Our aviation history heads south

A PIECE of Townsville aviation history is flying the coop for a major makeover before going on display in New South Wales.

A Lockheed SP-2H Neptune A89-272, which was in operation with 10 Squadron in the 1960s in a maritime patrol role and has been held at RAAF Base Townsville, has been dismantled after it was gifted to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) at Illawarra Regional Airport.

The wings and propellers of the plane have been removed and the fuselage has been disassembled.

The first piece of the Neptune left the city on a large truck bound for Brisbane this week on its journey towards restoration and display at a facility at Parkes in western NSW.

media_cameraHistorical Aircraft Restoration Society special projects manager Mike De La Hunty (correct) with part of the old Neptune at Townsville RAAF Base. Picture: Evan Morgan

HARS special projects manager Mike De La Hunty said his group began dismantling the aircraft last October during the T150 Air Show, where they flew a working Neptune, and had returned to retrieve the rest.

“There is always a lot of nostalgia with the Neptunes and there has been great interest in what we’re doing,” he said. “The air force doesn’t have the capacity to restore it and it’s just such a worthwhile display to put it back into good order.”

Mr De La Hunty said the plane would take about a year to put back together. The last remaining Neptune in North Queensland will now be the one on display at the front gate of RAAF Base Townsville.

Originally published as Our aviation history heads south

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