REPUBLIC RC-3 SEABEE # 105

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N87545

N87545
Koh Khao Phing Kan, Phang Nga, Thailand
1974
Photo: © DANJAQ

AIRCRAFT DATA

Manufacturer: Republic Aviation Corporation; Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, USA.
Model: RC-3 Seabee
Type Certificate No: A-769
Serial Number: 105
Manufacturing Date: 1946-10-??
Engine: Franklin 6A8-215-B8F (215 HP at 2500 RPM)
Remarks: Mode S codes: 53005753 / AC0BEB (N87545)
 
Reg. No. Date Remarks
NC87545
N87545
1946-10-?? Manufacturing Date.
1946-10-?? Test flight.
1946-10-30 Officially delivered from Republic Aviation Corporation to Rankin Aviation Industries; Tulare, California, USA.
   
   
1968-01-08 Pacoima, California: During taxiing to take-off, Seabee N87545 collided with parked Cessna 182 N8749X. The 47 year old pilot (512 hrs in Seabees) and the two passengers of the Seabee were not injured.  Probable cause:  Pilot in command - improper operation of brakes and/or flight controls. [NTSB Identification # LAX66F0222 / File # 3-0233]
1971-05-28 Observed at Santa Maria, California, by Jack Poelstra (see photo below).
1971-11-08 Las Vegas, Nevada: Aircraft crash landed in a shopping center near McCarran Airport during a forced landing, after propeller control valve failed and propeller went into high pitch during approach to land. The 53 year old pilot (981 hrs in Seabees) and the co-pilot were not injured.  Departure point:  Las Vegas, Nevada.  Last enroute stop: Lake Mead.  Intended destination: Las Vegas, Nevada.  Damage was listed as: DESTROYED. [NTSB Identification # OAK72FVW17 / File # 3-4209].
1974-01-22 C of R issued to:
Colonel Clair; PO Box 1231, Marina Del Rey, California 90291.

Transported from USA to Thailand for use in the cinema movie "The Man With The Golden Gun".

1974

James Bond movie "The Man With The The Golden Gun"
- The Republic Seabee Scenes

The Republic Seabee action was filmed at and off the beautiful island Koh Khao Phing Kan in the Phang Nga province in Thailand.  This island is today often referred to as the 'James Bond Island' by tourist travel agents for Thailand.  The Seabee N87545 was purchased by Eon Production, and was probably shipped by ship from USA to Thailand for "The Man With The Golden Gun" film production.

In the first Seabee scene, the James Bond is flying low over a beautiful scenery of small islands.  The Seabee is flown between two close islands when Bond prepares for landing.  In the landing scene the Seabee is filmed from slightly above.  In the next scene the Seabee is seen step taxied towards a beach, but now the left wing float is suddenly missing!  It has been reported that the Seabee had an accident on 17 (14?) April 1974, when colliding with a rock during the filming for the movie.  Probably the wing float got damaged and had to be removed for the last Seabee scenes.  Unconfirmed information suggest that Colonel Clair did the Seabee flying for the movie.

Without the left wing float, it would be very difficult for the pilot the take down the wheels to taxi on the wheels up on the beach before the left wing would drop into the water.  This is probably why the Seabee is step taxied on the hull all the way up on the beach.  This scene probably was not included in the original script.  However, this change makes the Seabee scene even more spectacular!

The Seabee crew only got a few hours to take out instruments and other Seabee goodies, before the Seabee was blown up into pieces - to all Seabee enthusiasts' despair...

There are alternative sources suggesting that the Seabee destroyed in the movie, actually was a mockup - and that the real # 105 is still in Thailand...

1977-01-14 Last action date.
2012-09-10 Cancelled from FAA Registry.
2015 There are reports about a Seabee in Thailand that might be # 105!
2019-11-22 I read your article & noticed you assumed the Seabee traveled by boat. It was disassembled enough to fit in the back of a 707 & then flown to Bangkok. Pat Crowley was the IA, A&P not to mention Pilot with numerous ratings that helped break it down & load it in a 707. Pat Crowley was the test pilot in the Seabee for Man With a Golden Gun. He was asked at least 3 to 4 times while filming to make lower passes while flying over the trees. He told the crew that if he flew any lower he would hit the trees but they kept asking for lower & on there last request to fly lower thatís when the float was torn from the wing. He was concerned about landing the Seabee after the float was torn off but did fine & powered it right up on the beach.

The plane BTW does not exist anymore. It was blown up with dynamite. Pat was watching as the explosives guy put dynamite in the plane. This plane absolutely does not exist anymore. The tail number may or may not be used by someone but the original was blown up. Btw, Roger Moore was NOT a very friendly individual at that point in time during the production of the movie according to Pat. They all stayed in one location in the middle of no where in Bangkok where this whole thing was being produced/ filmed because there were no other options. Pat Crowley was a very quite man that didnít boast about anything. If you ever got a story from him he would quietly tell it. He never bragged about anything but many at WEA airport knew about his history & I personally have known him for years. Anyway, Pat still has family & friends living that can verify this story. Probably not a big deal to most but maybe to you since you wrote about the Seabee. Iíve known about this particular story for years & saw your article & thought I might mention it. Pat Crowley passed away in June of 2019 & will be missed by many. He had an amazing Aviation History.

Sincerely
Rick Holliday
N377BA

  Sources: RAC Seabee Delivery List.
FAA Registry.
Jack Poelstra.
Rick Holliday.

N87545

N87545
Koh Khao Phing Kan, Phang Nga, Thailand
After the Seabee had been demolished, the film crew had to put out the fire...
1974
Photo: © DANJAQ

N87545

N87545
Koh Khao Phing Kan, Phang Nga, Thailand
1974
Photo: © DANJAQ

N87545

N87545
Santa Maria, California, USA
28 May 1971
Photo: © Jack Poelstra
N87545 N87545 N87545
N87545 N87545 N87545

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