Dick Smith will today announce that proceeds from the sale of his Cessna Citation executive jet in the USA will be donated to a raft of charities.
Smith is due to announce the donation program from the Dick and Pippa Smith Foundation at a function at Bankstown Airport around noon.
The major beneficiaries are the Rotary Australia Benevolent Society, and the Wilberforce Award, both of which will receive donations of $1 miilion dollars each.
Over 50 other charities will benefit from donations varying from $5000 to $120,000, with $160,000 offered to Airservices Australia to establish a network of weather cameras.
The total value of all donations is $4,165,412 at the time of writing.
According to Smith, the Citation was sold because the cost of maintaining the aircraft in Australia was becoming prohibitive, which has been attributed to the general downturn in the general aviation industry.
“It is all incredibly sad," Smith said at the time of sale. "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.”
The Citation is thought to have cost upward of $300,000 per year in maintenance costs, with that figure skyrocketing as service companies withdrew from the Australian market. The aircraft was offered for sale first in Australia, but failed to sell because of regulations that would require it to be fitted with ADS-B Out and a Flight Data Recorder if used in charter. The Citation was sold in the USA relatively easily, where an FDR is not required and ADS-B not needed for another three years.
Several aviation organisations and charities stand to benefit from the Dick and Pippa Smith Foundation's decision to donate the proceeds of the sale, including:
- Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) to restore the Southern Cross replica ($125,000)
- Royal Flying Doctor Service - Canberra ($100,000)
- Angel Flight ($50,000)
- Able Flight USA ($US10,000)
- FunFlight ($5000)
- Qantas Founders Outback Museum ($5000)
- Temora Aviation Museum ($5000)
- Central Australian Aviation Museum ($5000)
The foundation will also gift $5000 to Goolwa Air Park in South Australia, and four other airports to be nominated by the aviation public.
Significant donations will also be made to Australia's various aviation associations, including the Scout Air Activities Centres in both Camden and Moorabbin, and the Australian Air League.
For a full list of beneficiaries, click on the link below.