Dick Smith donates proceeds of Citation sale

A supplied image of the Cessna Citation CJ3 VH-MIF that belonged to Dick Smith. (Dick and Pip Smith Foundation)
A supplied image of the Cessna Citation CJ3 VH-MIF that belonged to Dick Smith. (Dick and Pip Smith Foundation)

Airservices, aviation groups and even the Scouts look set to benefit from the sale of Dick Smith’s beloved Cessna Citation CJ3 to US-based buyers.

The businessman, aviation veteran and former Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) chairman has donated the proceeds of the aircraft sale which was first announced in July.

The largest cheques have gone to the Rotary Australia Benevolent Society, which received a $1 million donation, while another $1 million will be used to set up and fund the Wilberforce Award to recognise a young person under the age of 30 “who has the ability to show leadership in communicating an alternative to our population and consumption growth-obsessed economy”.

There were also six-figure donations to Scouts Australia, Wild Care Tasmania and the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, among other community groups.

Among aviation groups, Smith said he was giving $160,000 to Airservices for the setting up of weather cams in Australia to improve aviation safety.

Smith said he hoped Airservices would “copy the Nav Canada system and provide the weather cams at their existing ground installations around Australia” and at known risk locations such as Mt Victoria and Kilmore Gap.

“If Nav Canada can provide this important safety system right across the country, surely we can in Australia!,” Smith said in a statement on Thursday.

A supplied image of Dick Smith in his Cessna Citation CJ3 VH-MIF. (Dick and Pip Smith Foundation)
A supplied image of Dick Smith in his Cessna Citation CJ3 VH-MIF. (Dick and Pip Smith Foundation)

The Historical Aviation Restoration Society (HARS) is getting $125,000 to complete the restoration of the Southern Cross replica aircraft, while the Royal Flying Doctor Service has been given $100,000 to improve the safety of night operations at remote aerodromes.

Smith has also pledged $20,000 to the State Library of NSW Foundation to assist with aviation related projects such as the “possible digitisation and rehousing of the Sir Hudson Fysh pictorial collection”.

In July, Smith said he decided to sell the aircraft due to the high costs of maintaining the Citation CJ3 in Australia, as well local regulatory requirements including the installation of ADS-B technology.

He said the decision to part with the aircraft was “incredibly sad”.

“Our general aviation industry has been damaged by a bureaucracy and a political system that doesn’t understand that for an industry to remain viable, regulatory costs must always be affordable,” Smith said.

Smith said the total value of donations so far was $4,170,412.

Comments

  1. says

    A true Philanthropist in every sense of the word. He makes sense and knows what Australia needs in many fields and has for as long as I can remember tried to keep jobs here, and Australian Owned.

    These donations will go a long way and assist a huge amount of people, either directly or indirectly.
    May you be well and live long Dickson Smith, you are a true gentleman.

    Regards,
    Boris from Chelsea, 3196

  2. Martin says

    It seems like a good gesture of Dick Smith to gift $160,000 to Airservices for setting up of weather cams in Australia to improve aviation safety, but unfortunately, I can’t see that funding stretching very far whether this is managed by a public or private sector organisation. It may have been better if Dick had gone back to his electronic roots and determined how such a system could be set up as a purely private initiative.

  3. Giles says

    A great contribution to society from a person that really cares about Australia.

    Your generosity inspires me to donate, and lend more support to good AU organisations.

  4. Russell says

    Dick Smith is an inspiration to every Australian.
    Imagine how great this country would be if all politicians were like him.

  5. David Eyre says

    As a long time aviator and Ra_Aus member I offer my thanks to you Dick, for your donation. Your other donations to the aviation community are known and appreciated.
    David

  6. Ian Sugden says

    A controversial man in a controversial world (aviation). Not all like him, some worship him. What cannot be denied by either camp is his patriotism and recognition that Australia is a truely great nation with incredible potential. He has demonstratd that he is prepared to put his money where his mouth is. Good on you Dick and may you live a long, happy and healthy life. Keep up the good work.
    Lets not forget the old saying “that begind every great man is a great woman”. Thank you too Pip for your support to Dick which is evident to everyone that thinks about it.
    I.S.