Anniversary Celebration at EAA Airventure Oshkosh 2015
July 1, 2015 - Seventy
years ago this year the prototype Republic RC-3 Seabee seaplane made
its first flight in Farmingdale, New York, and seaplane enthusiasts
will recognize that milestone at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2015. A dozen
or more examples of the four-seat, all-metal amphibian are expected to
attend and participate in special activities both on convention
grounds and at the Vette Seaplane Base.
Land-based Seabees will be parked in
rows south of the ultralight landing strip for most of the week, while
at the Vette Seaplane Base a number of activities are planned for the
latter part of the week and weekend. They include a presentation under
the big tent on Seabee history at 9 a.m. on Friday, July 24.
Later Friday there will be flybys at
both the seaplane base as well as at Wittman, with special parking of
all the attending Seabees in the lagoon to try and set a world record
of Bees all in one spot. According to the seaplane chairman, they
already have 12 airplanes confirmed to attend.
“If we were to get a dozen, we’d
be really happy,” said Paul Seehafer, chairman of the EAA Seaplane
Base. “The Seabee community is very close-knit, and they’re real
excited about us honoring them this year, so we’re hoping to get
more examples in one place than anywhere in the last four or five
On Saturday, July 25, tune into EAA
Radio at 10 a.m. for live interviews of Seabee pilots and “other
interesting characters” at the Seaplane Base.
In a related story, Canadian company Robinson
V-8 Power, which is designing a modern all-composite seaplane based on
the Seabee, will participate at the Friday morning presentation.
The Seabee was one of the aircraft
type that saw large numbers of airplanes built after World War II as
aircraft manufacturers hoped that military pilots returning from the
war would continue flying civilian aircraft as private pilots. While
that did not occur to the extent companies predicted, Republic
Aviation Corp. built a total of 1,060 Seabees, falling shy of the
company’s predicted production rate of 5,000 per year. Still, only
Piper’s Cub and Super Cub, Beechcraft’s Bonanza, and Cessna’s
140s and 150s surpassed the Bee in numbers produced.
Republic sold its last new Seabee in
1948 and refocused on military contracts. I developed the F-84
Thunderjet, which was built on the same assembly lines used to build
over 1,000 Seabees.