PLANE TALKING: An F-111, like this one, will be taken apart and trucked in pieces to Evans Head next week to be the star attraction at a new museum at the airstrip. STORY PAGE 4
PLANE TALKING: An F-111, like this one, will be taken apart and trucked in pieces to Evans Head next week to be the star attraction at a new museum at the airstrip. STORY PAGE 4 SGT Murray Staff

Evans Head's F-111 due to arrive at aerodrome on Monday

TWO trucks under police escort will make their way through the night to deliver an F-111 bomber to the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome on Monday.

The decommissioned plane will be re-assembled over five days to take pride of place in the restored Bellman Hangar, sitting alongside a Second World War Tiger Moth, a Korean War MiG15, a Mallard flying boat and an original Drifter.

President of the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome Heritage Aviation Association Rod Kinnish said it would be "a fantastic drawcard" for the museum, which will have its grand opening on Sunday, August 25.

"It was the iconic aircraft of its time, involved in the frontline defence of Australia for 30 years," Mr Kinnish said.

He said Second World War veterans were coming from all over Australia and New Zealand for the opening and museum volunteers were more excited about its arrival than millions of royal baby watchers were in the lead-up to Prince George's arrival.

The F-111 is one of six dispatched for long-term loan from the Royal Australian Air Force, with Mr Kinnish saying the whole competitive tendering process has taken about two years.

The F-111s have been superseded by F-18s.

"Everything moves on," Mr Kinnish said. "Every aircraft eventually reaches its airframe hours and wears out and has to be taken out of service."

The Bellman Hangar at Evans Head is the last of 17 that were built there during the Second World War when the aerodrome was the site of the largest air training facility in the Southern Hemisphere. The hangar has just had a major restoration in anticipation of the arrival of the F-111 and the opening of the museum.

"This will be a fantastic tour- ism experience for the Northern Rivers and also for the local community," Mr Kinnish said.

Richmond Valley Council has put up half the money for the restoration of the hangar and general manager John Walker says he thinks it will be "the biggest tour- ist attraction in the Richmond Valley area".



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