Historic RAAF aircraft convoy to depart RAAF Base Amberley

Ipswich residents will have a rare opportunity to see two restored Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) static display aircraft being transported by road convoy from RAAF Base Amberley to Townsville.

A Mirage fighter A3-55 and a Winjeel trainer A85-403­­­ are being relocated to their permanent home at the RAAF Townsville Aviation Heritage Centre.

The aircraft will depart in the dark early Friday, 31 July morning at 12.15am.

The convoy is expected to arrive in Townsville on 2 August.

Air Force personnel from the History and Heritage Branch at RAAF Base Amberley have restored the two aircraft.

Both aircraft will go on public display at the RAAF Townsville Aviation Heritage Centre later this year (2020) in the lead up to Air Force’s centenary commemorations in 2021.

The Mirage fighter entered service with the RAAF in 1965 and its last flight was in 1989.

It was the first high performance supersonic fast jet in RAAF service.

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.


Planned route of Mirage ‘wide load’ convoy 

 On Friday, 31 July the convoy will depart RAAF Base Amberley at approximately 12.15am and travel the following route: Route A2 (Warrego Highway) – Toowoomba Bypass, Dalby, Chinchilla, Miles; Route A5 (Leichhardt Highway) – Wandoan, Taroom, Theodore, Banana.

On Saturday, 1 August 2020 the convoy will depart Banana at approximately 6am and travel the following route: Route A5 – Dululu; Route A4 (Capricorn Highway) – Dingo; Route 67 (Fitzroy Development Road) and Route 70 (Peak Downs Road) – Moranbah.

On Sunday, 2 August 2020 the convoy will depart Moranbah at approximately 6am and travel the following route: Route 70/A7 (Gregory Highway) – Belyando Crossing, Charters Towers, Route A6 (Flinders Highway) – RAAF Base Townsville.

Fast facts about the Mirage fighter

The Royal Australian Air Force received a total of 116 (100 single seat and 16 dual seat) Mirages between 1964 and 1974.

The first production aircraft entered service in November 1966.

The last aircraft entered service in January 1974.

On 8 February 1989, the last Mirage was retired from RAAF service.

In 1990, 50 aircraft were sold to the Pakistan Air Force.

Fast facts about the CAC Winjeel

In 1948 the RAAF issued a specification for a new training aircraft to replace both the Tiger Moth and Wirraway.

The trainer was to seat three, have safe handling characteristics, be of simple but robust construction, economic to operate and easy to maintain.

The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) CA-22 Winjeel, Aboriginal word for “young eagle”, was selected.

In 1971 RAAF, Army and Navy students were flying 60 hours in Winjeels at Point Cook to earn their “wings”, followed by the Macchi course at Pearce of 150 hours.

A85-406 was delivered in November 1955 serving with 1BFTS until February 1986, when it then became an Army training aid.

Transferred from the Museum of Army Aviation Oakey to Amberley in 2011 for restoration.

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