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FLEETWINGS SEA BIRD

A very unusual and expensive five-place airplane, the Sea Bird had many fascinating characteristics.A very unusual and expensive five-place airplane, the Sea Bird had many fascinating characteristics. These varied from small features, such as a retractable gear that retained its wheel pants, to major structural developments such as stainless steel sheet construction that was spot welded together. The purpose of using stainless steel was to better tolerate salt water and the excessive corrosion it causes. Powered by a Jacobs radial engine of 285 hp, the Sea Bird was somewhat tricky on the ground (though quite stable in the water). This model was never a common airplane, since only the prototype and five production examples were completed. Yet they aged fairly well, with two still airworthy and one more in the process of restoration. The prototype is still flying and can be identified by its short blunt nose, all flat multi-paneled windshield, and its wedge-shaped tip sponsons.

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