HARS Aviation Museum
HARS Aviation Museum

Fokker FVIIB “Southern Cross” Replica

Photo courtesy of Martin Edwards
Photo courtesy of Martin Edwards

Three engine commercial passenger aircraft

History of the Southern Cross Replica (VH-USU)

Southern Cross is a flying close replica of the famous record breaking Southern Cross Fokker FVIIB of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith from the 1920s and 1930s.

Built as a tribute to Smithy in South Australia by a team led by John Pope OAM in the period 1980 to 1987.  The aircraft toured Australia during the 1988 Bicentenary raising money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

She is a faithful replica built to modern standards using the traditional aircraft construction of steel tubing and timber with heat-shrunk and doped polyester (Irish Linen on the original) for the fuselage and an all wooden (spruce and plywood) wing.  She is the largest “close replica” aircraft in the world and has the largest one piece wing ever made here in Australia.

On the 25th May 2002 at Parafield South Australia she lost a main wheel strut on takeoff.  Landing on the one good wheel and the tail, the pilot kept the damaged undercarriage off the ground by keeping its wing high in the air.  When the aircraft stopped the high wing came down and broke ~3m of the wing tip.

After considerable negotiation HARS acquired the aircraft from the SA Government in 2010 and a dedicated team of engineers has successfully returned it (after much rebuilding) to full airworthy status.

A video of the proving flight on 5th December 2023 can be viewed here.

Our Southern Cross has only flown some ~555 hrs.

Technical Specifications

Engines: 3 x Jacobs R-755 A2, 7 cylinder air-cooled radial, 12.4 L, ~300 bhp each

Maximum takeoff weight: 5,700 kg

Length: 14.3 m

Wing span: 22.1 m

Height: 4.3 m

Cruising speed: ~155 km/h (max ~185 km/h)

Ceiling: 8,500 ft

Range: 7.5 hr endurance

Crew: 2 x pilots