In the late hours of Thursday night, 19 May 2022, this iconic aircaft was re-located to the new terminal at Adelaide Airport under the direction of Artlab Australia.
The three sections of the Vickers Vimy aircraft being moved to its final location inside the terminal at Adelaide Airport. Image: South Australian Aviation Museum.
The Vickers Vimy aircraft, flown by brothers Sir Keith and Ross Smith in the famous London to Australia air race of 1919-1920, was on display in the Memorial Building at Adelaide Airport.
The airport’s main terminal was significantly expanded in 2021 and included in the new building, is an exhibition space to permanently display the Vickers Vimy, for the public to view this iconic aircraft.
Adelaide Airport Limited engaged Artlab Australia to prepare and relocate the plane from the Memorial Building to the new terminal.
Vickers Vimy, weighing 3.2 tonnes with a wingspan of 21 metres and a body length of 13 metres, is typically described as a doped fabric, timber framed aircraft. The Artlab team, led by Ian Miles, Relocation Lead, disassembled the plane into three main parts: two wings and the fuselage. Encapsulation scaffolding was carefully built around each section to support and provide a framework for covering with polyethylene and tarps. The three sections were then wrapped to maintain a stable internal environment and to provide protection during the relocation.
Perfect weather conditions were forecast for the night of Thursday 19 May 2022 so the Vickers Vimy move was confirmed to go ahead. Ian Miles led the relocation team which included, Adelaide Airport staff; traffic management; specialised aircraft movers; volunteers from South Australian Aviation Museum and Epic Flight Centenary Committee. The group surrounded the three sections and walked a 2.1km journey from 11.00pm, out of the Memorial Building and into the new terminal. The move took four and a half hours and reached its final destination, on schedule.
Reassembly of the Vickers Vimy will be carried out by Artlab, including removal of the covering and encapsulation scaffolding; piecing the wings to the fuselage and positioning the aircraft into the exhibition space. It is envisaged the exhibition will be open to the public towards the end of 2022.