HARS planes get some tarmac time

With the volunteers of the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) having recovered from the excitement of the recent Wings Over Illawarra air show, it’s time to open up their museum and collection to curious visitors.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday (July 13-15 ), at the Illawarra Regional Airport at Albion Park,  HARS is holding one of its regular “tarmac days”, where planes are given a spin in what is known as an “engine run”.

This weekend, four aircraft with a collective aviation service totalling 239 years will take centre stage.

They are a de Havilland Drover built in 1948, a legendry DC-3 (1942), a Lockheed Super Constellation (1955) and a former RAAF Orion (1978).

Each of the aircraft is expected to do engine runs during the three days.

While the HARS Aviation Museum is open daily for visitors, and groups, the monthly “Tarmac Days” allow volunteers from the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society to put the spotlight on selected aircraft unique to Australian aviation history.

The gleaming polished metal DC-3, named Hawdon in honour of Australian settler and mail pioneer Joseph Hawdon, was built as a military C-47 for the US Army Air Force during World War II serving in Australia, the Pacific and Asia.

Then, after conversion to a civil DC-3, in 1946 it flew the first scheduled flight for the then new airline Trans-Australia Airlines (TAA) – taking three hours and five minutes to travel from Melbourne to Sydney on a route which takes today’s jets one-third of that time.

With its four radial engines the Connie is now the world’s only flying example of the type which pioneered Qantas around-the-world services during the mid-1950s.

The Connie is open for inspection to see how crews operated the services to England and America.

The Convair 440 came to HARS Aviation Museum after being used to fly VIPs to Rovos Rail excursions in South Africa and features a magnificent cabin with leather seating, plush carpet and polished mahogany timber.

One of the most recent arrivals at HARS Aviation Museum, is an AP-3C Orion four turbo-prop engine surveillance aircraft which flew more than 16,000 hours until it was handed over last year from active duty with the RAAF.

For details of HARS Aviation Museum tours click here.