Dick Smith donates proceeds of Citation sale

A supplied image of the Cessna Citation CJ3 VH-MIF that belonged to Dick Smith. (Dick and Pip Smith Foundation)

A supplied image of Dick Smith in his Cessna Citation CJ3 VH-MIF. (Dick and Pip Smith Foundation)

Airservices, aviation groups and even the Scouts look set to benefit from the sale of Dick Smith’s beloved Cessna Citation CJ3 to US-based buyers.

The businessman, aviation veteran and former Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) chairman has donated the proceeds of the aircraft sale which was first announced in July.

The largest cheques have gone to the Rotary Australia Benevolent Society, which received a $1 million donation, while another $1 million will be used to set up and fund the Wilberforce Award to recognise a young person under the age of 30 “who has the ability to show leadership in communicating an alternative to our population and consumption growth-obsessed economy”.

There were also six-figure donations to Scouts Australia, Wild Care Tasmania and the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation, among other community groups.

Among aviation groups, Smith said he was giving $160,000 to Airservices for the setting up of weather cams in Australia to improve aviation safety.

Smith said he hoped Airservices would “copy the Nav Canada system and provide the weather cams at their existing ground installations around Australia” and at known risk locations such as Mt Victoria and Kilmore Gap.

“If Nav Canada can provide this important safety system right across the country, surely we can in Australia!,” Smith said in a statement on Thursday.

The Historical Aviation Restoration Society (HARS) is getting $125,000 to complete the restoration of the Southern Cross replica aircraft, while the Royal Flying Doctor Service has been given $100,000 to improve the safety of night operations at remote aerodromes.

Smith has also pledged $20,000 to the State Library of NSW Foundation to assist with aviation related projects such as the “possible digitisation and rehousing of the Sir Hudson Fysh pictorial collection”.

In July, Smith said he decided to sell the aircraft due to the high costs of maintaining the Citation CJ3 in Australia, as well local regulatory requirements including the installation of ADS-B technology.

He said the decision to part with the aircraft was “incredibly sad”.

“Our general aviation industry has been damaged by a bureaucracy and a political system that doesn’t understand that for an industry to remain viable, regulatory costs must always be affordable,” Smith said.

Smith said the total value of donations so far was $4,170,412.

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