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Video: Watch Charles Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross airborne in 1990

written by Adam Thorn | January 7, 2022
Australian Aviation reader Mike Millett shares this footage of Southern Cross, VH-USU, in March 1990.

Last month, a rebuilt replica of the first aircraft to fly from America to Australia made its first powered taxi run at HARS Aviation Museum.

Charles Kingsford Smith’s Southern Cross was originally recreated 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.

Here though, Australian Aviation reader Mike Millett shares this footage of the same Southern Cross, VH-USU, in March 1990, when the New Zealand Warbirds Association held the Warbirds 90 Air Spectacular at Ardmore Airfield in Auckland.

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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.

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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.

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

You can see the second iteration of the replica make its first powered taxi run at HARS Aviation Museum below.

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.”

4 Comments

  • Adam, my father was 6 years old when he flew with Kingsford Smith in the Southern Cross.

    It was the 8th March 1932. Dad and a young girl sat on two wicker passenger seats as Smithy took off from Ararat Racecourese and made two circuits of the town of Ararat. That flight ignited Dad’s passion to fly, and today, at 95 years young, after many year flying, he still owns a Piper Turbo Arrow.

    We are both in awe of the skill and dedication of the people at HARS who rebuilt this replica and hope to both be present at the happy occasion when the Southern Cross takes to the sky again.

  • Arlys Baker

    says:

    How utterly beautiful. And this is how it all started, and look at us today. Thankyou to the brilliant Engineers and Pilots at HARS, for your work, with them all.

  • Robert coopes

    says:

    Well done HARS.Great for Heritage Aviatio andour National history.Bob Coopes HH-AF

  • Peter Gardiner

    says:

    Kingsford Smith was a friend & employee of my grandparents at Australian National Airways. I was lucky enough to be one of the pilots who flew the replica around Australia & New Zealand & 30 years later I am still in awe of the achievements of Smithy & his crew with this aircraft.

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