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Republic RC-3 Seebee

Recovered from Lake Washington


In 1991, designed mainly as a proof of concept salvage mission, a Republic Seabee was recovered from Lake Washington. Submerged south of Interstate 90 off the East End of Mercer Island, the plane was discovered, documented, and recovered from a depth of 73 feet.

The Seabee was found upside down with the wheels extended as if it had been parked on land. Little is known about how or when the plane ended up in the lake. It’s likely that the plane was parked at a nearby airfield and blown into the lake. Another scenario could have the plane attempting a water landing. With the wheels down, the plane may have flipped. from: ReachOne

The fuselage of this aircraft is supported by lilfting bags.  In thebackground the East Channel Bridge of Interstate 90.
Here Robert Mester rides on the tail of the Seabee, the recovery mission a success!

This four-seat single engine amphibian was designed as a low-cost utilitarian sport airplane. About 1,200 of these seaplanes were built from 1946 to 1948. There are still as many as 500 in service around the world. Restored Seabees are worth $50,000 to $60,000.

The Seabee is an all metal, shoulder mounted wing, amphibious flying boat. It has a pusher engine mounted behind the cabin. It has a conventional landing gear with a tail wheel and a wheel track of 8 feet. Access to the Seabee is through a side door on each side of the cabin and through a bow hatch. It has a large baggage compartment aft of the rear seats. On many Seabees, the forward seat backs can fold down to provide a sleeping bed for two. The RC-1 prototype was a Percival H. Spencer design that had a 175 horsepower Franklin engine. The RC-3 Seabee was granted an Approved Type Certificate in 1946 and shutdown production in November of 1947 after only 11 months. One thousand one hundred Seabees were built of which 350 are still registered with the FAA. from: Seaplanes.org.

Crew: 1 pilot, 3 passengers            Max takeoff weight: 3,150 lb
Length: 27 ft 10.5 in      Wingspan: 37 ft 8 in     Height: 10 ft 1 in
Maximum speed: 148 mph                                  Range: 520 miles
Service ceiling: 12,000 ft                       Rate of climb: 700 ft/min<>

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