Australian Robinson helicopter distributor Heliflite is donating a refurbished R22 to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame & Outback Heritage Centre in Longreach, in recognition of the iconic role the two-seater workhorse aircraft has played in changing the face of the rural and mustering landscape.
From its humble beginnings with its design and development from Frank Robinson’s own home to its eventual certification in 1979 the R22 has become the most common model of rotary-wing aircraft used for aerial stock mustering. Currently there are 651 R22s registered in Australia with almost 5000 R22s having been produced worldwide.
The still very much contemporary R22 will be displayed against the proud and traditional heritage of the Australian stockman industry and is sure to attract significant interest from locals and returning tourists to Longreach.
“We thank Heliflite for the donation to the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame. For many years this iconic aircraft has been an essential tool for the men and women working the land,” Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame chief executive Lloyd Mills said.
Heliflite’s founder and managing director Lyndsay Edmonds described the contribution of the R22 to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame as an honour and privilege for the company to play a role in the support of the museum and the people of the outback.
The R22 to be displayed in Longreach has been refurbished by the Heliflite WA team and painted in the original scheme of Heliflite’s first imported R22 from 1980. The aircraft will be road freighted from Jandakot Airport to the Stockman’s Hall of Fame early this year.
- The Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame and Outback Heritage Centre is Australia’s premier outback heritage institution. Since its opening in 1988 as part of Australia’s bicentennial celebrations, the Hall of Fame has played host to over one million interstate and international visitors. The Hall of Fame displays the history behind some of Australia’s most courageous explorers, stock workers and pastoralists.
This is fantastic news and great thanks to Heliflite. Nearly ten years ago I proposed the idea of an aerial mustering section to the ASHF. With the support of Kidman and the petroleum companies operating in the Cooper Basin we were able to arrange for the late Bomber Johnston’s Cessna 172 to be donated as a foundation aircraft. This plane had flown some 15,000 hours in mustering and other pastoral support roles, including flood relief in 1974. In addition to the R22, two other likely candidates would be the Piper Supercub and the Bell 47 (first helicopter used mustering). They don’t have to be airworthy and could be placed on secure loan, rather than be donated.
Thanks for your comment, Greg. Yes, the Bell 47 would be worthy contender. I saw some early experiments with helicopter mustering in the mid 1960s. Bryce Killen (uncle of AA Co’s Hugh, and a fellow Katherine meatworks investor), then had Willeroo and Scott Creek near Katherine. He also owned an aviation company called Helicopter Utilities, which ran a fleet of distinctive bright yellow 47’s and bigger helicopters used for surveys, oil rig work etc. They trialled mustering at Willeroo around 1966, including the use of hessian wings to push the cattle into the yards. Very adventurous at the time. My father, a keen amateur photographer, took some 16mm movie footage. Editor
Well done all