The third and final engine for the replica of Australia's most famous aircraft, Smithy's Southern Cross, was being installed at Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) on Thursday.
Project leader James Thurstan said the engine was being hung on a sling to help move it onto the wing during the afternoon.
However, he said the propellers won't be ready in time to display the aircraft on the airfield for Tarmac Days this weekend.
Mr Thurstan and a team of volunteers have been preparing to install the last of the three completely restored engines since its arrival from Brisbane last Thursday.
He said there was still considerable work to do before the replica of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith's history-making plane is flying again. But that is still likely to occur in early 2021.
"There is still a lot of electrical work to do on the aircraft yet," Mr Thurstan said.
"We are offering the engine up but it will be a while before we get the propellers on. It is still a work in progress."
Once the team at HARS is satisfied everything is where it should be and working, they will start a series of tests.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) will then do its own inspections and testing to determine if and when the Southern Cross II is airworthy.
Southern Cross II story so far:
- 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 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.
- 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 to complete.
- 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.
- Once the restoration is complete Southern Cross II will 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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