The Moth 'Minor'
The de Havilland DH94 Moth 'Minor' first flew in England in1937, intended for use as an affordable and simple ‘club’ aeroplane. However, the looming Second World War caused de Havilland’s priorities to change, which resulted in only a relatively small number of these aircraft being built in England. Further limited production of Moth Minors was carried out in Australia for the Royal Australian Air Force. The RAAF used these aircraft in training, liaison and personal transport roles until the end of the war. Many Moth Minors were back in use as private aircraft post-war, but most fell into disrepair which has resulted in only a very few of these aircraft flying today.
Moth Minor RAAF serial number A21-42 was an English machine imported for civilian use, however things were so desperate for Australia in the early years of World War Two that it was ‘impressed’ into RAAF service, serving at various bases in Queensland and New South Wales. At the end of the war it saw some use once again as a civilian machine, resuming its initial civilian registration of VH-ACR, however it was not long before it too fell into disuse. For many years, it hung from the roof inside Gilltrap’s Auto Museum on the Gold Coast, then exhibited in various other museums until acquired by Mark Carr (who remembers seeing it as a child when visiting Gilltrap’s on a family holiday!). An exhaustive six-year restoration followed, and she finally took to the air again, now registered as VH-CZB, in 2008 after being grounded for some sixty years! The aircraft now enjoys a new lease on life as one of the oldest airworthy ex-RAAF aircraft in Australia.
Structure: fuselage and main wing structure wood, covered with plywood and fabric. Wing trailing edges and tail surfaces consist of wooden spars and ribs, covered with fabric. The wings can be folded back under the tail for storage.
Engine: de Havilland ‘Gipsy Minor’, ‘inverted in-line’ four cylinders, air cooled, 90 horse power
Wing span: 11.15 m Length: 7.44 m
Maximum take-off weight: 703 kg
Cruise speed: 90 knots (166 kph) Landing speed: 50 knots (92 kph)
The Chinese Nanchang CJ-6A (CJ stands for Chuji Jiaolianji, or 'Primary Trainer') is a more powerful version of the CJ-6, which first flew in 1958. The CJ-6A is believed to still be in service with the Chinese 'People's Liberation Army Air Force' and 'People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force' (PLANAF) today, along with other air forces including that of North Korea. The CJ-6A's design is based on Cold War Soviet philosophy, and includes the use of compressed air for starting the engine, retracting and extending the landing gear, flap operation and wheel brakes. Air is pressurised by a compressor driven by the engine, stored in a tank, and piped to the various services. There is a separate air tank to operate the services if the normal supply fails. The CJ-6A's structure is of aluminium 'stressed skin'. Control surfaces are metal frames covered with stretched fabric. Fuel is carried in two tanks, each located inside each wing structure. 'Nanchangs' are popular in Australia, the U.S. and Europe as affordable and reliable 'warbirds' with good performance and fuel economy.
Nanchang CJ–6A, VH–LNM, was manufactured in China in 1983. Imported into Australia in 2003, it was an ex-People's Liberation Army Air Force machine, painted in a dull green colour. After refurbishment, paint stripping and inspection, it was repainted in the colours of the People's Liberation Army Navy Air Force (PLANAF), or more simply, the air arm of the Chinese Navy. Some Western flight instruments have been fitted to the cockpits, and a 'bubble' canopy has been fitted to the front cockpit for improved visibility, however the configuration of the rear cockpit has been left as close as possible to that used by Red Chinese pilots during the Cold War.
Engine: Huosai 6A nine-cylinder air cooled radial engine of 285 hp, geared to drive a metal constant-speed (variable pitch) propeller. The red 'gills' on the front of the engine are shutters controlled by the pilot to regulate airflow for engine temperature control.
Wing span: 10.22 m Length: 8.46 m Empty weight: 1,068 kg Maximum take-off weight: 1,400 kg Cruise speed: 140 knots (226 kph) Maximum speed (diving): 190 knots (306 kph) Landing speed: 75 knots (138 kph)
The CAC (Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation) CA-25 'Winjeel' (an Aboriginal word for 'young eagle'), first flew at Fisherman's Bend, near Melbourne, in 1951. Australian designed and built, it replaced both the Tiger Moth and the Wirraway training aircraft. Australia's Army, Navy and Air Force pilots, including those who served in the Viet Nam War, were taught to fly on it during the Cold War years until it was replaced in the mid-seventies by the CT-4A Airtrainer. Some Winjeels were retained by the RAAF, and they soldiered on as Forward Air Control (FAC) aircraft, whose role was to mark ground targets with smoke bombs and to direct fighter strikes onto them. The last Winjeel retired from RAAF service in 1994, but the type is still remembered fondly by most ex-military pilots, including those who later served on Winjeels as Qualified Flying Instructors.
Winjeel RAAF serial number A85-443 (presented as A85-404) was a typical Winjeel which served in the training role, mainly at RAAF Point Cook, Victoria. It was later modified as a FAC aircraft, painted in camouflage and based at RAAF Williamtown, NSW until its retirement. It was acquired by Mark Carr in 2009, overhauled and restored to training configuration. It was also repainted in more eye-catching colours to represent a Winjeel which was attached to the RAAF's VIP transport squadron, No. 34, based at RAAF Fairbairn, ACT during the late nineteen fifties. The distinctive blue 'flash' and 34 Squadron crest on the sides of the fuselage, absence of the large 'buzz number' on the engine cowling, and the different location of the red, white and blue fin 'flash' on the tail were distinguishing features of the 34 Squadron Winjeels.
Now with its civilian registration of VH-CZE, Winjeel - 443 now enjoys a new lease on life with Mark's company, Military Air Training Heritage Pty Ltd, which is dedicated to the display and operation of historic training aircraft. All money raised from Adventure Flights helps to keep these aircraft in the air, and your support is greatly appreciated. The Winjeel is unusual among military trainers, as it has a seat for a second passenger in the rear of its large cockpit. Adventure Flights are available for two passengers at once in the Winjeel at no extra cost! The aircraft is aerobatic, however aerobatics cannot be flown when carrying a passenger in the rear seat.
Structure: aluminium 'stressed skin' joined with lots of rivets! Control surfaces are fabric over metal frames.
Engine: American-made Pratt and Whitney R-985 'Wasp Junior' of 450 horsepower. The engine is an air-cooled, nine-cylinder radial, supercharged to 36" of boost at maximum power. It drives a metal constant-speed (variable pitch) propeller.
Wing span: 11.78 m Length: 8.55 m
Empty weight: 1,595 kg
Maximum take-off weight: 2,086 kg
Cruise speed: 120 knots (222 kph)
Maximum speed (diving): 220 knots (407 kph)
Landing speed: 75 knots (138 kph)