Historic RAAF aircraft to call Shellharbour home

The Historic Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) will add to its impressive collection when it becomes new custodian of an operational Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion aircraft.

Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies AO CSC, will officially hand over the aircraft after the Australian Department of Defence recommended the United States State Department release one of the RAAF AP-3C Lockheed Orion surveillance aircraft for historic flying operations.

The HARS AP-3C Orion has participated in overseas operations including the search for lost MH370. The full history of the aircraft and its history will be displayed at the HARS facility.

A ceremony to mark the formal handover will take place at the HARS facility, Illawarra Regional Airport, at 11am Friday 3 November.

Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba said she was honoured to have yet another piece of RAAF history added to HARS.

“This historic event recognises the role HARS has played in saving our aviation heritage, in particular RAAF aircraft that have served Australia since WWII,” Cr Saliba said.

HARS President and Chief Pilot Bob de la Hunty OAM said the facility had more than 20 former RAAF aircraft in its collection, many of which have been restored to flying. The Orion had been approved to also fly that aircraft in support of RAAF history, Mr De La Hunty said.

“The Orion replaced the Lockheed Neptune aircraft that served with the RAAF from the late 40’s up to 1977. The new P-8A Poseidon aircraft is now progressively replacing the Orion aircraft in RAAF service which is expected to take place over the next few years,” he said.

HARS not only operates and has several former RAAF Neptune aircraft (serial number 273 flying, and on public display 281 and now at our Parkes museum satellite 272). It also operates a Catalina flying boat which the Neptune replaced following WWII operations.

Media opportunities at the ceremony:
  • Shellharbour Mayor Marianne Saliba
  • Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies AO CSC
  • HARS President Bob De La Hunty

Media enquiries: Kelli Wells 0448 361 008.