No other country in the World would be more perfect
for Seabee amphibians than Finland - "The Land of 10,000
Lakes"! With thousands of lakes (187,888 to be precise!!),
thousands of islands (179,584...) and a long coast line, there will
never be a problem finding a landing spot for a Seabee. However,
it is a fact that the Seabees were never imported into Finland in such
numbers as in the neighbor countries Sweden and Norway, whatever the
reasons were... Only three Seabees are known to have a connection
OH-EGA (s/n 679)
The first Seabee in Finland
Photo: © ?
1947 Seabee s/n 679 was the first general aviation
aircraft imported to Finland after WW2. The Seabee, registered
OH-EGA, was imported new from manufacturer Republic Aviation Corp. by
the Finnish distributor Lentopalvelu Oy; Helsinki. In November
1947 OH-EGA was registered to company Enso-Gutzeit Oy; Savonlinna.
In September 1958 OH-EGA overturned and sank after landed gear down on a
lake in Kaukopää. OH-EGA was cancelled from Finnish register in
1959. Fortunately the aircraft was recovered and in 1992 the wreck
was purchased by Mr. Matti Mecklin for rebuild and restoration.
Currently OH-EGA is stored in hangar at Vesivehmaa
Airfield, 20 km N of Lahti for future restoration, until time and money
will permit Mr. Mecklin to start the restoration.
OH-SBB (s/n 200)
Photo: © via Matti Mecklin
The second Republic Seabee imported to Finland was
s/n 200, OH-SBB, imported from Denmark in 1951. This Seabee was
originally imported factory-fresh to UK as G-AJNM, then sold on to
Denmark as OY-ABZ before ending up in Finland.
OH-SBB (s/n 200) taxiing before take off 1967-08-06
In Finland OH-SBB was operated for 15 years by a
number of different owners, until it sadly crashed on 6 August
1967. On take off from sea near Puumala airport, in Southern
Finland, OH-SBB stalled and crashed into sea, killing both people
aboard. Some German tourists took some photos of the fatal take
OH-SBB (s/n 200) on fatal take off 1967-08-06
The third and final Seabee destined for Finland was
s/n 737, imported from Norway in 1962, to be registered OH-SBC.
However, this never happened... In 1962 s/n 737 (LN-MAM) was
purchased from the Norwegian operator Mørefly AS by the Finnish
businessman Levi Hellberg, Helsingfors. On 15 June 1962 Mr.
Hellberg took off from Ålesund, Norway, to fly the Seabee home to
Finland. The first landing en route was made in Östersund, Sweden,
where he stayed overnight. Next morning he started for the next
leg to Gävle, on the East coast of Sweden, some 140 km north of
Stockholm. The weather forecast indicated fog on the coast, but
Mr. Hellberg decided he still would go. If weather turned too bad,
he could easily land on sea or on a lake and wait for weather to
Near Gnarp, some 30 km south of Sundsvall, the
forecast turned out to be right, and Mr. Hellberg decided to land on
sea, approximately 1 NM from the Swedish coast. The landing was
uneventful and he started to taxi towards land. After a while
Hellberg decided to make a short 'hop' towards land, to save time.
When he landed again after a few hundred meters, the right wing float
hit a wave hard and was torn off. In an attempt to lift the wing
from sea, Hellberg added power. Unfortunately this was too late;
the wing dug in and the Seabee flipped over on its back. Mr.
Hellberg was rescued by to boatsmen. The Seabee did not sink at
first but floated towards land, near Hernösand, Fågelhorn, where it
was completely destroyed when beating against the rocks in the
waves. Later the wreck was recovered. The Finnish
registration OH-SBC was probably never applied to the aircraft.