Link to Part 1 - MAY62 to AUG71
Link to Part 2 - OCT71 to SEP75
This is Part 3 - OCT75 onwards

Type: L-726 Neptune P2V-7/SP-2H
Msn: 726-7281
Previous Identities:

  • 149081
Subsequent Identities:
  • VH-NEP (NTU)
Owner: Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS)
Base: Albion Park, Wollongong, N.S.W.

02OCT75 Flew a marex.
06OCT75 SAR mission for a 23ft fibreglass boat "Sea Witch", reported overdue on a fishing trip to Trunk Reef. Prior to departing, the aircraft captain was informed that the boat had been located. The aircraft continued to confirm this, and remained in the area until a Coastguard vessel was alongside the "Sea Witch".
12OCT75 Flew to Richmond to take part in exercise 'Tame Fiona', returning on 16OCT.
26OCT75 To Darwin with spare parts for A89-270.
29OCT75 Flown by an RAF pilot on a surveillance exercise in the Swains Reef area.
07NOV75 Flew a fishex, recovering to Richmond and returning to Townsville on 10NOV.
20NOV75 To Amberley, returning the same day.
26NOV75 To Amberley, thence on a fishex, recovering to Townsville the same day.
28NOV75 Flew a fishex.
01DEC75 To Richmond, returning the following day.
22JAN76 Flew a fishex, recovering to Richmond. Flew on to Laverton the next day.
27JAN76 Laverton to Richmond, thence Townsville.
03FEB76 To Edinburgh via Richmond to pick up SQN members taking part in the Basic Maritime Warfare Course, returning on 06FEB.
22FEB76 To Learmonth on the first leg of a 'Gay Rover' exercise, returning on 03MAR.
17MAR76 Local sortie for P/R purposes, carrying members of TNQ CH7 as passengers.
24MAY76 With A89-278 took part in a formation sortie in the local training area with a visiting French Navy SP2H.
07JUN76 Flew 5 members of the squadron to Amberley to take part in the Combat Survival Course.
21JUN76 The crew of A89-281 flew to Amberley to complete an Avmed refresher course. A fisheries surveillance task was carried out between Townsville and Amberley. Aircraft returned direct to Townsville the following afternoon.
23JUL76 To East Sale, for a squadron member to be categorised as an instructor on SP2H aircraft. Returned to Townsville via Richmond on 27JUL.
09AUG76 Flew on a night navigational training exercise.
16AUG76 To Amberley to take part in exercise 'Pacesetter'. The aircraft was used in the AEW role for the duration of the exercise, along with A89-274.
09OCT76 With A89-280 and an 11 SQN P3B took part in a formation flypast over Cairns, to commemorate the Cairns centenary.
12OCT76 Took part in exercise 'Kangaroo Two', then after the exercise, at Townsville, took part in an opposed transit phase against HMAS Otway.
02NOV76 Carried out a fishex north of Townsville.
04NOV76 Carried out a fishex in the Swains Reef area, and reported on the condition of an automatic weather station on Frederick Reef.
06DEC76 Approval for preservation of Neptune for future National Aviation Museum. Aircraft to be stored and maintained at Point Cook. (From Status Card)
19JAN77 To carry out a fishex along the outer Great Barrier Reef to the north of Townsville. The radar became serviceable shortly after going on task, and a visual search was undertaken, with no sightings of foreign fishing vessels.
26JAN77 To search for a Taiwanese trawler reported to have sunk on 02JAN near Swains Reef. It was later established that the survivors had been rescued the previous week. The wreckage of the clam boat was found aground on the south east side of Swains Reef.
31JAN77 With A89-275 flew to Amberley late in the afternoon when cyclone "Keith" was heading for Townsville. Minor flooding only occurred at Townsville. The aircraft returned on 01FEB.
08FEB77 With A89-273 departed on a 'Gay Rover' to Cocos. A89-281 was forced to return to Learmonth on 09FEB with engine trouble. The aircraft attempted to depart on 10FEB, but once again had to return with engine trouble. After changing a cylinder and having 2 aborted take-offs during an air test, it was decided to fly another engine from Townsville, to replace the unserviceable starboard one. A89-281 eventually returned to Townsville on 25FEB.
15MAR77 Fishex carried out along the eastern edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The sortie lasted 7 hours, and no foreign fishing vessels were sighted.
23MAR77 Fishex sortie in the gulf, lasting almost 11 hours. During this time, 12 foreign fishing vessels were located.
25MAR77 Fishex lasting 5 hours, during which time 2 Taiwanese stern trawlers were located.
29MAR77 Departed for Willis Island to carry out a storepedo drop. As the aircraft was on the return leg, it was diverted to the Cayley Reef area to search for a missing person from a 6 metre cabin cruiser. The aircraft spent nearly 3 hours in the search area, without success. The following day, A89-281 again searched the Cayley Reef area, but although conditions were excellent, no sign was found of the missing person.
06APR77 Carried out a fishex along the east coast to Sydney. Three Taiwanese fishing vessels were sighted, including 2 in company with an RAN FPB No 101 north east of Rockhampton.
17MAY77 Carried out a fishex north along the Great Barrier Reef to Thursday Island. A yawl rigged yellow decked trimaran was sighted approximately one half mile from the bulk carrier "Curtis Capricorn".
25MAY77 Fishex along the southern and western areas of the gulf, and coastal to Darwin. Thirty Taiwanese fishing vessels were located.
26MAY77 Fishex along the outer reefs and islands to Learmonth. Twenty Taiwanese fishing vessels were located.
27MAY77 Fishex via coast to Pearce, where it was found that a bracket on an undercarriage door had broken. After a spare bracket was fitted, the aircraft departed on 29MAY on a fishex south to Esperance, thence to Learmonth direct. No foreign fishing vessels were sighted. A89-281 then departed on a fishex coastal to Darwin on 31MAY, again sighting no foreign fishing vessels.
01JUN77 Departed Darwin on a fishex via eastern side of gulf, to Townsville. Thirteen Taiwanese fishing vessels located.
16JUN77 Fishex in southern and western areas of the gulf, and coastal to Darwin. Eleven Taiwanese trawlers were located.
17JUN77 Eleven hour fishex in the gulf, locating 38 Taiwanese trawlers. This included 2 fleets of 22 and 14 vessels. About 30 minutes out of Townsville, the aircraft was diverted to Cairns to monitor distress frequencies being picked up in the area by low-flying aircraft. A89-281 remained in the area for 1 hour with no success before returning to Townsville. It was later found that the distress signals came from a yacht which had been aground on a reef north of Cairns, but which had been able to float off at high tide.
30JUN77 With A89-273, A89-275 and A89-280, will remain at Townsville with maintenance personnel as No 10 Squadron Detachment 'B', while No 10 Squadron will be permanently based at Edinburgh, SA.
29JUL77 Five minutes into a fishex along the Great Barrier Reef, A89-281 was forced to return to Townsville with engine trouble.
15AUG77 Carried out a 9.5 hour fishex in the gulf. Thirty seven Taiwanese fishing vessels were located, mainly in the Weipa area. The main Australian fishing fleet was also located, north of Mornington Island. Co-operation with HMAS Advance aided in the detection of both fleets.
30AUG77 Fishex in the gulf. No foreign fishing vessels were detected, and the aircraft recovered to Darwin.
31AUG77 Departed Darwin and carried out a fishex in the gulf. A visual search was carried out as the radar was unserviceable.
02SEP77 Fishex from Darwin to Townsville, going off task at Karumba. Radar still unserviceable, and after a visual search, no sightings were made of foreign fishing vessels.
28SEP77 Fishex via the inner reef, Thursday Island and Karumba. Eleven Taiwanese fishing vessels and several Australian trawlers were located in the gulf.
06OCT77 Fishex along outer reef to Thursday Island, then coastal to Karumba. Eighteen Taiwanese fishing vessels located, plus a similar number of Australian pleasure boats.
19OCT77 Fishex via outer reef, Thursday Island and Karumba. One Taiwanese, 12 Japanese and 12 Australian fishing vessels sighted.
26OCT77 Fishex via outer reef to Thursday Island, returning via the inner reef. Fourteen Japanese fishing vessels located east of the reef, and 30 Australian fishing and pleasure craft sighted.
29OCT77 'Gay Rover' to Tontouta, the airfield of Noumea, New Caledonia. One merchant contact sighted on the journey. Aircraft and crew remained in Noumea for 3 days on a goodwill visit to the French Naval Air Force. On 01NOV, A89-281 flew a 'Gay Rover' lasting 6.5 hours from Tontouta. Due to engine problems, a direct track was flown, with 3 merchant ships being located.
03NOV77 Fishex via outer reef to Thursday Island, and then via inner reef to Townsville. Fifteen Japanese fishing vessels located outside the reef, and 4 merchant ships and 64 Australian fishing or pleasure boats sighted along the coast or on the reef.
09NOV77 Fishex via outer reef, Thursday Island and Karumba. Ten Japanese and 36 Taiwanese fishing vessels located. Eight Australian fishing boats and 33 pleasure craft were sighted during the 9 hour sortie.

The foregoing was compiled (in January 1991) from the No 10 Squadron Unit History Sheets and was kindly supplied to The Lockheed File by Chris Webster and Frank Ragonese of The Australian Flying Museum. It has been reproduced in full, with only minor changes for layout purposes.

06DEC77 Flown from Townsville to Amberley for disposal. This was the last flight undertaken by a Neptune aircraft of the RAAF. This flight was a direct result of a campaign by the Queensland Air Museum to lobby Defence Minister James Killen to have a Neptune flown to Amberley before being disabled.
07DEC77 Approval for write-off (complete with engines) to Department of Administrative Services.
(From Status Card)
08JUN78 Tenders closed for removal ex RAAF Amberley. Subsequently sold to Chewing Gum Field Museum, Tallebudgera, QLD and trucked to the museum.
89 Sold to Alan Wilson and donated to the Australian Flying Museum.
12JUL90 Trucked to Archerfield Airport (Brisbane).
92 Registration VH-NEP reserved and painted on the aeroplane.
22FEB99 Perth based Neptune N54317 (msn 7191) came on to the Australian Register as VH-NEP.
JUL00 Sold to AeroCorp Australia Pty Ltd of Perth. To be trucked from Archerfield to Perth for conversion to fire bomber.
03JUL02 Owner advises that the aircraft "will be shortly trucked to Perth".
AUG03 Donated to HARS by AeroCorp.
SEP03 Work began on dismantling the aircraft for trucking to Parkes, N.S.W. The aircraft will be stored pending restoration to static display standard.
DEC03 Dismantling work still underway at Archerfield. Some components have been moved to Albion Park. Many components will be used to complete the interior fit out of VH-IOY and VH-LRR. It is expected that the remainder of the airframe will be moved from Archerfield early in 2004.
03JUN05 The last of the aircraft was removed from Archerfield on two trucks.
06JUN05 The last of the two truck-loads arrived at Albion Park (the other arrived on 04JUN05).


  • All P2V-7/SP-2H were classified as Mark 4 from the time of delivery.


Images are in Part 1

Issue Date Remarks
7 13JUN05
Updated details of the removal from Archerfield thanks to Geoff Timms of HARS who supervised the operation and drove one of the trucks
6 22DEC03
Updated progress with dismantling and transportation to Parkes.

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