The Historical Aviation Restoration Society’s latest acquisition, a Trans-Australia Airlines-painted Convair CV-440, has arrived at its new home.
The aircraft, ZS-ARV, landed at HARS’s Illawarra Regional Airport/Albion Park home base on August 21 after ferrying in from Wonderboom, South Africa via Beira in Mozambique, the Seychelles, Mattala in Sri Lanka, Johor Bahru in Malaysia and Denpasar in Indonesia before reaching Darwin. It then stopped in Mt Isa and Dubbo before touching down at Albion Park on Sunday.
The Convair was originally scheduled to be ferried to Australia in May or June, but was delayed as more testing was required and avgas fuel supplies needed to be firmed up at various transit points for the trip to Australia.
HARS decided to paint the aircraft in TAA colours even though the airline never operated the CV-440. Instead TAA operated five of the earlier CV-240, while Ansett operated three CV-340s and six CV-440s (and the RAAF two 440s for VIP transport). However, as HARS already has two aircraft painted in Ansett colours, it elected to be a bit different.
The Convair is now the second TAA-painted aircraft to call HARS home after the arrival of the historic DC-3 VH-AES Hawdon, the very first aircraft operated by TAA, on June 12.
A YouTube video from Super100MPH captured the Convair’s arrival:
Sixty years young
ZS-ARV was one of two of type, along with a Douglas DC-3 and DC-4, that were operated by South Africa’s Rovos Air on air safaris and ferrying passengers to Victoria Falls to connect with a luxury rail journey.
It had arrived in South Africa from Bolivia in 2001 and flew with Rovos Air until 2009 fitted with a luxury 24-seat interior. In June 2012 the big prop ferried to Wonderboom where it underwent major checks and was then put up for sale. The aircraft was acquired by HARS in 2015.
The new HARS machine first flew on November 18 1954. Built as a model 340-67 with c/n 228 it wore civil registration N8453H before being transferred to the US Air Force as a VC-131D with serial 54-2820 in early 1955.
After 37 years on strength with the USAF the Convair was sold off and briefly became N43895 before finding a new home in 1992 with Lineas Aéreas Canedo in Bolivia as CP-2237.
It is one of the few remaining CV-440s to still retain its radial engines, most others having been re-engined with T56 turboprops.
ZS‑ARV is HARS’s second Convair, as the Albion Park-based organisation continues restoring another ex US military Convair which is at the Pima County Air Museum at Tucson, Arizona.