HARS – the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society is an all volunteer group of Aviation Professionals and Enthusiasts who have premises at Wollongong Airport (YWOL), Albion Park just over an hour by road South of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Over the last year or so, another “branch” has been of increasing importance at the airport at Parkes, also in NSW. Whilst many here are active and retired aircraft engineers and pilots, recent years have seen more and more people contributing their diverse skills. All someone needs is dedication and a love of aircraft and history.
The aircraft engineering capability of our members can be demonstrated by remembering that during the 1990’s, they took a derelict Super Constellation from the Davis Montham aircraft graveyard and restored it from almost nothing to beautiful flying condition and flew it across the Pacific to its home here.
If there has been one defining event in the recent history of HARS, it has been the arrival of our Boeing 747-438 aircraft, OJA, “The City of Canberra”. This aircraft means so much to many of our members who maintained and operated it during its life in Qantas. We have also seen our collection of both airworthy and static aircraft increase at a seemingly amazing pace. Every year there is something new to see, and HARS is truly a solid destination on the World map of aviation “places to see”.
Whilst our collection centres around a parade of airliners from the “Southern Cross II” (a faithful replica Fokker F.VIIb/3m trimotor) through our three flying C-47 / DC-3 aircraft (one of which is the “Hawdon”, TAA’s first aircraft), DC-4, Convair 440, Super Constellation and Boeing 747-438, we also have a number of other historic aircraft types. There is the Catalina, our two Caribou, three P-2 Neptunes (two flyable), CA-27 Australian Sabre, Canberra, two Vampires, Mirage III and an F-111C, amongst others. We have many examples of people who have “popped in for a look” and have spent far longer in absorbed fascination than they had anticipated.
In addition to our pride in maintaining our aeroplanes, HARS has a valuable social function for members and their spouses, allowing pilots and engineers to continue their love affair with aeroplanes and to interact with their compatriots long after they have moved on from active involvement with heavy aircraft.