Fleetwings Sea Bird

Summary

The Fleetwings Sea Bird (or Seabird) was an American-built amphibious aircraft of the 1930s.

Sea Bird
Fleetwings Sea Bird.jpg
F-401 prototype, Golden Wings Museum, Blaine, Minnesota
Role Amphibious utility aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Fleetwings
Designer James C. Reddig
First flight 1936
Number built 1 prototype; 5 production

Design and productionEdit

The Sea Bird was an amphibious utility aircraft designed in 1934–1935 by James C. Reddig for Fleetwings, Inc., of Bristol, Pennsylvania. While the aircraft's basic configuration had a precedent in the design of the Loening "Monoduck" developed by the Grover Loening Aircraft Company as a personal aircraft for Mr. Loening (for whom Reddig worked from 1929 to 1933), the Sea Bird was unusual because of its construction from spot-welded stainless steel. It was a high-wing, wire-braced monoplane with its engine housed in a nacelle mounted above the wings on struts. The pilot and passengers sat in a fully enclosed cabin. Fleetwings initially planned to manufacture 50 production units, but at a price approaching $25,000 during the Depression, there proved to be no sustainable market.

Operational historyEdit

The Sea Bird found use with private pilot owners and saw service with the oil support industry in Louisiana, including operation by J. Ray McDermott & Co.

VariantsEdit

  • F-4 Sea Bird - 4-seat prototype (1 built)
  • F-5 Sea Bird - 5-seat production aircraft (5 built)

SpecificationsEdit

Data from Specifications of American Airplanes[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 31 ft 5 in (9.58 m)
  • Wingspan: 40 ft 6 in (12.34 m)
  • Height: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
  • Wing area: 235 sq ft (21.8 m2)
  • Empty weight: 2,320 lb (1,052 kg)
  • Gross weight: 3,450 lb (1,565 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 52 US gal (43 imp gal; 200 L)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Jacobs L-5 7-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, 285 hp (213 kW)

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 150 mph (240 km/h, 130 kn) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 133 mph (214 km/h, 116 kn)
  • Range: 400 mi (640 km, 350 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
  • Rate of climb: 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Aviation April 1937, pp. 70–71.
  • "Specifications of American Airplanes". Aviation. Vol. 36, no. 4. April 1937. pp. 66–71.
  • Taylor, Michael J. H. (1989). Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation. London: Studio Editions. p. 392. ISBN 0-7106-0710-5.
  • "A Shot-Welded Stainless Steel Amphibian". Flight: 424. 22 October 1936. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  • aerofiles.com

External linksEdit

  • Vintage film of the Fleetwings Sea Bird