The Historic Aircraft Restoration Society, or HARS, is most famous for its Boeing 747-400 donated by Qantas in 2015. VH-OJA, named “City of Canberra”, was Qantas’ first Boeing 747-400 and the aircraft to complete a record-breaking non-stop flight from London to Sydney in 1989.
HARS, located at Illawara Regional Airport near Wollongong, is also home to around 60 other historic aircraft. These include a Super Constellation, Lockheed Neptunes, DC-3s and many others. The more than 700 volunteers at HARS work tirelessly to maintain and restore these aircraft, many of which still fly today.
The HARS museum will soon gain another famous aircraft to add to its collection. Two years ago, John Travolta donated his private Boeing 707 aircraft to HARS. The aircraft is currently in Brunswick, USA, but the HARS volunteers have invested a lot of time, effort and money into restoring the plane so it can be flown across the Pacific to Illawara Regional Airport. This aircraft was originally delivered to Qantas in 1964 and HARS holds a licence to keep the plane in Qantas colours.
In Episode 23 of AFF on AIR, the official Australian Frequent Flyer podcast, HARS President Bob de la Hunty joined me to talk about HARS and their plans to bring over John Travolta’s Boeing 707 from Georgia.
“We’ve been over running engines and checking it out, but when the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the aeroplane we’ll get it here”, de la Hunty said.
HARS has received help from sponsors towards this project, but this mammoth task couldn’t be done without the help of its volunteers.
“About 200 of our HARS individuals put in personal donations towards that project, so it’ll happen. We’ve got lots of people here who actually flew that very aircraft in service when they were with Qantas, so it’s very important for us to add this to the fleet and it’ll look pretty good sitting next to OJA, the 747,” explained de la Hunty.
The HARS museum is open daily to the public. Like the Qantas Museum in Longreach in outback Queensland, it’s a must-visit for aviation enthusiasts. The unique museum offers guided tours, including premium 747 tours which include a visit to the plane’s live cockpit and a wing walk.
You can listen to the full interview with HARS President Bob de la Hunty in Episode 23 of AFF on AIR.