The Republic RC-3 Seabee: A Flying Summerhouse
The cockpit of the Seabee
The Republic RC-3 Seabee is a pilot’s dream. It is a dream which isn’t confined to the sole notion of being able to fly a plane but by doing something else (apart from flying). Now flying is already one of the greatest opportunity one may have but considering an added act of leisure coupled with it should be a dream of dreams. Flying and fishing may entirely sound contradictory to each other but this is actually a choice an aircraft owner affords himself by owning a Seabee.
First introduced in 1946 the RC-3 caused quite a hysteria by its tag price of $ 3,500 which earned 1,972 orders for Republic from civilians. Percival Spencer, the RC-3’s designer knew he had made a dream come true to its prospective owners. A dream come true which could only be realized by buying and owning the plane. His design of the RC-3 based on the basic concept of an “air car” as a perfect sports plane for pilots created a trend. His target of gaining the interests of pilots coming home from war established an effective market niche, an air car and a flying boat rolled into one.
After 64 years and out of 1,060 units built, the Republic RC-3 Seabee remains to be a pilot’s and a fisherman’s dream as there remains 250 Seabees registered and flying in the US. There could be an irony between two types of people owning it as to a pilot who learns to fish later or a wealthy fisherman who learns to fly later after learning to fish all his life. Even James Bond availed of this plane’s remarkable performance as it earned a brief appearance in the 1974 James Bond movie, The Man with the Golden Gun.
Note: The catch prase “A Flying Summerhouse” was originally coined by the author from Richard Bach’s book “A Gift of Wings” (pp.283-291, Adventures aboard a flying summerhouse)