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Convair 440 arrives at HARS

written by WOFA | August 23, 2016

The Convair 440 at Illawarra Regional Airport, Albion Park. (Jaryd Stock)
The Convair 440 soon after its arrival at Albion Park. (Jaryd Stock)

The Historical Aviation Restoration Society’s latest acquisition, a Trans-Australia Airlines-painted Convair CV-440, has arrived at its new home.

The aircraft, ZS-ARV, landed at HARS’s Illawarra Regional Airport/Albion Park home base on August 21 after ferrying in from Wonderboom, South Africa via Beira in Mozambique, the Seychelles, Mattala in Sri Lanka, Johor Bahru in Malaysia and Denpasar in Indonesia before reaching Darwin. It then stopped in Mt Isa and Dubbo before touching down at Albion Park on Sunday.

The Convair was originally scheduled to be ferried to Australia in May or June, but was delayed as more testing was required and avgas fuel supplies needed to be firmed up at various transit points for the trip to Australia.

HARS decided to paint the aircraft in TAA colours even though the airline never operated the CV-440. Instead TAA operated five of the earlier CV-240, while Ansett operated three CV-340s and six CV-440s (and the RAAF two 440s for VIP transport). However, as HARS already has two aircraft painted in Ansett colours, it elected to be a bit different.

The Convair is now the second TAA-painted aircraft to call HARS home after the arrival of the historic DC-3 VH-AES Hawdon, the very first aircraft operated by TAA, on June 12.

A YouTube video from Super100MPH captured the Convair’s arrival:

Sixty years young

ZS-ARV was one of two of type, along with a Douglas DC-3 and DC-4, that were operated by South Africa’s Rovos Air on air safaris and ferrying passengers to Victoria Falls to connect with a luxury rail journey.

It had arrived in South Africa from Bolivia in 2001 and flew with Rovos Air until 2009 fitted with a luxury 24-seat interior. In June 2012 the big prop ferried to Wonderboom where it underwent major checks and was then put up for sale. The aircraft was acquired by HARS in 2015.

The new HARS machine first flew on November 18 1954. Built as a model 340-67 with c/n 228 it wore civil registration N8453H before being transferred to the US Air Force as a VC-131D with serial 54-2820 in early 1955. 

After 37 years on strength with the USAF the Convair was sold off and briefly became N43895 before finding a new home in 1992 with Lineas Aéreas Canedo in Bolivia as CP-2237. 

It is one of the few remaining CV-440s to still retain its radial engines, most others having been re-engined with T56 turboprops.

ZS‑ARV is HARS’s second Convair, as the Albion Park-based organisation continues restoring another ex US military Convair which is at the Pima County Air Museum at Tucson, Arizona.



  • Greg Hyde


    Congrats to all involved.

    A GOLD medal effort.

    Hopefully it will stay in the air for many years

  • Guy Potts


    On a caravanning holiday we called in to our friends at Figtree Wollongong. Looking forward to seeing this great museum for the first time I came to the museum on 20th Aug. After finding out the Convair was scheduled to arrive 21Aug I had to be there!! A great job well done. Its history is very interesting particularly the previous ownership by Lineas Aereas Canedo of Bolivia. Lineas currently has an immaculate C46 Curtiss Commando in full pax config. & an equally immaculate Douglas super Dc3. Both at the bargain price of only US$250.000 each I visited Bolivia in 2003. There were still quite a few piston aircraft freight hauling back then. I suspect not many are left as the roads have been improved a great deal.

  • Ian Deans


    Great to see a Convair in Aussie skies again. But there is something wrong with that TAA livery and it just doesn’t look right.. There is way too much white between the red and blue stripes and the way the stripes fair down around and below the cockpit windows.as a look at TAA CV240 photos will show. It’s a pity that HARS didn’t get it right.

  • Taurean Lea


    Welcome to Australia ZS-ARV!!! We so look forward to seeing you either in our skies or on display at HARS 😀

  • Firebox


    And what colour is yours??

  • Nini Brown


    Love how the first officer is sitting with his elbow hanging out the window.
    His swagger kinda reminds me of of my younger days hooning around in holden utes.
    Bet he feeling very proud of piloting this beauty to its new home.

  • Randal


    Excellent job HARS

  • Graeme Kirk


    Great will it he available for charter?

  • Douglas Haywood


    The First Officer felt VERY proud indeed to have helped make this part of Australian aviation history happen!

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