The mighty Orion to make its final journey
A HULKING former RAAF aircraft used for maritime surveillance, including detecting submarines, has been at Lismore airport for almost nine months, waiting to be moved to its final place in Evans Head, a complex project that is expected to begin today in South Australia.
INTERACTIVE: Click on the symbols below for information about the aircraft and a video from the cabin.
The P-3C Orion A9-752 military aircraft landed in Lismore last December as part of a grand plan to house the old submarine hunter at the Evans Head Heritage Aviation Museum.
The plane was too big to land at Evans, so it landed in Lismore, and six to eight volunteers have been working hard to have it demilitarised and dismantled, to be relocated in parts to the museum for re-assembly.
Rod Kinnish, president of the Evans Head Heritage Aviation Association, said the equipment required to take the Orion apart should arrive very shortly.
"The first load of supporting equipment is leaving RAAF Base Edinburgh (25km north of Adelaide) today, and after it picks up some more equipment at Avalon (in Victoria), the first load of machinery hopefully will be arriving early next week," he said.
"That first part of the equipment will allow us to get the tail apart, and then we can start removing propellers and other sections."
The third part of the equipment needed to pull the aircraft apart remains at RAAF Base Richmond, near Sydney.
If the schedule goes according to plan, and there are no delays, the group hopes to be able to start moving sections of the aircraft from Lismore to Evans in six weeks.
Museum manager Ken Duplock said a group of volunteers was working hard to remove all small equipment from the aircraft, before the dis-assembling work starts.
"We are doing as much as we can to remove all the small stuff, all the antennas, all the small pieces around the aircraft, because we are waiting for the equipment required to pull the major sections of the aircraft apart: wings off, tail off, nose off, and then transport them to Evans Head, where all then gets re-assembled," he said.
The team cannot work during rainy days and the equipment cannot be moved if the wind is too strong, so dates in this project are variable depending on conditions.
Visit the Evans Head Aviation Museum's website.