CAC Winjeel A85-401
Designed to a 1948 RAAF specification for a basic trainer to replace the Tiger Moth, the Winjeel first flew on 23 February 1951. After an extensive period of testing and modifications to the two prototypes, the first of 62 production Winjeels flew in February 1955, with the final delivery to the RAAF in January 1958.
After initial introduction into service, the Winjeel replaced the Tiger Moth, with students flying 50 hours on type before conversion to the Wirraway. After Winjeel production had increased, the aircraft also replaced the Wirraway. Students then completed 90 hours on type during a 20-week course. When the emphasis of training shifted to jet aircraft, the syllabus included only 60 hours on the Winjeel, and students then progressed to the Vampire trainer. However, by 1968, the RAAF had decided to introduce "all-through" jet training, and the Winjeel appeared to have outlived its usefulness. This move was soon proven uneconomical, and two courses later the Winjeel was returned to service as a basic training aircraft, accounting for 60 hours of the total of 210 hours flown by students on course.
Winjeels were initially delivered to No 1 Basic Flying Training School (BFTS) at Uranquinty before the unit relocated to Point Cook in 1958 and was renamed No 1 Flying Training School (No 1 FTS). The Winjeel was also used by Central Flying School (CFS) at East Sale to train RAAF flying instructors. Other units had a Winjeel 'on strength' as a communications and liaison aircraft. Although replaced as a basic trainer in 1975 by the CT4A, the Winjeel soldiered on as a forward air control aircraft supporting RAAF and Army operations until 1995.
The first of the 62 production CA-25 Winjeels, A85-401 first flew on 23 February 1955, and was handed over to the RAAF by Sir Lawrence Wackett, Managing Director of CAC, on 16 September 1955. Initially on strength at the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) at RAAF Base Laverton, A85-401 was used for testing until July 1962 when the aircraft was transferred to No 1 BFTS at Point Cook.
A85-401 was used as unit equipment at No 1 BFTS and was also rotated through storage to evenly distribute flying hours across the fleet. In September 1971, A85-401 was sent to East Sale, and returned to Point Cook in January 1974. During November 1975, Headquarters RAAF Base Point Cook recommended allocation of A85-401 to the RAAF Museum on account of its historical significance, and the aircraft was issued to the museum in 1977. On static display until 1988, A85-401 was flown as part of the RAAF's Historic Flight until 1995 when it was returned to static display.