|Manufacturer:||Republic Aviation Corporation; Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, USA.|
|Model:||Republic RC-3 Seabee|
|Type Certificate No:||A-769|
|Engine:||Franklin 6A8-215-B9F (215 HP at 2500 RPM)|
|1947-10-14||Officially delivered from Republic Aviation Corporation to Aerogyot High Speed Development Company; Alexander, Egypt. (For Palestine/Israel).|
1946 an attorney from Tel Aviv, Shmuel Shchopak, purchased a single
Seabee, one of the few private aircraft in Palestine. The Seabee
(NC6731K) was assembled at Lod Airport from which it was also operated.
In 1947 the Seabee joined "Aviron", one of the first airlines
in Palestine, which in turn handed it to the Haganah's "Shirut Avir"
(air service) in late 1947. The "Shirut Avir" operated the
aircraft in its Tel Aviv squadron, out of Sde-Dov. In early 1948 the
squadron commander Modi Alon attempted to land the Seabee on the nearby
Mediterranean but shattered one of the wing floats. Modi Alon was
subsequently removed from his position (he later became the IAF's first
fighter squadron commander and scored the IAF's first two kills with an Avia
S.199) while the Seabee had its other wing float removed as well,
eliminating its amphibian capabilities. On April 20th the "Air
Service" was reorganized and its aircraft reallocated. The Seabee
became part of the 1st "Namer" (leopard) squadron's A section
at Tel Aviv. On May 15th 1948, a day after the Israeli declaration of
Independence, it was damaged in an Egyptian Air Force attack on Sde-Dov
but was returned to service. The Seabee was later operated by the 101st
fighter squadron, alongside the IAF's first fighters, the Avia
S.199 and Supermarine Spitfire. It was employed mainly on cargo and
liaison flights although some reconnaissance flight might have also
taken place. A shortage of parts for the aircraft finally grounded the
Seabee shortly after the War of Independence. The IAF
Museum at Hatzerim houses a Seabee in the colors of the 101st.
This aircraft was donated to Sherut Avir by a local lawyer in 1947.
At first numbered B-60, but after some damage repaired and renumbered
B-61. As B-61 served in 101 sqn, for liaison/utility transport, no more
amphibious landings preformed. Destroyed on the ground on 15 May 1948.
No Hebrew name given. Like all other IDF/AF aircraft of the period it
was camouflaged in Green and Brown, but photographs show the green was
only applied ti its rear fuselage for a while. Note: the Blue and White
identification markings on the rear fuselage.
The Tel Aviv squadron was initially responsible for all air operations in Palestine/Israel during the War of Independence, from its main base at Sde Dov, near Tel Aviv. It first was formed on 27 December 1947 at Sde Dov, with all the Sherut Avir's existing aircraft - except for the RWD.15 which was still at Lydda. The new unit's main tasks were listed as liaison, transport, intelligence gathering, escorting convoys of vehicles and training young pilots. It's area of responsibility was reduced to just central Israel after the acquisition of more aircraft and the formation of the Negev Squadron on 10 March 1948. Since Sde Dov was still under RAF control until May 1948, any illicit cargo (such as bombs or guns) had to be smuggled past the British Guards. In late June 1948 it was designated 1 Squadron. Peak strength was 22 aircraft. Other rough airstrips used included kibbutz Na'an, Gosh Etzion, Bet Ashel and Gaza East (Be'erot Itschak). In May 1949 the unit was amalgamated into 100 Squadron.
|B-61||????-??-??||101 tajeset, IDF/AF.|
|1948-04-??||Damaged wing floats during sea rescue operation.|
|1948-05-15||Destroyed (?) on ground by attacking Egyptian Air Force Spitfires.|
RAC Seabee Delivery List.
RAC Seabee Export List 1948-11-15.
Air Britain "Archive" 1981 No. 3/4.