The Modern Pilot News

Canadian Company Reinvents Seabee Amphib

A Canadian company Horizon is seeking to start production of a re-engined and re-engineered version of the Republic RC-3 Seabee amphibious aircraft. Called the ‘X2 Project’ for now, the revised Seabee would be offered with options for power units from a 500hp V8 car engine to a sophisticated hybrid-electric motor.

Horizon Aircraft Inc. is an aviation and manufacturing company based in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada. When Brian Robinson, co-founder of Horizon Aircraft, realised that more than half of serious amphibious aircraft accidents involved landing in water with the landing gear inadvertently selected down, he set about designing landing gear system that could land on any surface in any position without harming the aircraft or passengers.

Result: a unique tri-hull design claimed to add stability, comfort, and durability thanks to an innovative, environmentally friendly composite structure. Horizon says the X2 will have a re-configurable cabin will allow for multiple variants useful for medevac, long-range transport, surveillance roles, and potential for Unmanned Air Vehicle operations.

“We are currently pursuing partnerships that would allow sophisticated new hybrid-electric power systems to operate as the environmentally conscious backbone of the aircraft,” said Brian Robinson. “Our technical experts have concluded there are no significant technical barriers and that the Horizon X2 platform is ideally suited for a hybrid power system.”

As well as Horizon Aircraft, Brian Robinson also runs an aircraft engineering company based at Lindsay Municipal Airport, City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada, and specialises in the RC-3 Seabee. He bought his Seabee in 1969 and has been it ever since, with many mods and upgrades along the way.

Robinson said the Seabee always been underpowered with the original Franklin engine rated at 215hp, so he now offers conversions based on new car V8s from General Motors. One of these is the 505hp LS-7 engine from a Corvette sports car!



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