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Vintage aircraft moved to RAAF Base Townsville for display

written by Adam Thorn | July 31, 2020

Two vintage RAAF aircraft have made the 1,800-kilometre road journey from RAAF Base Amberley in Ipswich to their new home in Townsville, after restoration by members of Air Force History and Heritage Branch.

The two planes – a Mirage fighter A3-55 and a Winjeel trainer A85-403 – were restored by members of the Static Display Aircraft Support Section at RAAF Base Amberley.

The planes are both iconic RAAF models, flown over several decades domestically and on international deployments. The first high-performance supersonic fast jet in RAAF history, the Mirage entered service with the RAAF in 1965 and its last flight was in 1989.

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The Australian designed and built Winjeel, an Aboriginal word for ‘young eagle’, replaced the Tiger Moth and Wirraway and was flown by the RAAF from 1955 to 1994.

Destined for Townsville, the two will go on permanent display at that base’s Aviation Heritage Centre in the lead-up to the RAAF’s centenary and be a reminder of Air Force’s history.

Director Air Force Heritage Group Captain Peter Norford said preserving RAAF’s past was an important part of celebrating Air Force’s centenary next year.

“Celebrating Air Force’s 100 years of service is a time to reflect on our past, the evolution of our aircraft and technology and also look forward to the future as we transition to a fifth-generation Air Force,” GPCAPT Norford said.

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GPCAPT Norford said he was thankful to everyone involved.

“Thank you to the members of the Static Display Aircraft Support Section for their time and dedication in restoring these aircraft over a period of more than six months,” he said.

“Also to the various agencies including Queensland Police, LINFOX and councils who assisted with the complex tasks of moving these aircraft by road convoy to their new home.”

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