.  Wings and empennage are painted silver, while bottom fuselage will be white.  The rest of the fuselage will be polished aluminum.  She already looks great!

Officially s/n 270 is still registered LN-IKK (Norway), but will be registered SE-AXR in Sweden very soon.  The Seabee was originally imported to Sweden as SE-AXR in 1947.  SE-AXR was operated by a number of  bushplane operators in Sweden, including well-known Eskiltunaflyg and Lapplandsflyg, until 1966. Then she was sold to Norway as LN-IKK and was operated by private owners until July 2003, when sold to Mr. David Pajus, Linköping, Sweden.  At that time LN-IKK was the last Seabee in Norway.

It seems that aviation enthusiasts in Sweden genuinely appreciate the unique Seabees, because now Sweden really is 'Seabee-heaven' in Europe!  Currently there are 12 Seabees on Swedish CAR, of which at least five are believed to be flying: SE-AXB, SE-AXX, SE-AXY, SE-BXB and SE-ERT.  SE-AXR and SE-IIO are very close to being finished from restoration, as the news reports here show.  And finally three more are reported to be at some stage of  restoration or rebuild; SE-AXG, SE-AXM and SE-KRR.  It is also possible that N6055K is still based in Sweden!? Two Seabees are believed to be destroyed but still on register; SE-BXC and SE-CHF.  Any corrections will be highly appreciated...

2004 Jun 04

 Swedish Seabee Restoration


The restoration of Swedish Seabee SE-IIO (s/n 120) is almost finished.

Mr. Björn Ek has sent a few photos from the restoration of the Swedish Seabee SE-IIO (s/n 120).  Björn is a co-owner of SE-IIO together with Mr. Åke Jansson, both from Vallentuna just north of Stockholm.

SE-IIO has been under restoration for several years.  Since Björn took over a share in the Seabee from previous co-owner Mr. Bo Larsson, he has been doing the majority of the restoration at his private airfield in Vallentuna.  Björn is now putting the final touches on SE-IIO and he hopes that SE-IIO will be flying again very soon!  For more photos, please go to Swedish Seabees web page.

S/n 120 (ex N87558, N14R) was imported to Sweden in 1981. C of A expired in 1993, and it is now more than ten years since SE-IIO last made a flight.

Co-owner Åke Jansson is famous in Sweden for owning one of the very few privately owned DC-3 aircraft in the World.  Björn and Åke are both members of a group of aviation enthusiasts operating several historic aircraft out of Vallentuna, including the DC-3, the Seabee and a Piper Cub. Please visit the Vallentuna Aviatörförening web site for more information!

2004 May 26

New Engine on ZS-ORX


ZS-ORX in South Africa has a new GO-480 engine installed and running.

Since the engine crank case cracked on her Lycoming GO-480 last December, the South African Seabee ZS-ORX (s/n 261) has been grounded, awaiting a replacement engine.  Our mad mate Mark Becker is happy to report that the new zero timed replacement Lycoming GSO-480 engine (340 hp) now has been installed.

The first engine run was made on 21 May, and here are Mark's own words:

"After the oil pressure was tested turning the engine without plugs and bleeding the air out of the line to the gauge, Koos gave the OK.  At first the engine would not start.  I felt as if we were going down the same old road again...  It was soon realised that the prop was 'kicking back' on itself and something was really wrong with the timing.

On checking the magnetos, it was found that they were wired back to front...  Once corrected, the engine consistently sprang to life within half a turn of the prop.  On the whole it runs much smoother, appears to be quieter, start easier and there are no oil leaks.  As always I really have to thank Koos for his sterling efforts in rebuilding a super engine..."

Mark also sent a short video of the engine run!  Mark will get back with more news when the first ground runs have been made.

2004 Apr 26

 Twin Bees s/n 016 and s/n 020


Command Aircraft Inc. of Bunnell, Florida, has acquired two UC-1 Twin Bee amphibians; N950CB (s/n 016) and C-FLCL (s/n 020).

N950CB was acquired from an estate sale in New Hampshire and was this April disassembled and moved to Florida.  N950CB is currently for sale!  Please go to Classified section for more details!  N950CB will need assembly, a new annual and replacement of fuel bladder, tires, brakes etc. as it has not flown since 1991.

Last listed owner of N950CB was Mr. Thomas F. Twomey; Chocorva, New Hampshire.  Last listed owner of C-FLCL was Mr. Johann Olaf Baumgartner; Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, Canada.

2004 Mar 21

 Robinson News


Robinson V8 SeabeeMr. Brian Robinson, of Robinson V8 Seabee Conversions, recently posted this news report on the Seabee Yahoo! Group:

"Our Seabee is still going strong . We currently have 892 hours on the original conversion. There are three Seabees flying with converted engines, and another five under construction as we speak.  I have not done any more work on our project airplane.  My current focus is on developing a retractable wing float system for the Seabee.  The design is complete , and we are currently sourcing someone to manufacture them.  I will be updating web site over the next several weeks and hope to keep people more up-to-date on our progress.  We also produce a shorter version of the reduction unit for use in conventional aircraft.  The first unit is installed in the Murphy Super Rebel and the owner is working on finishing off the aircraft."

More details on Republic Seabee engine conversion can be found here.

2004 Mar 14

 Seabee N6488K on eBay


N6488K for sale!Republic Seabee N6488K (s/n 750) is currently on auction at eBay!

According to information on the auction, N6488K is in immaculate condition after a recent complete restoration.  The airframe has a total of 300 hours, while the Franklin engine has 111 hours SMOH.  Modifications include wing extensions, extended spray rails and Whelen wing tip strobes. N6488K was owned by Mr. George S. Coy a few years ago, before acquired by Mr. Tom Cuni and Mr. John O'Conner of Vintage Air Service, Portland, Maine, for possible commercial use.

The "Buy It Now" price is $ 70,000.  The auction ends on 21 March 2004, at 17:25 PST.  Please visit the Seabee auction for photos and more details.  You might even consider bidding...  N6488K is also offered for sale at the Plane Exchange web-site. This perfect looking Seabee deserves better than standing out in the cold snow!

2004 Feb 06

 Twin Bee RP-C2743 Flying!


Click here for more photos!It is with great joy Mr. Elpie Paras reports that his beautiful STOL UC-1 Twin Bee, RP-C2743 (s/n 015), successfully made her first test flight in The Philippines on 03 February 2004!

The test pilot was Capt. Leo D. Yosalina, who is one of very few amphibian rated CAA test pilots in The Philippines.  Thanks to the excellent workd done on rigging by the local aircraft mechanics Terry Aliwanag and Nerio Giangan, Capt. Yosalina reported no problems.  Congratulations Elpie!

The test flight was made from Cagayan de Oro Airport - Lumbia, CDO. Cagayan de Oro City has a population of more than 430 K, and is located along the central coast of Northern Mindanao.

The city serves as the center of the Philippines' administrative Region X, which includes the provinces of Camiguin, Bukidnon, Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental.

RP-C2730 is ex N9506U, and was purchased by Elpie on a government auction in 2000.  More photos.  For more information on the Twin Bee amphibians, please visit the Twin Bee web-site.

2004 Jan 30

Visiting South Africa...


Steinar Saevdal and Mark BeckerEarly December 2003 the webmaster of this web-site, Steinar Saevdal, had the opportunity to travel to beautiful Cape Town, South Africa.  During the stay in Cape Town he had the great pleasure of meeting Mr. Mark Becker and see the only Republic Seabee amphibian in Africa, ZS-ORX!

ZS-ORX (s/n 261 ex N6081K) was imported to South Africa from USA in 2000. After a two year restoration, which included the installation of a Simuflight GO-480 engine conversion, ZS-ORX was flying late 2002.  Just before the restoration was finished she appeared in a TV commercial film made for TESA film in Germany.  The commercial was filmed in Cape Town area with ZS-ORX playing an important part.  Not ready to fly, ZS-ORX was brought to the filming location by truck.

By December 2003 ZS-ORX had just over 20 hours of flight time in Africa.  This December the Seabee has also been used as background fo a commercial fashion shoot.  Unfortunately, the Seabee suffered engine problems on 7 December 2003, and had to be taken back to hangar by trailer.  Engine is currently under repair and ZS-ORX is expected to be back in the air soon.

For more details and photos on Steinar Saevdal's visit to South Africa, please visit Seabee Stories pages.

2004 Jan 29

 Seabee N6488K on eBay


N6488K for sale!Republic Seabee N6488K (s/n 750) is currently on auction at eBay!

According to information on the auction, N6488K is in immaculate condition after a recent complete restoration.  The airframe has a total of 300 hours, while the Franklin engine has 111 hours SMOH.  Modifications include wing extensions, extended spray rails and Whelen wing tip strobes. N6488K was owned by Mr. George S. Coy a few years ago, before acquired by Mr. Tom Cuni and Mr. John O'Conner of Vintage Air Service, Portland, Maine, for possible commercial use.

The "Buy It Now" price is $ 96,000.  The auction ends on 31 January 2004, at 18:32 PST.  Please visit the Seabee auction for photos and more details.  You might even consider bidding...  N6488K is also offered for sale at the Plane Exchange web-site. This perfect looking Seabee deserves better than standing out in the cold snow!

2004 Jan 07

 New Book


A wonderful new aviation history book has been published in Sweden.  The book titled "Porjus - den flygande byn" tells the story of the bushpilots and bushplanes flying around the Porjus-area in Northern Sweden since the 1920ies.  The book has many fantastic Seabee photos!

Already in 1920, the company Vattenfallet started 'the World's first scheduled air service' between the small towns Porjus and Suorva in Northern Sweden, for the freight of people, post, medicine and for ambulances.

With the end of WWII, a large number of surplus military airplanes became available, and a new generation of eager pilots emerged to start their commercial careers.   Some of them aimed their attention at the remote areas of Sweden, and found hard but rewarding challenges starting bushflying operations for serving the transportation needs of the people north of the Arctic Circle.  One of the most popular aiplanes of those days was the Republic Seabee amphibian!

The book tells the story of the everyday bushplane and helicopter heroes, from from the boosting 1940ies until today.  The book has more than 100 fantastic photos of bushplanes and bushplane heros, including several fantastic Seabee photos!  The book [ISBN 91-631-4694-0] can be ordered from; Porjus Arkivkommitté; Industrivägen 12, SE-982 60 Porjus, Sweden. Telephone: 0973-776 00 / 777 13

The book costs SEK 260,- plus postage.  Please contact Porjus Arkivkommité for more details on shipping costs and payment.

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