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‘We’re all aviation tragics here’

Thrilled: Sydney’s Ezekiel Curnow, 8, is an aviation buff. He made the trip with his grandparents. Picture: SYLVIA LIBERQantas jumbo lands at Illawarra Regional Airport: photos, videoAviation history: old girl’s final flightAmazing reader pics of the Qantas landingThere were toys for the boys – both big and small at the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society.

“It’s plane day,” Ezekiel Curnow shouted in joy when he opened his eyes first thing on Sunday morning.

Not even an early morning start could deter the enthusiasm of the eight-year-old, who has autism.

Historic: Geoff and Clare Loudon from Christchurch met up with fellow enthusiast Martin O’Dea. Picture: SYLVIA LIBER

“Planes, or any type of aircraft, is what motivates him,” said mum Rachel Curnow, of Sydney.

His grandfather Bob Besley said the HARS hanger was “the biggest men’s shed anyone had ever seen”.

“We’re all aviation tragics here really,” said Mr Besley, a retired geologist and HARS member. “Old planes have such an amazing history. This is a very exciting day for us. A beautiful bird, with its lovely red tail, has come here on its final flight.”

Geoff and Clare Loudon travelled from Christchurch to witness the jumbo jet ending its career with its shortest flight ever from Sydney to Albion Park.

“This is a huge event,” Mr Loudon said. “We’re aircraft buffs. Our DC-3 plane is here, it’s part of the museum collection. We’re also members and sponsors. I think the 747 will be a great attraction for the museum which has in the past struggled financially. It will bring a lot more people to the air shows. I’m sure it will be a turning point for the society.”

Graeme Boyd flew in from Brisbane for the event.

“I’ve been a member of HARS since 1995,” he said. “I’m a geologist but have always been a very frustrated pilot. You know Qantas don’t give away their jumbos easily. The 747 is a magnificent piece of technology which you will probably be able to see from the road. This is a significant arrangement for HARS and one which will save the aircraft from ending up as a piece of twisted metal. She’s done her job and now this proud bird has a beautiful resting place.

Martin O’Dea, of Sydney, said it was amazing to be so close to the 747 as it landed.

“This is a very special event in Australia’s aviation history,” he said.

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