Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation CA-22 / CA-25 Winjeel
Commonwealth CA-25 Winjeel
In 1948, the RAAF issued a specification for a new training aircraft to replace both the Tiger Moth and Wirraway. The new trainer was to seat three, and was to be of simple but robust construction. Economy of operation and ease of maintenance were other requirements. And, above all, it was to have safe handling characteristics. The CAC answer to meet this specification was the CA-22, for which the Aboriginal word for "young eagle" was selected, Winjeel. CAC designed a simple, fixed undercarriage, tailwheel machine with aluminium clad tubular steel fuselage, stressed skin wings and fabric covered flying controls.
Two CA-22 prototypes were built, A85-618 and A85-364, each with a 450 hp (335kW) Pratt and Whitney, R-985-AN-2 Wasp Junior engine. It was planned to develop the CAC-designed 450 hp Cicada engine for production aircraft but, in the event, all Winjeels were powered by Wasp Juniors. The first prototype, A85-618, was test flown on 3 February 1951 by CAC test pilot John Miles. It was soon joined by A85-364 and the two aircraft were used for a prolonged series of trials. These tests showed that CAC had met the requirements for a safe aircraft, because it was found that the Winjeel had a reluctance to spin - an excellent feature for most aircraft, but not for a trainer. Consequently, the rear-positioned fin was fitted with a dorsal fairing and a larger rudder. A later modification resulted in a taller fin without the dorsal fairing, and with the rudder moved forward. A revised engine cowling was also designed and these later features were incorporated in the production Winjeels.
The CA-25 first production version, A85-401, first flew on February 23, 1955. On 16 September 1955, the CAC Managing Director, Sir Lawrence Wackett, officially handed over the log-books of this aircraft to Air Marshal Sir John McCauley. During this ceremony, Flight Lieutenant L. Evans of the RAAF's Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) gave a spirited demonstration of the Winjeel's capabilities.
62 Winjeels were ordered, production taking place between February 1955 and August 1957. The last Winjeel, A85-462, was delivered to the RAAF early in 1958.
The trainers operated with No 1 Basic Flying Training School (later renamed No 1 Flying Training School) at RAAF Uranquinty until the unit was transferred to RAAF Point Cook in December 1958. The Winjeel was eventually replaced at No 1 Flying Training School in 1975 by the CT-4 Airtrainer.
A few remaining Winjeels were used as hacks, a half dozen examples became instructional airframes at Wagga, NSW for apprentice engineer training and four FAC machines remained at Williamtown with No 4 Flight, later as part of No 76 Squadron, until these aircraft were replaced by the PC-9/A in 1994. A number of off surplus machines found their way into the hands of nostalgic civilian owners to be used for recreational flying and air display work.
1955 CAC CA-25 Winjeel A85-404
Initially the Australian CAA would not permit the operation of the type on the civil register however, with a relaxation of the rules, eleven were registered in the warbird category. Operated by the RAAF as a three seater, a number have been modified to four seat by civil own-ers. The radial-engined taildragger features a 165 mph cruise with a five hour 30 minute endurance.
Engine: 1 x Pratt & Whitney R-985-AN-2 Wasp junior 9-cyliner radial, 450 hp.
Wingspan: 11.77 m / 39 ft 7 in
Wing area: 249 sq.ft (23.13 sq.m)
Length: 8.55 m / 28 ft 1 in
Height: 2.77 m / 9 ft 1 in
Take-off weight: 1970 kg / 4343 lb
Empty Weight: 3,400lbs (1,542kg)
Maximum Take-Off Weight: 4,341lbs (1,969kg)
Max. speed: 299 km/h / 186 mph
Cruise speed: 265 km/h / 165 mph at 8,500 ft (2 590 m)
Ceiling: 5490 m / 18000 ft
Rate-of-Climb: 1,500ft/min (457m/min)
Service Ceiling: 15,000ft (4,572m)
Maximum Range: 551miles (886km)
Endurance: 5.5 hr