Seabee Hull Boat and Newspaper article...Re: Current Operating Plan (East Coast to West Coast in a Seabee)
(Ed note: I received this e-mail from member Jim Poel. He got it from Mr. Cris George and it is very interesting. A boat and a Seabee article from an Australian newspaper. References to the "Wooden Chair" listed below were not included with this e-mail. I have no idea what that's all about.)
Sent: 10/22/2008 2:45:29 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: FW: Local Maritime Artifact- For the Attention of The Curator, Cc The Director.
This follows up delivery of the boat and chair to the Lady Denman museum on Monday 20 Oct 08.
The subject boat was built from the hull of a small amphibian aeroplane called the Republic Seabee built in 1947. You can obtain an overview of the aircraft here: http://republicseabee.com/About.html It is from one of 5 Seabees imported into Australia in the late 1950’s. The aircraft was imported from India where it was registered as VT CST. Its Republic serial number is 973 (a number stamped on the stem, partially obliterated by the installation of an eyebolt, but still recognisable). Mr Jim Poel of the International Republic Seabee Owners’ Club helped us immensely with establishing the identity of this Seabee. I will let Jim know of the new location of this member of his flock. If you visit the Seabee site you will see how active and vibrant the club is. The video clip I have linked below is of Jim’s aircraft I think.
The attached article provides a history of the aircraft in Australia. The second attachment is a photograph of the boat. There are several clips of Seabee on You tube. Here is one of them http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fniKLhJ7Kmc&feature=related I also have a DVD of the WIN4 TV story of the Seabee boat at home if that is of any use to the museum.
(Click on images for larger view)
I am a member of one of the work groups attached to the Naval Aviation Museum at HMAS Albatross (Mr Don Parkinson and Mr Ray Larder are the other two members of our group). We took the boat “under our wing” after Don collected it from the residence of the widow or friend of the original builder in 2000. Don recalls this lady, who donated the boat to the Naval Aviation museum, lived at Callala Bay. But unfortunately the details of her name and address are not known by us or the Naval Aviation Museum. A local media campaign has not turned up any useful and conclusive leads. But a gentleman who did not wish to be identified, told me that a Mr Les Hodge used to live at Callala Bay during the late 50’s and early 60’s. Les and his family apparently moved to Darwin before Cyclone Tracy destroyed their home when they moved back to Callala for a period while it was being repaired. Les was ex RAAF. And he apparently operated a panel-beating business just down the road from Bankstown airport in Sydney in the late 50’s and possibly early 60’s when the Seabee which provided the hull for this boat, was located there. Les Hodge also built boats as a hobby. So we think that the builder may have been Les. This seems worth following up through Lady Denman’s extended maritime network.
Although this is guesswork, either Mrs Hodge may have eventually moved back to Callala from NT. Or more likely, the boat may have been gifted by the Hodge family to another resident of Callala who was the person-knowing a little of its history, on-presented it to the Naval Aviation Museum. There is no person of the name Hodge known to be residing at Callala. Nor do persons with the name Hodge in Darwin (in the phone book) know about the boat (I phoned them).
But the significance of the boat is that it is an outstanding example of maritime improvisation undertaken by a local. It also must be one of the first “Tinnies”. As we think it was several years after 1960 or so that aluminium sheet was widespread in its private use as a boat building material. Students of metal-craft will perhaps be interested in the techniques and skill-of-hand evident in the hull’s construction. This possibly speaks a little of the parent company Republic’s capacity and contribution during WW2. Certainly the Seabee itself is a noteworthy aircraft in its own right. In summary, the boat is significant from a number of perspectives. And our group is happy to help Lady Denman with an appropriate “display story” should you wish.
Unfortunately we started to strip some of the paint off before we understood what the word “provenance” meant in its museum context. But not too much damage has been done to the original condition. And we have not touched the hardware or fittings. We have always wondered if the registered fishing boat number on the side of the boat might be an actual official mark from an Australian Federal or State Govt authority. We have not done any useful homework on that possibility.
The boat was rescued by our group as it had been marked for disposal because it had no known connection to Australian Naval Aviation. As I mentioned to you, should Lady Denman Museum be ever short of inside space to stow the boat please give me a call. I am willing to offer secure stowage again at my place where the atmosphere is perhaps a little kinder to aluminium.
The wooden chair was salvaged by a Currarong fisherman well out to sea, two days after the collision between HMA Ships Voyager and Melbourne which occurred at 2056 on 10FEB64. The chair is identifiable as originating from the Aircraft Maintenance Control Office (AMCO) onboard Melbourne. The AMCO on Melbourne, as is the case on other British aircraft carriers of that era, was situated adjacent to and on the same level as the ship’s flight-deck. It was the main control point for aircraft maintenance and deck movement. Representatives from all embarked squadrons worked in AMCO-often “around the clock” while the ship was at sea. Aircrew signed for their aircraft before flying operations and then after returning from flying signed them back in again, in the AMCO. All of our group has spent many hours in Melboune’s AMCO. This chair is marked as belonging to 816 Squadron. 816 operated Fairey Gannet aircraft at that time (The unit now operates Sikorsky Seahawk helicopters) and the squadron was routinely embarked in Melbourne. We guess that in the events following the catastrophic collision perhaps the chair was cast over the side to make room for more pressing needs. We expect that a Navy veteran who was there on the night will eventually shed some light on this. Unfortunately we do not have the name of the local fisherman who retrieved the chair and who presented it to the Naval Aviation museum in 1999. To most RAN Fleet Air Arm people of Melbourne’s and Voyager’s era, the chair is likely to evoke strong memories.
I will print this record and attach it to the donation records which I will complete and mail over the next couple of days. But I would be grateful if you would please acknowledge receipt of this note.
Start Date:Tue, 28 Mar 2006 21:17:42 EST
(Ed note: This e-mail was eventually turned into a full-blown article above (East to West in a Seabee) due to its length. You will see that Galen was quite a character!
He died a few years back and even though I didn't know him personally, I felt that I did. He truly had "Seabee" in his blood.
(Ed Note: The following e-mails were (and are being) received by New Member Galen Tustison who is ferrying his newly acquired Seabee from New York to California. He bought it from Bob Stein and is working to get it flying. Good luck G, let us know how it goes and if you need any help...except being a co-pilot!)
5 March 2006
I have weighed the SeaBee to determine the empty A/C weight and CG. After crunching the numbers, I find C/G WAY out of allowed window.
UNFORTUNATELY, I didn’t know how much fuel the plane had in it at the time of weighing. I therefore wrote a spreadsheet program where the empty weight and CG are calculated based on the amount of fuel specified as a variable parameter.
Thus when on my next visit to the dugly uckling and I fill it with fuel, I can determine the amount of fuel when I weighed it previously based on the tank capacity and the amount of fuel I will add to fill the tank.
I will have my notebook computer with me so that I can plug in the exact fuel quantity and determine the empty weight and CG.
Meanwhile, I have written a family of spread sheet programs for the assumed fuel conditions (at the time of weighing) of zero (an unlikely event because the engine ran), half full (most realistic scenario), and full (highly unlikely 'cuz the seller is cheap).
For each of these scenarios, I then calculated CG for minimum passengers and load (probably the way I will fly it back to Cal) with zero fuel, half fuel, and full fuel (to make sure that during the entire flight the CG stays in the required range) and maximum passengers and load, again for zero, half, and full fuel.
Interestingly, the worst case CG
situation is with min pax
and min fuel, exactly MY configuration with no passengers allowed by
the ferry permit and a bad fuel leak..
"Oh," he said, "I'm going to be busy that day." Any day, every day.
So what do I do for ballast? The easiest answer is water ... in 1 gallon antifreeze plastic containers, strategically placed under the forward floorboards all the way up in the nose. There is an access hole in the copilot’s floor which provides easy access. There is a lot of room. Water is cheap and easy to get (especially for a seaplane) and easy to dispose of, and the plastic containers will tolerate frozen water (I hope).
(Turns out I bought 18 gallons of auto anti-freeze. It doesn't freeze and I can always use it later.)
The thought of flying back to NY commercially with 135 lbs of lead or trying to procure it there turns me off.
Ultimately, I can see a permanent tank located in the forward compartment and a transfer pump allowing easy loading or unloading of water ballast. But that is in the future. (Has anyone in the SeaBee world done that???)
Come crunch time, I shall load the plane per my calculations, make several high speed taxi runs down the runway testing elevator control effectiveness, and then attempt a takeoff if all has gone well. Then climb like a home-sick angel to at least 1000 ft AGL, just once around the pattern, land and check everything for leaks, etc. I will probably try an hour or so of touch and goes before leaving the pattern and heading for CA.
I’m not real eager to be a test pilot but I’m not sure I have a choice. That first take-off has to be made eventually. Lou has suggested that I take the plane apart and trailer it to CA. (Where is his sense of adventure?) And if my calculations are correct, I’d rather make that first take-off from a 6,000 ft paved runway in very cold air than from the 2200 foot dirt strip here at the ranch in warm weather.
I will review my calculations with my IA friend here in CA (that’s an A&P mechanic with an inspection authorization) who is familiar with SeaBees. When I told him earlier that I calculated that the plane needed about 135 lbs of ballast, he commented “That’s about right.” So I think I’m in the ballpark.
Anyhow, should be an adventure. The Franklin engine has a bit of a reputation for unreliability and ... especially ... for throwing oil. In fact one magazine reviewer suggested that “While it may be more efficient simply to pour oil on the vertical fin and elevator, it should pass through the engine once.”
weight and balance calculations ad nauseu
March 30, 2006:
Frank was very helpful. Good 20 minute conversation. I will continue to pursue the cable problem with him. I was back in NY Sullivan county airport for two weeks working on plane (it hasn't flown in 6 years following an accident). Fixed a lot of stuff. Made several adjustments, obtained ferry permit from FISDO. will forward trip report. No one on air port has SeaBee experience. So must teach myself to fly it. Question about C/G and ballast. I will fwd trip report.
March 31, 2006:
To: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rodger, dodger. N60CB, a 1947 SeaBee, is mine. I spent 2 weeks back there freezing to death fixing things. The final day ... crunch day ..., with me all suited up ... long johns, xtra wool sweater, thermal gloves, no heater in a/c, lots of air leaks, doors bungee-corded closed 'cuz latches don't work too well, 18 gallons of auto antifreeze installed as ballast to get C/G into "window", I taxi over to gas pit for fuel. Put in 50 gal (at $4.25 per) and notice my feet are wet. Leak rate 1 gal per hour. Back to heated hangar, de-fuel plane, pull "rubber" bladder (a/c, not mine) and return to CA for repair.
Local mechanic on field who knew previous owner and condition of airplane won't sign off an annual inspection. "There's not enough money", he said. So the flight will be conducted under a special FAA ferry permit.
The NEW Current Operating Plan (About April 2, 2006)
Bladder now repaired (two holes, no gaskets where there should have been... no wonder it leaked), return to NY 5 Apr, install bladder, put fuel back into a/c, teach myself how to fly the mutha (no one at field has SeaBee experience, a/c has not flown since accident 6 years ago). But then I won't be the first self-taught pilot. After all, who taught Orville how to fly??? He learned by careful experimentation. Me and Orville. What a thought!!!
So plan is more high speed taxi runs down runway ( 6000 feet l x 200 feet w ) to get feel of a/c and see if C/G is truly in the window. I've already done this several times but with each attempt resulting in brake failure, severe steering problems, inadequate takeoff power, or some other calamity. The last attempt I glanced over to the left and saw the crash truck standing by.
(I was later told not to have a second thought about the crash truck. "Charlie doesn't have a lot to do anyway." So I'm the local excitement.)
All this in +10 to +20 deg. F wx. Uck!!!
Route of flight is going to be straight south to warmer wx, missing P-40 (a.k.a. Camp David) and the Washington ADIZ ( that's Air Defense Indentification Zone, wherein if you stray, you are intercepted by F-16's and become famous immediately.) A bit of a navigational challenge 'cuz no radios in plane. If I fly low enough I can follow an interstate and read the road signs.
Straight down toward Atlanta, then turn right missing the mountains, thence to KADS (Dallas TX) and on to CA76. Co-pilot seat is empty. Interested?
Apil 12, 2006
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2006 21:01:03 -0400
Still alive after two SeaBee takeoffs and landings. Departure out of Sullivan County AP, NY memorable for incrediby poor crosswind technique. Successfully missed all runway lights and windsock, but close call with hangar roof. (Turns out backward facing engine needs LEFT rudder on takeoff, not right.)
Crash trucks at TTN (Trenton Mercer County AP, New Jersey) unnecessary. Wheels were down, but no green light. Since fuel leak/bladder problem solved earlier, minimal risk of fire. A/C following on approach to 24 did complain about oil mist clouding windshields due to leaking SeaBee ahead,
Tomorrow, Thur 13th (if Fri 13th probably would stay on ground), depart for Frederick MD 120 miles to check for fuel/oil leaks and have lunch with friend.
Thence further southward, turn right just N of ATL toward big D.
God willing (and enough AeroShell 100) ...
April 16, 2006:
Subject: SeaBee Trascontinnental Flight, Leg 14, phase 1
Easter Sun (2006) , Easley South Carolina ... still alive ... but airplane (at Statesvill NC ) is not well ... severe excessive oil consumption, now throwing 3-4 qts per hour. Virtually zero rate of climb out of Burlington NC (BUY). WOW!!!
Highly unlikely able to achieve min 5000 ft altitude necessary to cross continential divide near Benson AZ. If just taxi on I-10 westbound, will need clearance from AZ Highway Patrol.
Conference w/ mechanic at SVH Mon. Possible application to AZ Highway Dept to follow. Possible top O/H for plane (and pilot) to follow.
I'm back at the ranch (CA76) after massive oil leak (5 qts in 1 flight hour) caught my attention in NC. A/C on final approach behind me reported IFR condx due to oil mist.
Prop went to shop for O/H today in NC. Mech / IA at SVH ( Statesville, NC) delightful guy. I told him I wouldn't charge him anything extra for him being allowed to work on my SeaBee. And this guy has been around. He actually has an O/H manual for Eiseman magnetos. But I question his experience with them ... no dirty thumb prints on the manual pages. But I can fix that. ( I will secretly make a copy when I have a chance.)
SeaBee generates a lot of interest wherever I land. Secret Service, county Sheriff, FAA, plus a few others. At FDK ( AOPA HDQ but Phil wasn't there ), a guy walks up and tells me he worked on that airplane. Oh, I sez, u have CB experience??? No, I worked on THAT airplane in 1988 at a seaplane base in NY. Next thing I know, he gives me names of 4 or 5 CB pilots / mechs with knowledge / parts / etc. Perhaps there is hope.
Prop O/H nominal one week, if you believe prop shop. I have planned for 2 weeks 'cuz I'm a non-believer. Best laid plans of mice and men, etc.
I will contact friend at Hartzell Prop, Kevin Ryan, yes that's right, Kevin, you !!! ... and I still don't have FISDO approval for the Swift prop change after just 6 months ) for O/H manual for HC-D2-V20-3 with AV129 hub and blade model L8433H S/N B68206 and 99554, clamp S/N E2079 and G(?)2212 so I can provide extra quality control / quality assurance for prop shop. I was VERY concerned that all 10-32 fillister head screws around prop shaft packing gland were just too damned short and, although safety-wired, not tight with mucho oil leaking.
Gunna dig in my heels on this one, even if it means my changing out hardware after prop shop is done. (Damn it all, why isn't Bernie here to help? What is the area code for heaven???????????)
I will try to find Franklin engine rocker box cover gaskets / push rod tube seals in meantime. I will change out ALL upon return to NC. I have made outline of one good rocker box gasket and will cut out new ones out of cork (a good cocktail hour activity ) as necessary. Push rod tube gaskets more problematical, but ACE Hardware has everything, or so I am told. (If anybody has any suggestions here, I would appreciate.).
Now that wx is warming up, engine baffeling is more important. (In 20 deg F NY wx, who cared.) So will take baffle tape and drill / pop rivets / back-up aluminum / sheet metal cutters along for next leg of trans-con flight. Also, outside VHF comm radio antenna works worse than rubber duckie on hand-held transceiver. Perhaps time for new outside antenna??? What is Chief Aircraft phone nbr? Suzanne, I need you.
Garmin GTX320 xpndr and enc altimeter seems to work well. BIG black police helio (see earlier report ) was able to find me easily when I apparently busted Washington ADIZ.
Seriously, though ...
I have now survived 8 (let's say that again, EIGHT ... one more time ... EIGHT ) take-offs and landings. in CB. That first T/O was tuff ... long talk with my omnipotent copilot before that one. Crash trucks appeared on only the first two. T/O and landings get better each time (fewer bounces, less frightened pilot, crash trucks no longer expecting excitement ), probably because now the ASI works and slow learning, semi-retarded ( retired ? ) pilot is beginning to realize where horizon should be on windshield.
Poor guy never got check out in CB, never flown one before, all potential instructors in FL where it was warm. He justified his lack of formal instruction by repeatedly asking himself ... "Why taught Orville how to fly??? (Turns out proper horizon position is just between to bug splashes on windshield. I haven't let anyone wash the windshield since I discovered this important ... essential ? ... fact.)
Upon my forthcoming return to NC and N60CB, I plan is to install prop, solve remaining oil leaks, clean up engine baffeling, attempt to climb to at least 5000 feet (over suitably low terrain and avoid all those damned high towers ) so that AZ highway dept permit for taxiing on I-10 near Benson not necessary. If all that comes together and oil consumption ( leakage ) is within realm that only moderately wealthy Arab oil shiek can afford, then "Off we go, into the wild blue yonder ..."
P.S. To all of you who have taken out term life insurance policies on me, I'd renew them for another month or so. I intend to do same with FAA ferry ( fairy ??? ) permit.But I'll bet you lose !!! I hope.
P.P.S. Darcy, are you ready for your flight test? I was in Detroit yesterday at DTW waiting for you. To all others ... copilot seat still not occupied by mere mortal. Anyone interested?===========================================================================
7 May 2006
Yup, I guess I'm a glutton for punishment for buying the SeaBee. But I've always wanted to land in the water ... in the same aeroplane ... twice.
Prop status: Disassembled by H and H Prop Service, Burlington, NC. Blades OK, clamps WAY under minimum thickness, bearings tired, hub ancient.) Unable to find used airworthy parts. So ... expect an order for new clamps, bearings and hub from them first thing Monday morning. I'd appreciate it if you could beat up Jim Brown and get me a special good-guy price. ( This transcontinental ferry flight is turning into a expensive affair.)
Pilot status: I have reservations on US Air San Diego to Greensboro NC ( via Philly ... that's right Jan, Philly ... but just to change planes) on Wed 10 May. ( US Air was just $500 cheaper than American so no overnight at DFW, even with the voucher ... sorry 'bout that, Fred.)
Arrive prop shop Thur to watch assembly of beloved prop. Renew ferry permit with local FISDO. Transport prop to aeroplane Fri which is still parked at Statesville, NC Regional airport, I hope. Install prop, chase remaining oil leaks, install new VHF comm antenna. Depart Sat or Sun for Easley SC. If successful, proceed cautiously to Athens GA and points westward..
If you need help beating up Big Jim, let me know. I know some folks in the Mexican Mafia.
"Preciate your help."
Galen F. Tustison
P.S. For those of you who have been following the oil leak saga ... It dawned on me that the engine sits at a very different angle to the horizontal whether the plane is sitting on the ground or flying. Prob 'bout a 15 degree angle difference. ( Interesting that the engine oil dipstick is calibrated on one side for "LAND" and on the other side for "WATER" to account for this angular difference.)
May 8, 2006
At the suggestion of one the IRSOC members, I contacted REAL Gaskets in TN who purportedly makes gaskets for Franklins. "Oh, yes we make gaskets ... but not for the 215 HP engine".
In the meantime however, when viewing a page on their web site, I saw a pix of a rocker box gasket with a pressure gauge on the rocker box allegedly showing that their gaskets hold up under pressure.
WOW!!! what an idea! Does that mean that I can pressurize the crankcase of the engine and look (listen) for oil leaks? Sure would make sense if it works. This means I can leak check without running the engine.
So that's my next step. I purchased a natural-gas-pipe-test-pressure-gauge-and-pressurize-the-pipe-and-see-if-the-pressure-gauge-drops-so-there-must-be-a-leak type instrument at Home Depot for the princely sum of $9.67.
I will buy pipe adapters on site in NC when I get there. Perhaps I will take along a bicycle hand pump so I do not OVER pressurize the crankcase and blow any seals.
I'll keep you posted as the leaks are plugged.
And now I must try to renew the special ferry permit.
May 10, 2006
Just got off the phone with a very nice lady in the Portland (ME) FSDO to discuss my busting the Washington ADIZ. Min suspension that FSDO inspectors are allowed to recommend is 30 days, but FAA legal staff can reduce it from there. (I'm not holding my breath.)
Next step: my preparation of a Statement. Then FAA legal staff review, possible informal conference, FAA decision, appeal to administrative law judge, appeal to NTSB, appeal to George, followed by escape to foreign country. (With the Bee, I can hide out on a remote lake in Canada.)
May 10, 2006
Re: Seabee Ballast weights
Great idea! A friend also suggested SCUBA diving weights. Both good permanent solutions.
My temp solutionof auto antifreeze has, so far, worked out well, is reusable, and I got a discount on the quantity buy because as I reminded the store manager, it was at the end of the winter antifreeze season and I was helping him reduce his inventory.
I leave for NC and the BEE in three hours.
Sent: Mon, 29 May 2006 17:43:59 -0400
Where are you????? Where is the Seabee?????
Greetings from Dallas. Spent 6 days in Cylacauga AL chasing oil leaks. (Bet you can't even find it on the map. Hint: 41 miles SE Birmingham on US 280.) Long, but successful chase. Flt from AL to Big D was 8 hours and used less than 1 quart of oil total. Found fundamental design problem in fuel pump, of all things. $100 million class action lawsuit (against GM and AC Fuel Pump) to follow.Plan to leave KADS (Addison TX) crqck of dawn tomorrow Wed. Overnight El Paso or Demming NM, on to so Cal Thur.
Also found partial explanation of mediocre take-off performance. T/O perf now better, but no rocket ship. Still working on that. Perhaps a rocket or two might help.Probably no need to extend term life insurance policies beyond 15 June.
Co-pilot seat still unoccupied.
Chris, please fwd this to Nathan 'cuz, once again, I have lost his address.
20 May 2006
Saturday 20 May
On the ground at Pikens County A/P SC. Minimum oil leak ... will trace tomorrow. Severe TST watch right now. Prop still leaks oil. Kevin, more O-rings??? Another prop shop???
Sorry I didn't make it to AL SeaBee fly-in.
I can not say enough good things about the folks at Statesville airport/ Iredell Air Care / especially and emphatically Jones Barnes. Truly a gentleman, generous and hospitable in the best, finest Southern tradition.
But Jones, I'm gunna get even with Jack.
C B P R O P E L L E R
There once was a Sea Bee propeller,
That leaked out oil all over this feller.A little drip here, another drip there,
There just wasn’t any oil left to spare.
“Whoa”, he said, as he grounded his Bee,
“A nearby prop shop, there must be!”
For a small bag of gold, so I am told,
The new prop is better than the old.
“Nary a drip”, the FSDO man said,
And renewed the ferry permit which then read ...
“Good for flight wherever your destination may be,
Good for flight in your now-drip-free Sea Bee.”
- composed at an airport somewhere in North Carolina
during moments of despondency and despair
while, hopefully, awaiting the parts to rebuild
his notoriously leaky prop.
(actually I’m beginning to worry about this guy ...
mental soundness, and all that)
30 May 2006
Thanks for the info and drawing. After a week on the ground in AL, I am convinced, and my fix seems to bear me out, that while the prop might leak a bit of oil, along with the servo valve, the VAST MAJORITY OF OIL IS COMING FROM THE INCOMPETENTLY DESIGNED AC FUEL PUMPS. There is simply nothing positively compressing the gaskets in the pump housing. Any compression acheived depends on the body casting flange to not bend under stress, a risky, inadequate, uncertain assumption. And guess what ... the flange bends. Everyone in AL thought I was crazy, but I installed my hand-machined spacers (supports) and oil leak has dropped from 5 quarts per flight hour to 1 quatr per eight hours.
Subsequent to installing my spacers I just happened to see a newer AC fuel pump lying on a workbench. Guess what? The more recent body casting incorporated my "spacers" in the body casting. My, my, my!
Of course AC didn't bother to tell anyone about the design change. I'll fix that upon return to CA.
I think Franklin engines and Hartzell propellers have taken a lot of heat and abuse over the years for oil leaks that were not their fault.
Personally ... yes I was on my last legs. Nothing I did seemed to improve the situstion. I cured a lot of little leaks, but the gusher remained. The mental and physical stress ... and add some good old summertime heat ... working outside w/o any shade for 8 hours one day. Yup, the end of the line.
Then the fuel pump spacer solution. People looked at me as though I was crazy when I said ... My fuel pump is leaking oil.
I have been very grateful for my rest stop here in big D. Arrived 7 pm Sun eve, slept fitfully, two naps on Mon, just 12 hours sleep last night, one nap so far today. Finally getting fluid to pass through my body, regained a bit of appetite, rested and ready for bear (no not that Baer in Denver ... need even more energy for that!).
So off I go into the wild blue yonder tomorrow very early AM. Westbound, hopefully over the next big challange ... the continentinal divide. Would like to get to El Paso of Demming NM (good motel w/ excllent Mex restaurant near the a/p) tomorrow, on to so CA Thur, again very early takeoff.
Thanks again for your patience and help, young man. I think I now owe you TWO big steak dinners.
June 4, 2006
The SeaBee Is Home
After 31 flights totaling 41 flying hours, SeaBee N60CB has landed at the Flying T Ranch (CA76) just east of Ramona, CA. The aircraft departed Sullivan County airport NY (KMSV) on 11 April and arrived at its CA destination on 4 June.
The 60 year old Republic SeaBee Model RC-3 consumed just over 600 gallons of aviation fuel and 21 quarts of oil. Major oil leaks were solved in Statesville NC, where the prop was overhauled, and Sylacauga AL. From Sylacauga AL westward to its California destination, the Franklin engine used only three of the 21 quarts.
The aircraft achieved a maximum altitude of 5200 ft AMSL crossing the continental divide in southern New Mexico and a minimum altitude of 54 feet below sea level at Imperial CA where it landed for fuel.
Enroute the air speed indicator, the wet magnetic compass, the oil pressure gauge, the oil temperature gauge, and the hydraulic system for raising and lowering the landing gear and flaps failed.
The pilot would again like to thank all those folks along the route who were so helpful and hospitable. Without your help and support it would not nave happened.
The flight was conducted in memory of Jerome E. "Jerry" Hoke, perhaps the world's best flight instructor.
To honor this old bird and its successful flight, a ceremony will be held at the ranch at 10 AM, July 4th to christen her "Queen of The Oceans". President Bush, Administrator Blakely, and Governor Schwarzenagger have been invited. All recipients of this announcement are also invited.
From: Bob Peterman
Subject: Seabee Restoration Update
Date: October 18, 2005
Hi Steve & Jim:
Thought I would send you a little update on the progress of our retoration project and to let you know I haven't really fell off the planet (yet). We have been very busy here at Evergreen Aviation Museum. New aircraft are always arriving either for immediate display or into our restoration area for what work needs to be done. Serial 736 is now completely stripped down and engine removed. We have a lot of cleaning to do and some minor repairs, but we have a good airframe to work with. Steve Lantz and Paul Shepherd stopped by for a look see and they thought we have an excellent conditioned aircraft. I took that as a great compliment coming from two real pros. I want to thank you and all the Seabee people that jumped in and gave me some very good advise and contact leads. We are well on our way in locating some really hard to find items. Still haven't come up the interior design we would like to install. Taking a lot of before photos so we can put things back together some time in the future ---- sure helped with that complex tail wheel. When I get some good progress photos I'll pass them along. The Seabee is a new world for me and I am really enjoying it. I've been in this business since 1943 (and still kicking ???), but this aircraft has gotten my full attention.
Once again thanks to all you Seabee people, your quite a club.
(Ed note: I want to thank ALL the IRSOC members that helped and are helping Bob with his project. Most of you know how hard it is to find parts and reliable help so, thanks! - Steve, IRSOC)
From: Peter Annis
Subject: Twin Bee test pilot
Date: June 8, 2004
I just happened across your web site with the pictures of the Twin Bee serial #15 having it's first flight after a rebuild in the Philippines. It prompted me to look in my log books for the original first flight. I made that first flight on April 16,1974 when it was registered as N9506U at the Norwood Massachusetts airport. The flight was 35 minutes long. The first water landing was on April 24,1974. I was the test pilot who performed the experimental flights toward the initial FAA type certification and made all of the production first flights and FAA acceptance flights for all 23 Twin Bees that were built. The last serial number was #24. Number 13 was not built.
(Ed. Note: I wonder why they didn't build #13?)
From: Henry Chapeskie
Subject: LS6 Corvette Engine
Date: September 29, 2003
Greetings Steve from Canada,
We now have 180 hours on our bee(#965) with the GM engine. We figured out the programming in the computer module and had to remove the oxygen sensors from the loop. Our fuel burn at 24" and 3300 rpm on the engine is 10.3 US gal per hour! With 80 gallons in the tank we have 7 hours range plus reserve - simply remarkable. We cruise at about 105-110mph. At gross weight and 60 degrees temperature outside it will climb at1400-1500fpm. Throttle can be left wide open as long as you like for climb as it is liquid cooled. We usually throttle back once at 500-1000 feet above ground. I had the upholstry re-done this spring and so it is a bit better dressed up.
We have done about 5 or 6 fishing trips up into Quebec and have had a very good summer eating speckled and lake trout. I'm looking at putting a Century I autopilot into it this spring just to have the wing leveller.
You can change the notation below our photo in the members list to reflect out present stats. Brian Robinson's conversion is simply working beyond our expectations. I have a 350 gal tank at my airstrip for auto fuel as does my dad at his airstrip and so we fly only using
auto gas for the most part. Cost = $20.00/hr for fuel! We get the road tax back as it is not a licenced vehicle for the road.
Hope all is well. Many thanks for keeping the web site up and running.
From: Les Coleman
Subject: Restoration update for S/N 668
Date: June 15, 2003
Just a few lines to let you know how the restoringof 668 is going.
We purchsed an engine advertised in your web site from France. As it had no log book it was a bit of a gamble. We had it shipped to Australia and were surprised to find it was complete with all accessories, engine mounts and everything but the generator. We had it stripped and test run and it is in perfect condition. I won't tell you how we overcame the log book situation !!
At this stage we have installed the engine and now have to connect everything. A few other jobs will have to be done but with a bit of luck we hope to have it flying by the end of the year.
It would be interesting to find out how this engine got to France. I would think that as we got it was exactly as it was removed from the airframe.
Serial of the engine is 23542. It is a 6AB215B9F.
The original Australian Registration VH-KNA has been allocated to another aircraft but we are trying to get VH-CBZ.
Keep up the good work on the web site, it is great.
From: Don Engel
Subject: Seabee Rescue August 1949
Date: January 25, 2003
A pilot with a Seabee from Warroad, Minnesota picked me up off Oak Island on August 23, 1949 and flew me back to the Warroad hospital. The next day three different pilots in relays got me back to Sioux Falls, SD. I had polio & sleeping sickness. The Seabee pilot picked me up at dusk and in rough water, and it was dark when we landed in Warroad. I think of that man often, even this much later.
Don writes more about his adventure...
I was on Oak Island in Lake of the Woods. The mail boat came to the island only once a week so it could not be used to get me off, plus I was too sick for a long boat ride. I was in Canada with four of my high school buddies for some fishing. We'd been there in 1948, also. Anyway, they found somebody on one of the many islands in that area who had a ham radio and he called Warroad, Minn. and got the message to the Seabee pilot. The sleeping sickness caused me to drift in and out but I recall some parts of the rescue and relay back to Sioux Falls. On the take off from Oak Island the pilot had me loosen the seat belt and push my butt off the seat because it was rough due to high waves. I remember the landing at Warroad. There was a light on the railroad tressle and he said that once over that it was open water, and dark as the inside of a shoe. He felt his way down, then, using the house lights on shore as a reference, taxied to what he thought was close to his dock, shut down the engine, jumped out into water chest deep and pulled the plane around until he found the dock. Quite some guy! Not the kind of person one would forget. The Seabee is a big part of my memories, too.
6509 S. Kit Carson St.
Littleton, CO 80121
P.S. I don't use my email address because it can't be relied upon to always work, so I don't check the box for incoming.
(Editor's Note: I knew these Seabees were good for something! Glad to see Mr. Engel made it out okay. Steve for the IRSOC)
From: Robert M. Reckinger Sr.
Date: Sunday, April 12, 1998
HELLO SEABEE LOVERS!
THE FOLLOWING FROM DARRELL DAVEY
I have been a Seabee owner for about 10 years. I initially had a Franklin powered Bee, flew it for a few years and had a Simuflite Lycoming conversion done. Took it to Alaska twice. It burned up when an engine fire developed on final approach. I got it on the field, but it was a total loss. BOUGHT ANOTHER-just restored and overhauled Franklin . Threw a rod. Landed in a mountain meadow. Now have my third Seabee. Ken Thompson at Sonoma CA is just finishing up a ground up restoration Lycoming IGSO-480. Can you tell I like Seabees? How do I join ?
"GREATER LOVE HATH NO BEE OWNER"! John
From: Bolton, John B
Date: Mon, 24 May 1999
Just wanted to let all the Seabee fanatics out there know there's a model kit of the Republic Seabee by Glenco Models. It's a plastic model that does require painting and assembly. It has about a 12" wingspan when assembled. Without painting the model would take about 1/2 hour to build. Problem is the kit is made of clear plastic and must be painted. This could add quite a bit of time to the project. The art work on the box is exceptional. If you can't find one localy, contact me and I'll try to help you out. I can be reached at, E-mail: email@example.com
Editor: I bought a couple off of Ebay.com. They were about $30 (ouch!) a piece. Steve for IRSOC.
From: Barry C. Lawrence
Date: Friday, April 10, 1998 1:28 PM
Subject: Associate member
JUST ONE OF IRSOC's SERVICES: A few days ago we received email from a Mr. Craig Green who stated "I am planning on importing a Super Seabee and need proof of where it was manufactured". I supplied that info and asked what the serial of the planes was and he replied it was # 871. Due to the fine work of Bill Williams on our Seabee database, I was able to send Mr Green the following message:
Date: Wed, 22 Apr 1998 15:45:02 -0500
How's the weather in Big Lake, Alaska? Florida is OK.
I am pleased and proud of the work Bill Williams and Donn Booth are doing. This is a case in point. As you can see below, not only locating your plane but a recap of the condition of the plane itself including price. The seller of this plane must have the papers which enabled him to import the plane in the first place and are the proof you need to re-import the plane to the states. I hope this report will enable you to see the value of affiliation with IRSOC when you become an owner.
Best wishes from IRSOC John.
Donn & John - Seabee #871 is C-FFSC from Canada. This is the one that belongs to Mr. Gagnon, that is being sold by that fellow that offered to have us come up and use his cabin to go fishing. Please note, this aircraft is one of the Bees I recently sent you the accident reports on. It was a very strange accident, where the pilot chose a partially submerged sandbar to land on because the gear would not lock down. There was minor damage to the wing, and one float. Gagnon had the Lycoming motor and the rest of the conversion completed. He had it listed for $77,000.00 Canadian. Sounds like a hell of a Seabee. - Bill Williams
PS: I hope this message proved to be of considerable value to Mr. Green. We were happy to be of service in this instance. J Hooper for "IRSOC"
SPECIAL! JUST IN! March 10,1999: CRAIG GREEN BOUGHT THE SEABEE AND WILL BE OPERATING N82283 THIS SPRING AT BIG LAKE, ALASKA. CONGRATULATIONS CRAIG!
Dear Mr. Hooper,Dear John,
My name is Barnett Frankel. I am not a pilot, yet. At 38 I'm just about ready to start my 2nd childhood and have been lobbying my wife for flight lesson's. I did, however, spend eight years in the USN in aviation, so I do have a background. I was surfing the net the other day and came upon your site. Imagine, web site devoted to what has to be the funniest, ugliest, cutest, beautiful floatplane I've ever seen. Oh, I know about the Goose, Mallard, Mars, etc. But the Seabee is truly in a class by itself. I described it to my friend as a rugby ball (like a football only not as pointy) with wings and a pusherprop, a broomstick coming out of the back and an empanage assembly at the other end. Even after reading about Guy's (mis-)adventure in purchasing his SeaBee, I want one. Yes, I'd like an Aerospatiale Tampico or Tobago, but if I had my druther's, I'd want a Seabee to be my first plane. It is a shame that this craft is so limited in it's availability. Water or land-based, nice range and payload (it looks fairly roomy inside), it would be perfect. Living near the Raritan River in New Jersey, my wife and I (with or without the kids) could fly to Montauk Point, Long Island (one of her favorite places) on a whim. Well, it's the stuff of fantasy. Thank you for bringing a smile to me.
Barnett "Barney" Frankel firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for forwarding Barney's letter. I, too, am a frustrated pilot of sorts. The Twinbee will be the first airplane I own and this is the culmination of my chilhood dreams of having my own aircraft and being able to fly just about anywhere. Inasmuch as the Philippines is an archipelago of 7100 islands and I have not been able to see quite a lot of them, an amphibian plane would give me the opportunity to explore them without the painful expense of owning ang maintaining a helicopter. For your info, I still have to get my flying lessons finished, though I have had some ground schooling already. Owning a multi engine is a long term goal and perhaps in the meantime, I will have to ask a pilot friend to go toFlorida to get rated on the Twinbee while I get my pilot's licence. I have flown an ultralight in 1984 without an instructor and proper guidance, which resulted in a spectacular crash (which was filmed on video) that ended my shortlived ultralight career. I have several broken bones as remembrance of that July 4th debacle. By the way, the accident happened a couple of weeks after I have been proficient enough in flying the Waspair Tomcat, which was one of the earliest ultralight models at that time. Due to a lack of a rated instructor, I proceeded to do crowhops in our airport until I was able to fly the length of our 2500 meter runway without touching down. The successful flights in the coming days emboldened me to fly higher and longer. A crosswind ended my ambitions that day. However, 14 years after, I have renewed my ambition to fly again and the Twinbee's unique qualities not only intrigued me but strengthened my resolve to pursue an aviation related business. My cable TV and restaurant business is relatively stable at this point and it wouldn't hurt if I tried my hand in aviation. When I saw the newspaper ad about a knocked down aircraft last year, I visited the Customs warehouse plainly out of curiosity and when I saw the Bee (I've never seen one before!), it sparked my Walter Mitty aspirations and one thing led to another. Now I am about to start the rebuild and I am eagerly awaiting for the engines which I purchased from US Aircraft salvage in Tennessee. I hope to also get a Cessna 172 in the future and a single engine Simuflite Super seabee is not far away from my mind. I am also interested in contacting anybody who has built the Spencer Amphibian from plans since it may just be feasible to build new Seabees from modern materials. Thanks again and please forward this letter to all the seabee enthusiasts out there.
Elpie Paras The Philippines
Subject: resorting to art in those moments
Date: Sunday, May 10, 1998 2:45 AM
From: Julie Bayless
To: John P. Hooper
Subject: RE: http://www.jetplane.com/cgi-bin/jetplane/jetmain/forsale_respond-L?item=1720
Date: Thursday, June 25, 1998 9:07 AM
Thank you John!
This is my dad's Bee! I can't tell you how thrilled I am to have found it, and that it's less than 40K. Still a little out of my realm, but a lot closer to possible than anything else I've been seeing. You may come across the name George Pomeroy on occasion in your Seabee involvement....he was fairly well known as one of the experts on the plane, and did a lot of rebuilding for people. One of the Bees he rebuilt was on the cover of Flying magazine, back in 91 or 92.Thanks for remembering my request!
Best Wishes, Julie
Enterprise Support Representative
EDITOR'S NOTE: Julie the picture and info on your father's, (George Pomeroy's) Seabee was located by our "Internet Detective" Bill Williams and we are pleased to have located it. If any of you remember the GEORGE POMEROY who operated Seabees between St.Ignace and Mackinac Island, Michigan and any anecdotes about him, I am sure Julie would like to hear from you. John for IRSOC
Subject: SeaBee stuff, of course..!!
From Member Don Anderson
I've been checking the web site daily to see if you've gotten back to "work". Missed you're presence during August, but have been keeping busywith my partner, John Kosir, in getting our Bee ready for it's launch sometime soon...(we're hoping..). We've been rebuilding EVERY componenton the ship, from tail to bow. All new wiring, plumbing, fuel cell, pumps overhauled, rebuilt gear, brakes, panel, instruments..and on and on..! It's become much more of a project than we expected, but we'll have as new a Bee as there can be when we finish. Since we've missed the summer, and going into the fall, I guess there's no rush anymore. Still waiting for the new Hartzell 3 blade prop for the GO-480, but it's given us time to renew all the engine components, exhaust, cables, etc. We have the overhead engine controls STC reinstalled, and working on new seats right now. We went down to Florida last month and spent a day with Henry Ruzakowski ( What a great guy he is..!!!), who had a wealth of info and advice for us. He truly is a SeaBee guru..!! We expect to hang the wings and tail group on within a few weeks, will need to do an FAA compliance inspection ( since we brought it back "home" from Canada), and hopfully be in the air within 90 days or less. By then we'll probably need to be looking for a set of snow skis for it (just joking). Anyway, that's the status on S/n 672, N672CB at this time. We still have the first Bee we bought, N6323K in storage, and plan to be able to do something with it in the next year or so. We're hoping the new diesel engines will be forthcoming by then, and we can move forward with something like that. I just turned 70 end of August, but figure good living and a beautiful wife of 50 years will keep me on track for at least another 25 or so. John Kosir is only 41, so he plans to be at this game for another 50-75 years or so. Between us that ought to give us enough time time to get at least another 3 or 4 Bees back in the air. Hope you're summer in Michigan was enjoyable, and that you're still running on all cylinders. My bride of 50 years and I are planning to spend a week or two up in Travewrse City/Charlevoix area towards the end of this month, and catch some fall colors and relax a bit. Our summer here in Ohio was really beautiful, but I still miss the old home state, even after 32 years being a Buckeye. Take care of yourself, and if I have the chance to be in you're neighborhood, be certain we'll be looking you up..!
Best regards, Don
E mail: dander@.ptcom.net
To: John Hooper
From: "Ken Butti"
DR. ANDY CHAPESKI WRITES:
I saw your add in the august issue of Canadian Flight. I've owned my Seabee CF-GAD Serial no. 965 since 1967. When I bought it the air frame time was 915 hours Total time now is 2846 hours most of which I put on myself. I flew it with the Franklin engine for over ten years and 500+ hours and never had a real problem once I learned about the engine. I burned it out within the first year of ownership with overzealous leaning and once I was willing to put up with the gas hog it was (22 US gal per hour) I never had another bit of trouble with the old Franklinstein. However it remained grossly under powered especially with an empty weight of 2450 lbs. came from. My basic airplane was never added to except for a metal 2 blade prop. At any rate to make the airplane functional with the old engine I used to remove the landing gear which weighs 130 lbs. it was of no value to me going north in the 60's and 70's. However it lost it's amphib capability. In any event I always flew the old Franklin with tongue in cheek and threatened to get rid of it and go to a float plane. I even looked at the lake amphib but declined that because of its small engine size and very light construction. It's not made for bush flying like the Bee is and only weighs 1800 lbs. In the late 70's a group in Seattle came up with a Lycoming engine conversion and as I had a bit of extra coin at the time decided to go for it and have never looked back.
I installed the GO-480-B1A6 of 270 hp because it burned 80-87 octane which was all that was available in northern Canada at that time. It has made the Bee truly a working airplane and I can even put in the proverbial kitchen sink. On northern trips basic baggage weighs 200 lbs and we usually take off with 85 US gallons and often throw in an extra 12 gallons in 2 cans-(insurance on a 500 mile leg). The new engine burns only 15 gal an hour and I can now enjoy all summer the fish camp in Quebec which is only an hour away from here and on a lake less then a mile long and with 100 foot pine trees on either end. Speed with the old engine was 90-95 and with the new engine it is more the 100 when heavy. This goes up to 105-110 when light. I once had an airspeed indicator that did much better the this. You can thank the Clark Y airfoil for this as much as all the garbage that hangs out in the breeze. However the big advantage of the Clark Y is the fact that I have never had a problem getting off the water no matter how heavy, hot, or which engine. You sure can't say the same about the Cessna float planes. They may be faster than the Bee but the high speed wing has a poorer lifting capability at slow speeds and doesn't like air that's hot or high. I once left a friend of mine stranded this way on James Bay at sea level in northern Ontario and he had a Cessna 172 with a Lycoming 180 conversion and constant speed prop. He spent the night on the dock and was not able to get off until the next morning when the air was cool. I had the Franklin at the time. My Bee and I have been all over Canada's Arctic from Whitehorse in the ukon to Yellowknife, NWT, on to Inuvik to Cambridge Bay on Victoria Island, Hudson's Bay to Frobisher on Baffin Island. We've also been to Fort Chimo in northern Quebec plus northern Labrador and Newfoundland.
We still have a trip to do. We plan to do the West Coast on up to Alaska and back via the Alaskan Highway if my pilot son can ever take the month off we need to do that from where I live in southern Ontario near Ottawa. It will involve about 100 hrs of flying at about 100 MPH. Many badmouth the Bee, particularly that it takes two hours of maintenance for every hour of flight. I'm sure that these are owners that rarely fly their planes which suffer from disuse. A few years ago, my son and I spent a couple of weeks in the Arctic and the only work the plane needed was an oil change in the 66 hours of flight. I fly my bird from 50-100 hours a year. I think this is the secret!
Dr. Andy Chapeski
I would just like to let you know the response from numerous members of the group has been tremendous in my search for a Seabee. Their help and unqualified support is most appreciated. Being in Australia, with only one Seabee on the entire continent makes my search a bit of an international expedition. I have learned the old lesson of "There is nothing that time or money will not fix - if you don't have one you can fix it with the other". With a couple of planes offered I will have to win the lottery or live to be 150. Having said that, a couple of seemingly good aircraft are out there with pretty straight sounding owners and I hope to look at them in USA shortly. Keep up the good work.
Regards Lang Kidby
Updated April 21, 2023 (Added Jim and Dete's Seabee article, Added logbook article, Changed cartoon, Added "Marty B II", Added Spencer: "Man behind the Seabee")