The final stage in the restoration of an an important part of Australian aviation history could be completed within weeks.
The second of three reconditioned engines for the Southern Cross replica being rebuilt at HARS has arrived in Sydney and is being trucked to Shellharbour Airport. The third and final engine is soon expected to be shipped from Brisbane.
It will then be matter of connecting all the electrics and testing the full scale flying replica of Australia's most famous aircraft which will also require a CASA approval.
The Southern Cross II was originally built to share the story of aviation pioneer Sir Charles Kingsford Smith around the nation for the Bicentenary. It did that until it was forced into a controlled crash landing during take off in 2002 and never flew again. Its landing gear as well as a 2.5 metre section of its large single-piece wing were damaged.
After of years of sitting idle expressions of interest were called for the Fokker F.V11B-3M replica. HARS held off a Dutch bid and restoration began in 2011. Work stopped during COVID-19 but a team of volunteers led by James Thurstan are now busily getting the Southern Cross II ready for the CASA inspection.
"One engine is almost here now and the other engine hopefully shouldn't be too far away," Mr Thurstan said.
"We are back to working on the Southern Cross II three days a week now".
The original Southern Cross is permanently housed at Brisbane Airport. Its links to the Illawarra include Charles Kingsford Smith started his record breaking first commercial trans Tasman flight to New Zealand from Seven Mile Beach, Gerroa in January 1933. The journey to New Plymouth took 14 hours.
The reconstruction of the Southern Cross II is being made possible by Dick Smith, Air Services Australia, Historic Aircraft Engines.and a team of volunteers at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society.
It will then be based at HARS but visit communities around Australia to educate future generations about such an important piece of Australian history.
When the Southern Cross II does return to the skies it will be the only Fokker F.V11B-3M type aircraft flying in the world.
Dick Smith is among those who plan to be present for the initial flight along with some very special guests that may include a son of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, who lives in the US, and the son of Charles Ulm, who lives in Australia.
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