Fleetwings Sea Bird

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

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

Design and production[edit]

The Sea Bird was an amphibious utility aircraft designed in 1934-5 by James C. Reddig for Fleetwings, Inc., of Bristol, PA. 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 1929-1933), 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 history[edit]

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.


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


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-cyliner air-cooler radial engine, 285 hp (213 kW)


  • Maximum speed: 150 mph (241 km/h; 130 kn) at sea level
  • Cruise speed: 133 mph (214 km/h; 116 kn)
  • Range: 400 mi (348 nmi; 644 km)
  • Service ceiling: 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
  • Rate of climb: 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)


  1. ^ Aviation April 1937, pp. 70–71.

External links[edit]