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Inside the Archive: CA-25 Winjeel

If there’s one word to describe the Winjeel, it’s resilient. Introduced back in 1948 to replace the Tiger Moth as RAAF’s basic trainer, it soldiered on serving in one form or another until 1994. Its longevity was based on its mastery of the basics. Designed and built in Australia, it was easy to maintain, economical to operate and easy to fly – its taller fin and revised engine cowling reducing any reluctance to spin.

RAAF’s 64 Winjeels were operated initially at No. 1 Basic Flying Training School at Uranquinty, near Wagga Wagga, before being transferred in 1958 to RAAF Base Point Cook in Victoria. Early on, students experienced 50 hours in the type before progressing to the Wirraway, but it soon displaced the latter to become RAAF’s dominant trainer. It’s a position it held until 1968, when the Air Force embraced jet training to switch to the more modern Macchi MB-326. Yet, two courses later, the stubborn Winjeel returned. It was only formally retired in 1975, but even then enjoyed a lengthy working retirement performing a forward air control role for target marking.

But what about the name? It’s derived from the Victorian Indigenous word Bunjil meaning ‘young eagle’ – which, in hindsight, seems apt.

2 Comments

  • David McKeand

    says:

    You seem to have missed the Vampire which was the advanced trainer at No. 2 AFTS, Pearce AFB, WA. I was there when we introduced the Macchi to replace the Vampire.

  • John Laming

    says:

    I did my one hour endorsement to the Winjeel at RAAF Central Flying School on 1 December 1955 on A85-804. The CFS instructor was Flt Lt Randall Green. Then on 7 December I flew two trips in A85-404. The first was dual under Green and then a mutual trip with F. Sgt Ron Bastin. Then two flights on 8 December mutual with Flg.Off. Dal Oswald and Flg.Off Bob Baddams. Then i was posted to No 1 BFTS Uranquinty in January 1956 where I spent he next two years instructing initially on Tiger Moths and Wirraways and then the Winjeel. I flew around 500 hours on Winjeels, a first class trainer. The average time to first solo for students was ten hours once the Tiger Moths were phased out and replaced by Winjeels. Apart from cross-country flights the average dual flight was one hour. We trained both RAAF and RAN trainee pilots.

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