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.
Two CA-22 prototypes were built, A85-618 and A85-364, each with a 450 hp Pratt and Whitney 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, indeed, 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 first production CA-25 Winjeel trainer, A85-401, flew on 23 February 1955, and 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. 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. The aircraft also served in the forward air control training role with No 4 Flight, later as part of No 76 Squadron, until these aircraft were replaced by the PC-9/A in 1994.
TECHNICAL DATA: CAC Winjeel
Two/three-seat basic trainer. All-metal stressed-skin construction.
One 450 hp Pratt and Whitney Wasp Junior.
Span 11.78 m (38 ft 8 in); Length 8.56 m (28 ft 1 in); Height 2.77 m (9 ft 1 in).
Empty 1542 kg (3400lb); loaded 1968 kg (4340 lb).
Max speed 301 km/h (162 kt); Cruising speed 254 km/h (137 kt); Initial climb 457 m (1500 ft)/min; Service ceiling 15,800 ft (4816 m); Range 885 km (477 nm).
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