30th anniversary of HARS Jumbo's record breaking flight

Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of a record flight made by the Jumbo jet that had people lining the streets when it was retired to Illawarra Regional Airport in 1995.

The aircraft, registered as VH-OJA, made Australian aviation and Qantas history in 1989 for the longest non-stop commercial flight from London to Sydney in a time of 20 hours, 9 minutes and 5 seconds, a record that still stands.

Two-and-a-half decades later its final flight was its shortest when it took just 15 minutes to fly from Mascot to Albion Park Rail for its retirement at HARS.

Among the aircraft enthusiast who will be on hand at HARS on Saturday to mark three decades since VH-OJA made its historic flight on August 17, 1989 will be Steve Heesh who has written a book about it.

Longreach 747 VH-OJA .. The Long And The Short Of It is available for sale at HARS and shares the history of the Boeing 747, the story behind VH-OJA, details about the record breaking London to Sydney flight and the story about the retirement of the famous aircraft to HARS.

Recounting history: HARS enthusiast Steve Heesh inside the cockpit of the Being 747 they made the historic non stop flight from London to Sydney 30 years ago.

Recounting history: HARS enthusiast Steve Heesh inside the cockpit of the Being 747 they made the historic non stop flight from London to Sydney 30 years ago.

"My book talks about the delivery flight from London to Sydney 30 years ago. And also the shortest flight from Sydney to Wollongong," Mr Heesh said.

"For the long flight they got extra heavy duty fuel to give them more range and they had 23 passengers on board. They fueled it the night before the flight.

"Then overnight the fuel contracted so they were able to top it up and drag it to the edge of the runway before they started the engines.

"They were given special clearance and actually took off from Hethrow on the arrivals runway so as to not have to brun fuel waiting in the queue.

"Then they were given clearances pretty mush all the way through Europe, the Middle East, India and Australia".

Mr Heesh wrote about how they thought they were not going to make it when they struck head winds stronger than expected.

But when they crossed the Australian coastline they hit tail winds better than expected. They ended up landing in Sydney with the bare minimum of fuel and in doing so made history".

Mr Heesh was an assistant company secretary for Qantas and loves aviation and its history.

With November 16, 2020 the 100th anniversary of Qantas he would love to see the HARS Connie, the soon to arrive Travolta 707 and a 747 do a fly-over of Sydney Harbour.

Aviation author and historian: Steve Heesh has written a book about the record breaking Boeing 747 at HARS. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Aviation author and historian: Steve Heesh has written a book about the record breaking Boeing 747 at HARS. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Read more:

This story 30th anniversary of HARS Jumbo's record breaking flight first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.