Toward the end of World War II, aircraft manufacturers anticipated a booming domestic market for inexpensive civilian aircraft. Republic Aviation, famous for the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter, built and tested several prototypes of a small amphibian aircraft dubbed the RC-3 “Seabee.” The projected civilian price was $3,500, and by the end of 1944, Republic already had received 1,972 civilian orders.
In March 1946, the first production Seabee was completed. However, returning pilots weren’t as interested in aircraft ownership as manufacturers had imagined. In October 1947, Republic discontinued production of the Seabee. A total of 1,060 Seabees had been built. In the years since, the innovative little seaplane became very popular in the bush wilderness of the United States and Canada. Military operators included the Army Air Forces, France, Paraguay, the South Vietnamese Air Force, and Israel.
Built in February, 1947, N6255K was the 462nd Seabee off the production line. In 1967, the Seabee was sold to Hank Younge, as the initial aircraft of start-up airline Air Molokai. It was retired after a few years and purchased in 1979 by Bob Gould, an airline pilot living in Kaneohe, who began restoration. By 2006, the bright yellow and black Seabee became a familiar sight above Windward Oahu until Gould donated it to the Museum.