It will only be a matter of days or weeks before a Lockheed SP-2H Neptune A89-272 will be aboard a truck, departing Townsville and heading for its new home in Parkes.
Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) members from the Parkes Aviation Museum – Mike De La Hunty, Dave Wilcockson and Parkes Aero Club president Erik Lensson – are currently in the north-eastern Queensland city helping to prepare the aircraft for transport.
With some help from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the barrels (engine mounts) were removed on Friday.
A crane arrived on Monday to split the fuselage and main spar ready for loading.
In February last year, RAAF announced HARS at Parkes Airport as one of three successful recipients for a retired Air Force heritage aircraft that were being gifted to Australian historical organisations.
The three aircraft were on display at various RAAF Bases across Australia for decades but, following a competitive evaluation, they were chosen to be restored by the successful organisations and placed on public display within their museums.
“It’s a balmy 28 degrees here in Townsville,” Mike said on Monday.
“We began dismantling the aircraft in October. We waited until the cyclone season (November to May) was over to come back to do the rest of it.”
Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Gavin Davies said in February 2016, the gifting of the aircraft strengthens the continuing collaboration between Air Force and the historical aviation community across Australia.
“Air Force is delighted to be able to gift these aircraft to public organisations that can help to preserve our aviation history and to help make our proud heritage available to all Australians,” Air Marshal Davies said at the time.
Lockheed SP-2H Neptune A89-272 served with 10 Squadron in the 1960s in a maritime patrol role, and was on display at the entrance to RAAF Base Townsville.
Neptune’s arrival date in Parkes hasn’t been confirmed as yet, as it will depend on RMS wide load permits.
You can stay up-to-date with all the action happening at the Parkes Aviation Museum on their Facebook page.