REPUBLIC RC-3 SEABEE # 817

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N6551K

N6551K
Photo: Please tell me!

AIRCRAFT DATA

Manufacturer: Republic Aviation Corporation; Farmingdale, Long Island, New York, USA.
Model: RC-3 Seabee
Type Certificate No: A-769
Serial Number: 817
Manufacturing Date: 1947-05-??
Engine: Franklin 6A8-215-B9F (215 HP at 2500 RPM).
Remarks:  
 
Reg. No. Date Remarks
NC6551K
N6551K
1947-05-?? Manufacturing Date.
1947-05-?? Test flight.
1947-05-06 Officially delivered from Republic Aviation Corporation to Buffalo Aeronautical Corporation; Buffalo, New York, USA.
1947-05-06 Carol J. Shaner; Bolivar, New York, USA
1957-10-16 New owner?
1971-06-20 During take off from Buffalo River(?), near Tonawanda, NY, the left wing float separated from aircraft.  The pilot landed again to retrieve the float.  After landing, the taxiing aircraft was capsized by wind and sank, some 6 miles from departure airport, Lockport, NY. The flight was an instructional flight, with an instructor (40), a student pilot and a passenger on board.  Nobody was injured.  The wreck was later recovered.
  Parts from #817 used in the rebuild/restoration of #582, N6353K.
1981-03-30 Whithworth Aviation; James Withworth, 4425 Miller Road, Niagara Falls, New York, USA.
1988-11-02 N6353K sold from James Withworth to John D. Haffner; 28626 Polks Road, Princess Anne, MD 21853, USA.
2013-03-21

My father owned serial #817 N6551K from 5/6/47-10/16/58 and that is why I am interested in the Seabee Newsletter. I have been working for over 4 years trying to track down this plane and so far it appears that I have hit a stone wall. The last known owner was James Whitworth on 3/30/81 in Buffalo, NY. He is now deceased. I requested a FAA history on the plane and it was involved in a water crash/submersion/recovery on 6/20/71. After that James Whitworth acquired the plane.

I can remember flying in the N6551K with my father probably around 1950, when I was 5 years old, until he sold the plane in 1958. We kept the plane at the old Olean, NY airport and in the mid 50's moved it to a private airstrip in Angelica, NY. My dad used the plane to fly up into Canada on the French River for fishing. He was a great pilot from what I can remember. We would go flying around Western New York State and land on many of the small lakes in that area. I am 68 years old and live in Crandall, GA and do not have a pilots license. 

I have been trying to track this Seabee down and it appears it has disappeared into the dust of the world. I found one down in Cartersville, GA at their airport that has the wings off and in sad shape. I have not been able to find out who owns this plane. I thought that I would buy it, move it to my home and reassembly it in my side yard to admire and dream of what it was like some 60+ years ago when we were flying s/n 817. Hopefully this answers your question and explains my interest in Seabees.

Thanks.
Dick Shaner.
(E-mail to Bruce Hinds 2013-03-21)

2013-03-25

I purchased N6353K Serial #582 from James Whitworth in Buffalo in 1989 and flew it home to Maryland.  During restoration, I found that the fuselage and some other minor components were from SN 817 your Dad's airplane.  It appears that N6551 parts were used to reassemble N6353K.Sadly, after many years of work and most of my savings, I am unable to complete the restoration, and have come to the conclusion that I will have to sell N6353K.

John Haffner
(E-mail to Dick Shaner 2013-03-25)

  Sources: RAC Seabee Delivery List
John Haffner
Dich Shaner
Bruce Hinds

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Updated 2013-03-28

  2013 Steinar Saevdal