"LONGREACH 747 VH-OJA — the long and the short of it", emerged from the Qantas decision to preserve this aircraft, one of the icons of Australian aviation.
The book not only traces the almost 26 year operational life of the City of Canberra but also delves into the origins of the Boeing 747, universally known as the Queen of the Skies. It explores the evolution of the 747 from Boeing’s failure to win a bid to build a very large strategic transport being turned into the development of one of the most successful aircraft ever built.
The history of the 747 with Qantas, at one time the only all-747 airline in the world, is detailed up to the point where a fleet of over 65 of these aircraft has now been reduced to seven at the time of disposal, and now to NIL.
The City of Canberra (VH-OJA) derives its iconic status largely from its delivery flight on 16 and 17 August 1989. Over those two days, this aircraft overcame seemingly insurmountable hurdles to become the first aircraft to conquer one of the last frontiers of non-stop flight, London to Sydney in 20 hours nine minutes and five seconds.
Although at the time it was expected within a decade that non-stop commercial flights over this sector would be operating on a regular basis, 30 years on this is yet to occur. By way of contrast, the City of Canberra’s final flight of a mere 11 minutes from Sydney Airport to its retirement as part of the HARS Museum at Illawarra Regional Airport was the shortest flight for this icon of Australian aviation.
HARS would like to thank Qantas for entrusting the City of Canberra to both our keeping and to display for visitors