On 3 November at Illawarra Regional Airport, 50 miles south of Sydney, the commander of the Royal Australian Air Force, Air Marshal Leo Davies, officially handed former RAAF Lockheed P-3C Orion A9-753 over to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS). The aircraft will be maintained in flying condition, joining two airworthy examples of the Orion’s predecessor in RAAF service, Lockheed P2V-7 Neptunes A89-273/VH-IOY and 147566/VH-LRR. HARS also operates Consolidated PBY-6A Catalina BuNo 46679/ VH-PBZ, making HARS the only organisation in the world to fly three generations of maritime patrol aircraft.
It is, meanwhile, hoped that the HARS fleet of post-war airliners will soon gain a pair of Fokker F27s. Currently stored in New Zealand, the Friendships, ZK-PAX and ZK-POH, will initially be positioned to the HARS facility at Parkes airport about 250 miles north-west of Sydney. The HARS Convair CV-440, ZS-ARV, which suffered problems with its starboard engine on the way to the Avalon Airshow in Melbourne in late February 2017 and had to turn back for home, has now had a replacement Pratt & Whitney R-2800 Double Wasp installed. Crew training for the new season is now due to start soon. The aircraft, which arrived at Illawarra in August 2016 following a 13-day ferry flight from its former home at Wonderboom, South Africa, now wears the markings of Trans-Australia Airlines.