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HARS displays Orion 753 that searched for MH-370

written by Adam Thorn | September 4, 2020

HARS Aviation Museum in NSW will conduct engine runs on three of its maritime patrol aircraft next weekend, including a restored RAAF Orion “753” that searched the Indian Ocean for the missing MH-370.

The NSW attraction will also showcase its Neptune 273 and 566 on 11–13 September as part of its monthly Tarmac Days tour, which takes place over three consecutive days starting on the second Friday of each month.

HARS became the world’s first museum in the world to fly the AP-3C Orion after volunteer engineers and pilots spend two years restoring it.

After being retired from RAAF service in December 2016, the Orion “753” was placed in storage at Shellharbour Airport at Albion Park Rail until it was formally handed over to HARS by Air Force Chief Air Marshal Leo Davies in November 2017. In its RAAF service, the aircraft completed 16,500 flight hours.

HARS president Bob De La Hunty added that the museum’s Neptune P2V-7 “273” is the only one of its type in the world still flying.

It joined the museum 32 years ago and remains in RAAF livery, celebrating its service with No 10 Squadron in Townsville from 1962 to 1977.

Meanwhile, the 566 served with the French Marine (Navy) and operated in the Pacific during atomic bomb tests in the 1980s before it was acquired by HARS in 1989 and flown to Australia.


“These three aircraft are a living tribute to all who flew and maintained these types in their years of long-range maritime reconnaissance service,” De La Hunty said.

Visitors to Tarmac Days can also view the almost 50 aircraft on display at the museum located at Shellharbour Airport just off the Princes Highway.

Comments (4)

  • Lee


    What a waste of fuel that search was!

  • Craigy


    I’m pretty sure this aircraft did a flying display at the RAAF airshow at Edinburgh last year along with Neppy 273. It’s good to see HARS keeping aircraft like this in airworthy states.

  • Vannus


    The ‘Orion’ design was built by Lockheed, modelled on the commercial L188 ‘Electra’.
    My first flight on one was to Port Moresby, with TAA, back in the day.
    I loved flying on the ‘Leckies’ from then on.
    Their inter capital city flight duration times’ were the same as the jets’.
    They had the powerful Allison prop-jets as their horsepower.
    Loved ‘em!

  • Neil


    Love to see this Aircraft at a flying display at the next Airshow at Avalon 2021.Nothing like watching the P3 Orion display!

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