Wings Over Illawarra 2017: Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Showcase

The Saturday flying displays on May 6th, 2017 provided plenty of action during Wings Over Illawarra 2017 at Illawarra Regional Airport in NSW and the former RAAF de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (No. 38 Squadron – A4-210) Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) transport and Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune (No. 10 Sqn – A89-273) maritime patrol aircraft of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) were a big part of the opening to the show. Given the airport is the home of HARS there was also plenty to see in and around their museum hangars.

Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (No. 38 Squadron - A4-210) warming up to take the Army Red Berets parachute team up to open Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou (No. 38 Squadron – A4-210) warming up to take the Army Red Berets parachute team up to open Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Warming the engines of the HARS P2V-7 Neptune Wings Over Illlawara 2017
Warming the engines of the HARS P2V-7 Neptune
Warming the engines of the HARS P2V-7 Neptune Wings Over Illlawara 2017
The Neptune is ready to go
The Australian Army Red Berets open Wings Over Illawarra 2017 leaping from the Caribou
The Australian Army Red Berets open Wings Over Illawarra 2017 leaping from the Caribou
Australian Army Red Berets Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Australian Army Red Berets
HARS Museum during Wings Over Illawara 2017 at Illawarra Regional Airport, NSW
HARS Museum during Wings Over Illawarra 2017 at Illawarra Regional Airport, NSW

DHC-4 Caribou

The DHC-4 Caribou was a legendary aircraft with its incredible Short Take-Off and Landing (STOL) capability that served the RAAF admirably for 45 years from 1964 to 2009 with No. 35 and 38 Squadrons, including almost 8 years of valuable service during the Vietnam War where they had the call sign “Wallaby” and were known as “Wallaby Airlines” carrying cargo and over 600,000 passengers! Of the 29 operated by the RAAF, 14 were still in use in 1992. 3 were lost in Vietnam, 2 to accidents in 1964 and 1967, and 1 to enemy mortar fire in 1970. A further 3 were lost in accidents in Papua New Guinea in 1965, 1968 and 1972, with another aircraft damaged in a heavy landing there in 2008 and believed scrapped. HARS have two examples A4-210 (flying) and A4-234 with the intention to fly both as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Flight.

HARS Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou
HARS Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou
HARS Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou Wings Over Illawarra 2017
“Wallaby Airlines”
Vietnam Veterans Memorial Flight DHC-4
After 45 years of RAAF service, the HARS Caribou is today part of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Flight
HARS Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou Wings Over Illawarra 2017
The long wing design provides excellent short field lift
HARS Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Touchdown
HARS Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou Wings Over Illawarra 2017
The Caribou has a legendary Short Take-Off & Landing (STOL) capability
HARS DHC-4 Caribou A4-234
HARS DHC-4 Caribou A4-234

P2V-7 Neptune

The RAAF had a long and successful career operating the Lockheed Neptune. 12 P2V-5’s (later redesignated P-2E) were operated by No. 11 Squadron from 1951 to 1968 until replaced by the Lockheed P-3B Orion (1 P2V-5 was lost with all its crew in a tragic fire and resulting crash in 1959 near Richmond, NSW). 12 P2V-7’s (later redesignated SP-2H) were operated by No. 10 Squadron from 1962 to 1977 until replaced by the Lockheed P-3C Orion. The designers at Lockheed had a great run and the Neptune is a beautiful looking aircraft!

A beautiful machine - Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
A beautiful machine – Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
The Neptune is a joy to watch fly
Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune port and starboard profiles
Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune at Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Landing with that great backdrop!

It was exciting to not only see a big Neptune fly during the show but to also see the restoration of two more at HARS including a former French Navy P2V-7 example recovered from Tahiti (147556 operated from 1959 by French Marine Escadrille 12, it was flown to Tahiti in 1983 for storage at Papeete International Airport. It was acquired by HARS, restored to flightworthy status and flown to Australia in 1989) and another former RAAF P2V-7 (A89-281, they also have another static example, A89-272 that is going to be on display in Parkes, NSW). The French Neptune has not been flown since 2003 but HARS are working on restoring it back to flight in the near future.

HARS French Navy P2V-7 recovered from Tahiti in 1989 (147556)
HARS French Navy P2V-7 recovered from Tahiti in 1989 (147556)
HARS P2V-7 Neptune A89-281 Wings Over Illawarra 2017
HARS P2V-7 Neptune A89-281

HARS Museum

To be honest I wish I had spent more time at HARS as I didn’t really get to look in the second hangar and missed seeing aircraft in the back of it! Unfortunately the grand old airline dame of the HARS collection, the Lockheed C-121C Super ConstellationConnie” was not present as part of the show display (that I saw at least and it would have been hard to miss this big bird!).

HARS CAC CA-27 Sabre A94-901 No 76 Squadron Black Panthers Wings Over Illawarra 2017
HARS CAC CA-27 Sabre A94-901 – the first production Sabre – It is displayed in No. 76 Squadron RAAF Black Panthers Aerobatic Team livery from 1961 to 1965
HARS CAC CA-27 Sabre A94-901
HARS CAC CA-27 Sabre A94-901 post show in a twilight glow
HARS Dassault (GAMD) Mirage IIIO (A3-42) in No. 77 Squadron markings
HARS Dassault (GAMD) Mirage IIIO (A3-42) in No. 77 Squadron markings
HARS C-54 Piaggio P-166 Hunter Canberra
HARS Douglas DC4 (C-54 Skymaster) & Ansett Piaggio P-166 Portofino, RAF Hawker Hunter FR-74S multi-role fighter and RAAF English Electric Canberra T.4 bomber trainer (ex RAF WT492, transferred to the RAAF in mid-1956 as A84-502)
Douglas DC-3 / C-47 HARS Museum - Wings Over Illawarra 2017
Douglas DC-3 / C-47 HARS Museum – Wings Over Illawarra 2017
HARS de Havilland DH-155 Vampire T.35 trainers in RAAF Telstars Aerobatic Team livery (1966/67)
HARS de Havilland DH-115 Vampire T.35 trainers in RAAF Telstars Aerobatic Team livery (1966/67)
HARS CAC Wirraway trainer restoration project
HARS CAC Wirraway trainer restoration project
HARS Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-28 Ceres agricultural aircraft - a 1950's/60's development from CAC Wirraway airframes
HARS Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-28 Ceres agricultural aircraft – a 1950’s/60’s development from CAC Wirraway airframes
Messerschmitt Bf 108 under rebuild at HARS
Messerschmitt Bf 108 under rebuild at HARS – actually a French-built NORD 1002 Pingouin II, it was operated by the French Navy until 1960 and later bought and shipped to Canada by Luftwaffe Fighter Ace Franz Stigler (28 Victories) – he owned it for 16 years and had it painted in his Bf 109 JG27 livery and markings from World War Two. Stigler was famous for not shooting down a badly damaged USAAF B-17 bomber “Ye Olde Pub” in 1943. He guided it back to the sea and towards the safety of England instead!
HARS Fokker FVIIB “Southern Cross” replica restoration
HARS Fokker FVIIB “Southern Cross” replica restoration
HARS RAAF Boeing 707 and Qantas Boeing 747-438 (VH-OJA)
HARS RAAF Boeing 707 and Qantas Boeing 747-438 (VH-OJA) “City of Canberra”
HARS De Havilland DHA-3 Drover and a T-6 Texan/Harvard in Luftwaffe markings
HARS De Havilland DHA-3 Drover and a T-6 Texan/Harvard in Luftwaffe markings
HARS TAA Convair VC-131D
HARS TAA Convair VC-131D “John Forrest” & General Dynamics F-111C (A8-109)
HARS Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina under maintenance
HARS Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina under maintenance
A new HARS acquisition - a recently retired RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft
A new HARS acquisition – a recently retired RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft

I look forward to the day somewhere down the track where we will be able to  see at least one Neptune flying alongside the HARS Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina amphibian and their newly acquired (and recently retired) RAAF Lockheed AP-3C Orion. RAAF maritime patrol history will come to life in a spectacular way when that happens!

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8 thoughts on “Wings Over Illawarra 2017: Historical Aircraft Restoration Society Showcase

  1. […] The Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) former RAAF Lockheed P2V-7 Neptune (A89-273) maritime patrol aircraft was a big part of the opening to the show. No. 10 Squadron operated 12 P2V-7’s, later redesignated SP-2H from 1962 to 1977 until replaced by the Lockheed P-3C Orion. The Neptune is such a beautiful looking aircraft (more photos can be seen in my previous post)! […]

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