Republic Seabee News 2008

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SE-AXB (Photo: Steinar Saevdal 2008)

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Swedish 'Silver Bees'

 

SE-AXY 2008-08-07 (Photo: Steinar Saevdal)[19 August 2008] On their way to Åland, the beautiful island between Sweden and Finland, on vacation, www.seabee.info webmaster Steinar Saevdal and his wife Camilla did some Seabee hunting...

The proud history of Seabee amphibians in Sweden is closely connected to the company AB Hans Osterman, since 1908 a well known distributor of American automobiles and trucks in Sweden.  During WW2 Osterman turned their attention to aviation  business, when the sub-company AB Aero Service was founded in 1944.  They became a distributor for the Danish KZ airplanes. After WW2 the company also imported several Auster Autocars.

Late fall 1945 president of company, Lennart Osterman, and two of Osterman's senior executives; Olof Sefeldt and K. H. Björngård, visited the USA to see several aircraft manufacturers, including Republic Aviation and Bell Helicopters in New York.  In November 1945 Republic announced that AB Hans Ostermans had been appointed Seabee distributor for all Sweden.  This was a very wise decision, because the Seabee soon stirred a huge interest in Sweden. During the years 1946 - 1948, Ostermans imported more than 20 new Seabees to Sweden.  Ostermans also imported the first Bell 47 helicopters to Europe in 1946.

The first Seabee destined for Sweden, SE-AXA (s/n 109), was officially delivered from Republic Aviation on 7 November 1946 and shipped from New York by ship in January 1947. Summer 1947 the company changed name to Ostermans Aero AB and even started their own air taxi operations, using Seabees and several other aircraft types, including helicopters.  Many Swedes got their first airplane ride in Ostermans Aero's Seabees during the the late 1940s and the 1950s...

Ulf Engström 2008-08-05 (Photo: Steinar Saevdal)One of the kids who got his first airplane ride in a Seabee in the 1950s was Ulf Engström, who grew up in Mariefred west of Stockholm.  When he was a 8-year old boy, his parents gave him a ticket for a ride in a Seabee probably operated by Ostermans.  This started his strong aviation interest, and of course he grew up to become a professional pilot!

Ulf got his basic flight training in the Swedish Air Force and Navy in 1974. In the Navy he was a commander of SAR and special missions on twin rotor helicopter Boeing Vertol 107. He served as instructor pilot and technical pilot in the Swedish Navy until 1983. Later he was a civil helicopter pilot, flying in such exotic places as Greenland and Svalbard, and less exotic - Norway and Sweden.

In Norway he was employed by Lufttransport A/S as Training Captain, operating Bell 205, 212 and 214. Work included power line construction works, ambulance and arctic missions.  This was followed by two years at Greenland Air Charter, flying Bell 212’s in arctic areas.

For a few years Ulf also operated his own helicopter company out of hometown Edsvalla.  And more recently he was Flight Operations Manager at Heliflyg AB, operating Eurocopter AS 365 Dauphin.  Currently Ulf is a helicopter flight simulator instructor on Bell/AB 212/412 for Oxford Aviation Academy (formerly SAS Flight Academy) at Arlanda, outside Stockholm. He is a type rating instructor and Swedish CAA examiner, TRI, SFI. Total flight time on 15 helicopter types: 10, 500 hrs.

Ever since his first ride in a Seabee, the Seabee has been his favorite airplane.  For many years it was his biggest dream to own one.  When the commercial Seabee operator Fiskflyg AB decided to sell off their Seabees in 1999/2000, Ulf tried to get one of them - but without success.  Also he tried to acquire a SIAI Marchetti FN.333 Riviera amphibian, but this proved to be even harder...

Then one day in 2005, Ulf got a strange telephone call from Fiskflyg telling that "your Seabee is ready for you"!  It turned out that Fiskflyg had kept one of their Seabees stored for a few years after selling the others in 2000.  Ulf travelled to Fiskflyg and settled the deal and in July 2005 SE-AXB (s/n 268) was his! After overhaul and preparation at Fiskflyg, on 9 July 2005 Ulf flew his magnificent Seabee from Porjus to her new home base in Lake "Bölösen", Värmeln, west of Edsvalla.

SE-AXB at Bölösen 2008-08-06 (Photo: Steinar Saevdal)On Tuesday August 5th, Steinar and Camilla, had the pleasure of seeing Ulf and his nice wife Christina at their beautiful home in Edsvalla, Värmland.  The weather was terrible with rain pouring down.  After a nice meal, Ulf and Christina kindly took the visitors by car the 15 minute drive from Edsvalla to see SE-AXB at Bölösen.  She looks fantastic in her polished aluminum and bright red trim colors!  Engström's hangar is located at the most beautiful and idyllic place imaginable!  The hangar had previously been used by a Cessna 180 seaplane, so the hangar had to be widened to give room for the extra wing span of the Seabee.  SE-AXB does not have wheels, which saves approximately 90 kg from the empty weight.  Ulf got a dolly from Fiskflyg, which has been slightly modified for this location.

SE-AXB at Bölösen 2008-08-05 (Photo: Steinar Saevdal)SE-AXB probably is the most 'historic' of all Seabees in Sweden.  This was the favorite airplane of Swedish aviator legend Stig Gunnar "Spökis" Andersson, who flew bushplanes and helicopters in Jämtland, Northern Sweden for many years, until he tragically died in a helicopter crash in 1974.  When "Spökis" parted with SE-AXB in October 1963, when sold to Fiskflyg, he wrote this farewell in the aircraft logbook (translated);

"Jämtlands Aero's 10-year faithful servant has been handed over to Sten Lundqvist, Piteå for further service in the Lappland mountains.  Hard service the airplane has performed; 5579 days and nights + 1744 hrs 05 min, used 122.080 liters of fuel, transported 106 elks, 54 ambulance flights, more than 20.000 km flown, 9.990 tourists and 137.735 kg of goods.  With thanks and good luck! Gunnar Andersson, flight chief".

Ulf and Christina are most dedicated to take good care of this unique Seabee for the future.  They fly 15 - 20 hours each year.  When asking Ulf what he thinks about flying the Seabee, he admits that during his Seabee check out, he had good use of his experience from helicopter autorotation training to impress the instructor...

After visiting the Engström's we spent two nights at a camping in Mariefred, from where we took train to Stocholm on Wednesday for sight-seeing Stockholm's beautiful "Gamla Stan" (Old City) - and finally there was some sun!  On Thursday August 7th our tour went on to Skå-Edby airfield west of Stockholm to see Seabee SE-ERT (s/n 846).  The weather was again rainy and when we arrived at the grass airfield, we met a kind Tiger Moth owner who told us that SE-ERT was in a locked hangar and could not be seen...

SE-AXY at Barkarby 2008-08-07 (Photo; Steinar Saevdal)We called SE-AXY (s/n 830) Seabee owner Sten Karlsson, who told us that we were welcome to see his Seabee at Barkarby Airport (ESKB) in Järfälla, west of Stockholm.  Unfortunately, he could not see us because he was out of town that day.  However, Sten advised us to visit his friend and fellow Seabee owner in Vallentuna; Björn Ek.  After using a terrible road map, we finally found Barkarby Airport.  The airport is also the location for Swedish EAA Chapter 222 and there are several interesting GA aircraft based at Barkarby. Unfortunately Barkarby is in danger of being closed down, the final decision not known yet.  Among the many nice airplanes on the airport, one was shinier and stood taller in the rain than the rest; Seabee SE-AXY!  SE-AXY is also one of the Fiskflyg Seabees that were sold to private owners in 2000, taken over by Sten Karlsson in May 2001.  She has the same polished aluminum silver look as SE-AXB and looks excellent!  SE-AXY does of course have wheels, installed by Sten after he acquired the Seabee.  Fiskflyg operated all their Seabees without wheels to save weight.  Both SE-AXB and SE-AXY have all the goodies installed; Simuflight Lycoming GO-480 engine conversion, extended wings (and flaps), droop wing tips, extended wide spray rails etc.  I believe, however, that SE-AXB has a carburated engine, while SE-AXY has an injection engine IGO-480.

In addition to SE-AXY, Sten also purchased Seabee rebuild project SE-AXF (s/n 592) from Fiskflyg.  SE-AXF is in the process of being rebuilt at Västerås Flygmuseum; Västerås Airport Hasslö (ESOW), and will be a long-term project.

SE-IIO at Lindönäs airfield 2008-08-07 (Photo: Steinar Saevdal)After taking several photos of rainy wet and shiny SE-AXY, our drive went on to the town Vallentuna NE of Stockholm, to see Björn and Anita Ek, who own Franklin-powered Seabee SE-IIO (s/n 120).  Björn Ek is a farmer and aviation enthusiast who in the early 1990s turned some of his farming fields at "Lindönäs" Farm into a 1.000 m grass airfield.  His boyhood friend and neighbor Åke Jansson was a co-owner of the Seabee, and Åke now operates a Douglas C-47B-35-DK (DC-3) Dakota 9Q-CUK and a Piper PA-18-150 Super Cub SE-KTG from the same airfield!  Three of aviation's biggest classics at the same airfield!  Åke practically lives on the airfield, while Björn and Anita live on the other side of the road "268" between towns Vallentuna and Upplands-Väsby.  Åke is running an aircraft maintenance shop in Vallentuna.  He spent 28 years as a professional pilot in Africa, flying DC-3s etc.  I am sure he has many amazing stories to tell...

Björn & Anita Ek 2008-08-07 (Photo: Steinar Saevdal)Björn and Anita were dressing up for celebrating their 10th wedding anniversary when we met them at home.  Still, they kindly invited us in and Anita, originally from Åland, even helped us book a place on the ferry between Sweden and Åland, the destination of our journey.  We got a place on the ferry the same evening, so suddenly we were a little short of time.  Björn showed me the aircraft logs for SE-IIO so that I could write down some more historical dates.  After that, Björn and Anita showed us a storage garage at the farm where some of Björn's and Åke's aircraft stuff is stored.  Even the wings of Sten Karlsson's SE-AXF are stored here.  Further, Björn and Åke have the complete inventory of Fiskflyg's Franklin engines and parts, from when Fiskflyg replaced the Franklin engines by Lycoming GO-480 engines on their Seabees.  From the roof a strange French airplane was hanging, and further there was a helicopter stored.

SE-IIO at Lindönäs airfield 2008-08-07 (Photo: Steinar Saevdal)Finally it was time to see the Seabee!  SE-IIO is not one of the many Seabees imported by Ostermans Aero AB.  Actually, s/n 120 spent many years in the USA as N87558 and N14R, before she was imported to Sweden in 1981 by Leif Gustav Eriksson and Tommy Lundqvist.  At some stage a gear-down landing was made.  Seabee expert Bo Larsson and a group of owners/partners had done most of the restoration work when Björn and Åke took over and completed the project in 2004.  In 2006, Björn and Anita became the sole owners.  She looks magnificent in her silver paint and red trim colors!  The Seabee is also properly marked "Anita" on the R/H door and "Björn" on the L/H door. SE-IIO has an original Franklin engine, but also have mods such as extended wings (without flap extension), droop tips and extended spray rails.  On the nose, a red Kevlar plate has been installed to protect against bumps from docking etc.  Björn and Anita use the Seabee when they fly to their beautiful cottage on a remote island in Åland.  On our return to Norway on Monday we made a short call at Lindönäs to see Björn and take a few more photos.  Björn even showed us around in Åke's DC-3.  My wife of course loved the violet interior, violet being her favorite color...

Thank you very much Camilla, Ulf & Christina, Björn & Anita and Sten for making this year's vacation a wonderful "Seabee" memory!

Steinar Saevdal 2008-08-19

 

The Antilles "Super Goose"

 

Antilles "Super Goose"[04 February 2008] Not Seabee - but still based on an old classic... Antilles Seaplanes, LLC, launches "Super Goose" Amphibious Aircraft Production

Gibsonville , North Carolina USA – Antilles Seaplanes, LLC, announces that it has begun accepting deposit orders on the production of completely new “Antilles Super Goose” amphibious aircraft.  Based on the legendary G-21 Goose, the company’s version has been modernized to current day aviation standards to include turboprop engines, retractable wing floats, state-of-the-art avionics, interior environmental systems, and a variety of other technological improvements over the original airplane manufactured by Grumman.  Additionally, a highly specialized military version of the Goose is currently being developed by Antilles for potential use by our nation’s Special Forces. 

The “Antilles Super Goose” is an extremely versatile twin engine, 10-seat “true” amphibian, designed to take off and land on water (minimum depth of 36 inches in oceans, islands, bays, rivers or lakes), regular paved runways, remote grass strips, rough dirt strips, and snow.   With its fully retractable landing gear, the Goose offers speed, rough water capability, cross wind ability, payload, range, economics, and ruggedness unmatched by any other aircraft in its class.  This multipurpose airplane can swiftly adapt as global civilian, military, government and special humanitarian support needs dictate.  It is the true “All Terrain Vehicle,” conquering air, water and land.

The Goose has a generously proportioned interior with additional storage areas in both the nose and the tail, plus an optional private toilet in the rear.  The aircraft is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A turboprop engines that produce an air speed of over 200 knots (approximately 230 miles per hour); carries people, fuel and cargo in excess of 5,400 pounds; and has a range of over 1,200 nautical miles (six hours plus instrument flight reserves).    

The Goose is back and ready for work and adventure.  For more information on the line of Antilles Seaplanes’ “Super Goose” aircraft, contact David Dyer or Warren Ludlam at phone number 336.449.5702, by e-mail at info@antillesseaplanes.com, or visit www.antillesseaplanes.com

Antilles Seaplanes

 

                   Visit at: www.antillesseaplanes.com

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© 2008-2012 Steinar Saevdal