Former RAAF Lockheed Neptune Flying Again Downunder

HARS Neptune A89-273 in July, 2017. The aircraft has just emerged from an extended period of maintenance, and made her first flight in well over a year yesterday in Albion Park, New South Wales. (photo by Phil Buckley)
Aircorps Art Dec 2019

Probably overshadowed by yesterday’s revelations about the discovery of the sunken wreck of the U.S.S. Wasp,  comes news from Australia that the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) has successfully re-flown one of their four Lockheed P2V Neptunes at their main facility in Albion Park, New South Wales. The aircraft, former Royal Australian Air Force SP-2H (P2V-7) A89-273, had been down for overhaul for well over a year, so it is great to see her back in the air again – almost certainly the only currently active Neptune on the planet right now! While we don’t have any still images of yesterday’s flight, HARS did post the video of the event below on their Facebook page.

A89-273 is one of at least four Neptunes on the books with HARS. While two of these are likely always going to be static examples (SP-2H A89-272 & P2V-5/7 A89-302 at HARS satellite facility in Parkes), there is also a former French Navy example, P2V-7 Bu.147566, which the museum rescued from Tahiti in the mid 1980s. This Neptune has been under on-again, off-again resurrection for much of the past two decades at Albion Park, ‘566 should fly again before too long.

On another note, HARS is also gaining currency with their relatively recently arrived Lockheed SP-3C Orion at Albion Park. This aircraft, former RAAF A9-753, was formally delivered to HARS in November, 2017, and the museum team has been slowly building up to the point where they can fly the aircraft under the museum banner, which will make it the only museum in the world with an airworthy P-3! HARS expects both the recently re-flown Neptune and the Orion to fly at air shows this year!

Many thanks indeed to our long-time antipodean correspondent Phil Buckley for providing the photographs in this piece. He has been of immense help over the years!


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