A PROPOSAL to sell the DC2 “Uiver” aircraft for $20,000 to a Sydney enthusiast will be debated at Albury Council’s engineering and works committee meeting tonight.
The city has received six submissions in response to its call earlier this year for those interested in rebuilding and using the plane.
Sydney-based Steve Ferris, a businessman associated with airline operations and management and an aircraft restorer, has inspected Albury’s Uiver aircraft and has a good appreciation of its condition and what it would take to restore it. He is restoring another DC2 to airworthy condition.
In his report, group leader projects Mauro Dei Agnoli says Mr Ferris is offering $20,000 to buy the aircraft and re-assemble it at the Australian Aviation Museum in Bankstown where it would be kept on public display, “until a better home eventuates”.
Mr Dei Agnoli says Mr Ferris demonstrates a keen personal interest and knowledge of the Uiver as well as the resources to undertake its restoration.
“The fact he has personally inspected the Uiver and is also undertaking the restoration of another DC2 to an airworthy condition displays a genuine hands-on interest in the plane,” Mr Dei Agnoli writes.
“Further, his appreciation for the actual Uiver story and his offer of $20,000 for the plane with the request that the money be used to commemorate the Uiver story within the new terminal, also shows his bonafides for both the plane and its sentimental attachment to Albury.”
Mr Dei Agnoli said Mr Ferris’s intention to display the restored plane in Sydney would maximise its public exposure and was not as far removed from Albury as another proposal to acquire the aircraft for display in Queensland.
“It is considered that the expression of interest from Steve Ferris offers the best option for its ultimate restoration if the council decides to dispose of the aircraft,” he said.
The report says if the council was to commit to the restoration of the aircraft in Albury then it would require a minimum enclosed display area of about 600sq m, but there were no rental options for a hangar to house the plane at the Albury airport.
A new hangar was estimated to cost $250,000 to build, while the cost of housing the complete Uiver within an enlarged part of the new upgraded terminal would be $1.3 million.
Mounting the cut-off forward of the plane on a raised check-in hall would be $605,000 including restoration costs and an associated memorial.
The report said anecdotal estimates of the cost of restoring the aircraft began at $500,000.
Two submissions received by the council support the acquisition of the aircraft by the Queensland Air Museum and the Australian National Aviation Museum, with no remuneration offered.
A third submission by Classic Wings states what Mr Dei Agnoli describes as an “ambitious intent” to restore the Uiver to an airworthy state without appearing to appreciate its current condition.
An Albury-based consortium, Advanced Aviation, has made a submission to retain the Uiver in Albury and have it restored by staff for training with access to “a very experienced expert on the restoration of vintage aircraft for consultation”.
The plane would be used for both static display and advertising once restoration is completed and Advanced Aviation wants to negotiate terms and remuneration with the council.
The final submission came from the Houston Aeronautical Heritage Society in the
US, which has given the council an alternative if there are no viable options to restore, preserve and exhibit the Uiver in Australia.
“Council acknowledges local enthusiasm for the project does exist, however financial constraints are what has prevented this project to proceed,” Mr Dei Agnoli said.