The CA-25 Winjeel (an Aboriginal word meaning “Young Eagle”) was developed by Commonwealth Aircraft Corp in Melbourne to meet a 1948 RAAF specification for a new trainer.
The CT-4A Airtrainer was developed from the earlier Victa Airtourer as a side-by-side military trainer with full dual controls.
The CA-25 Winjeel | First Produced in 1955
Powered by the venerable Pratt & Whitney R-985 9-cylinder radial engine of 450HP, widely regarded as one of the most reliable piston aircraft engines of all time!
The Winjeel went into production in 1955 and a total of 64 aircraft were built, including two prototypes. The Winjeel was designed with side-by-side seating, dual sets of controls, and a third seat in the rear. Some were retired in 1969. Most served with the RAAF up until 1975 but a handful soldiered on through until 1994!
Used as a Training Plane for Generations of RAAF Pilots
The Winjeel was used as a trainer throughout its service life, teaching generations of pilots skills such as basic flight, aerobatics, instrument flight and navigation. It was also used in later years in the role of Forward Air Control, marking targets for attack aircraft such as the F-111 and F/A-18.
Winjeel Serial #A85-429
This particular example – Serial# A85-429 – was received by the RAAF in July 1956. It spent most of its service life at RAAF Base East Sale in Victoria. Retired by the Air Force in 1969, it passed through numerous hands until it was purchased by its current owner in 2004 who then put it through a complete restoration to airworthy condition.
It has been lovingly maintained in top condition and is one of only 24 currently in airworthy condition. Between 2006-2009, it was based in Southern California and is to-date the only Winjeel to have graced the skies of the Northern Hemisphere! It was in high demand for appearances at airshows there, where it won several awards; and has been featured in magazines such as Warbird Digest, Warbirds International, FlyPast, FlightPath, and Pacific Flyer. This example has had a fourth seat installed, making it a very practical warbird!
The CT-4A Airtrainer | First Produced in 1972
Ninety four examples were produced in the first production run by New Zealand Aerospace Industries (later Pacific Aerospace Corporation); entering service with Air Forces of Thailand, New Zealand and Australia.
Loved and Respected by Generations of RAAF Pilots
The CT-4A began to replace the CA-25 Winjeel as the RAAF’s training aircraft from 1975. It performed the same missions admirably, teaching future Air Force pilots the requisite skills they would need going forward. RAAF operated its examples through the end of 1992. Its excellent handling characteristics and robust design have endeared the CT-4 with all who flew it.
CT-4A Serial# A19-037
This example – Serial# A19-037 – was among the first batch of 51 CT-4As delivered to the RAAF in the mid-1970s. It spent its time in service at RAAF Base Pt. Cook, serving to train hundreds of pilots before finally being retired in 1992.
It was auctioned off in May 1993 and was initially based in Southeast Queensland. It was purchased by its current owner Phil Munro in 2004 and has been maintained in excellent and original condition ever since. It is flown frequently in air displays and commemorative fly-pasts and has provided thrilling flight experiences to hundreds of passengers.