HARS crews will make the flight to Temora from their base at the Illawarra Regional Airport for Warbirds Downunder with four of Australia’s largest warbirds, the Lockheed Super Constellation (aka Connie), the DHC Caribou, the Douglas C-47 and the PBY Catalina Flying Boat. All four aircraft will take part in the Warbirds Downunder Airshow and will also be available to view as static displays.
Connie is considered to be one of the most graceful aircraft ever produced and is an icon of Australia’s introduction to luxury air travel, reducing the flight to London along the famous “Kangaroo Route” to a mere four days. Constellations also saw extensive military service as troop transports with some equipped with powerful radar systems and utilised in an airborne early warning role. The HARS Connie will be taking part in the Friday evening program at Warbirds Downunder.
The Caribou was first delivered to the RAAF in April 1964 and after 45 years of proud Australian service; it was retired at the end of 2009. Operated by Number 38 Squadron, based in Townsville, the Caribou has supported ADF operations throughout the South West Pacific and in South East Asia. The Caribou saw active service in Vietnam until 1972. HARS flies their aircraft as a tribute to all RAAF service people who were involved with Caribous throughout the years and, in particular, the Vietnam Veterans who operated or were carried in theatre during the Vietnam War. On 20 & 21 November spectators will be able have a close encounter with the Caribou at Warbirds Downunder as it will be open for visitors to walk through.
The PBY Catalina was the most successful flying boat produced with a production run spanning 10 years and 3300 aircraft. Designed as a Patrol Bomber, it could be configured with torpedoes, bombs, depth charges, and .50 calibre machine guns. The HARS Catalina is painted in the famous “Black Cat” livery which was used to search for Japanese ships at night. Catalinas were instrumental in rescuing downed aircrew or Navy personnel in distress by utilising their floating hulls to land in the open water.
HARS President Bob De La Hunty, OAM said “We have always admired and support everything the Temora Aviation Museum has embarked on and are delighted to be able to be involved with this magnificent event. Warbirds Downunder 2015 will be possibly one of the finest lineups of warbird aircraft assembled in Australia, to be able to get Connie, the Catalina, DC-3, and the Caribou aircraft out of the Illawarra for thousands of spectators to see reminds us why we do what we do.”