The Challenger space shuttle taking off.
The Challenger space shuttle taking off.

Ill-fated Space Shuttle Challenger’s connection to Bundy

BUNDABERG is forever tied to the Challenger space shuttle disaster of the 1980s.

The Space Shuttle Challenger disaster was a fatal incident in the United States space program that happened on January 28, 1986, when the Space Shuttle Challenger broke apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing all seven crew members aboard.

 

Bert Hinkler.
Bert Hinkler.

 

But on that ill-fated voyage was a piece of Bundaberg's very own history - a 12cm wooden rib from Bert Hinkler's glider used to fly at Mon Repos in 1912.

Hinkler had built the glider at his Gavin St home. It was eventually dismantled to prevent anyone copying its design.

 

Bert Hinkler’s glider.
Bert Hinkler’s glider.

 

The glider was rediscovered in the 1970s and a replica built.

Challenger mission commander Dick Scobee had been a fan of Hinkler's and took the piece of glider with him among his personal effects.

 

Dick Scobee, a fan of Bert Hinkler, lost his life in the Challenger explosion.
Dick Scobee, a fan of Bert Hinkler, lost his life in the Challenger explosion.

 

When the tragedy unfolded and the craft exploded, it was assumed the fragment would be gone forever.

But it was later found floating in the ocean and returned to Bundaberg by Scobee's wife June.

Its home is now the Hinkler Hall of Aviation.

 

FAR OUT: This original piece of Bert Hinkler's glider was aboard the ill fated Challenger space shuttle.
FAR OUT: This original piece of Bert Hinkler's glider was aboard the ill fated Challenger space shuttle.


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