Historical journey for two vintage aircraft
Two vintage RAAF aircraft have made an 1800km road journey from RAAF Base Amberley in Ipswich to their new home in Townsville.
The Mirage fighter A3-55 and a Winjeel trainer A85-403 aircraft were restored by members of the Static Display Aircraft Support Section from the Air Force History and Heritage Branch at RAAF Base Amberley.
They will go on permanent display at the RAAF Base Townsville Aviation Heritage Centre in the lead up to the Royal Australian Air Force’s centenary and be a reminder of Air Force’s history.
Director Air Force Heritage Group Captain Peter Norford said preserving RAAF’s past was an important part of celebrating Air Force’s centenary next year.
“Celebrating Air Force’s 100 years of service is a time to reflect on our past, the evolution of our aircraft and technology and also look forward to the future as we transition to a fifth generation Air Force,” Group Captain Norford said.
The Mirage and Winjeel are iconic RAAF aircraft which were flown over several decades around Australia and overseas.
Group Captain Norford said he was thankful to everyone involved.
“Thank you to the members of the Static Display Aircraft Support Section for their time and dedication in restoring these aircraft over a period of more than six months,” he said.
“Also to the various agencies including Queensland Police, LINFOX and councils who assisted with the complex tasks of moving these aircraft by road convoy to their new home.”
The Mirage fighter jet 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.