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Video: Charles Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross taxis again

written by Adam Thorn | January 4, 2022
The restored Southern Cross undergoes a run of one of its three piston motors under the careful eyes of volunteers at HARS Aviation Museum. (Howard Mitchell)

A rebuilt replica of Charles Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross II aircraft that completed the first flight from America to Australia has made its first powered taxi run at HARS Aviation Museum.

The aircraft was originally created in the 1980s but suffered a broken wing in an emergency landing in SA in May 2002. Its restoration team, led by project manager Jim Thurston, hopes it will take to the air later in 2022.

HARS president Bob De La Hunty said, “It now looks amazing, a work of art as much as a full-size replica with its 22-metre wingspan.”

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You can watch a special video, courtesy of the museum, below. 

Southern Cross II is a flying close replica of the famous record-breaking Southern Cross Fokker F.Viib-3m of Sir Charles Kingsford Smith from the 1920s and 1930s.

Built in South Australia in the period 1980 to 1987, the aircraft toured Australia during the 1988 bicentenary.

The Southern Cross is a faithful replica built to modern standards using the traditional aircraft construction of steel tubing and timber with doped Irish linen for the fuselage and an all-wooden (spruce and plywood) wing.

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It’s thought to be the largest “exact replica” aircraft in the world and has the biggest one-piece wing ever made in Australia.

On 25 May 2002 at Parafield, SA, the original replica lost a main wheel on take-off.  Landing on the one good wheel and the tail, the pilot kept the damaged wheel off the ground by keeping its wing high in the air.

When the aircraft stopped, the high wing came down and snapped off around 3 metres of the wing.

HARS acquired the aircraft from the SA government in 2010 and it’s being restored to full airworthy status.

Registered with Charles Kingsford Smith’s original VH-USU, the Southern Cross II has flown only 555 hours.

2 Comments

  • Bob Livingstone

    says:

    Fantastic to see and an amazing job by Bob & HARS. I flew in the aircraft in 1988 and look forward to seeing it fly again after 20 years grounded.

  • Malcolm Smith

    says:

    I attended the recent HARS airshow at Albion Park in December 2021. It was a first class show, I have attended many airshows around the world including the famous Oshkosh airshow in the USA.
    I would say the airshow at Albion Park on the Sunday when I attended was equal in display as and organisation as what I experienced at Oshkosh in 2019. You should be very proud of your organisation. I donated to your HARS organisation for the Catalina which you restored. My late father , Malcolm Smith was a Catalina pilot WW11, his PBY2B2 rests on Lord Howe Island where he crashed 1n 1948 at 17.70 local time due to a massive fuel leak when he suffered multiple engine failures and attempted a landing in the lagoon at night.

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