Nniiden CAC CA-25 Winjeel is an Australian-designed and manufactured three-seat training aircraft. Entering service with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1955 as a basic to advanced trainer, it served in this role until 1975. Later, it was used in the Forward Air Control (FAC) role for target marking until 1994, after which it was retired from RAAF service.
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The CAC Winjeel is a single-engine, two-seat, fixed-wing aircraft that was designed and manufactured by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) in Australia. It was developed as a basic trainer for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and entered service in 1955. The Winjeel replaced the older Tiger Moth and Wirraway trainers and served until 1975, when it was replaced by the Pilatus PC-9. The Winjeel was also used for forward air control (FAC) and liaison roles until 1994.
The Winjeel has a low-wing monoplane design with a conventional tail unit and a retractable tricycle landing gear. It is powered by a Pratt & Whitney R-985 radial engine that drives a three-bladed propeller. The cockpit has tandem seats for the instructor and the student, both equipped with dual controls and ejection seats. The Winjeel has a maximum speed of 260 km/h (160 mph) and a range of 1,100 km (680 mi). It can carry up to four 11.3 kg (25 lb) practice bombs or two 7.62 mm (0.3 in) machine guns for FAC missions.
The Winjeel was named after an Aboriginal word meaning “young eagle”. A total of 62 Winjeels were built by CAC and delivered to the RAAF between 1955 and 1958. The Winjeel proved to be a reliable and easy-to-fly trainer, but it was also criticized for being too stable and forgiving for aerobatic training. The Winjeel was involved in several accidents and incidents during its service, resulting in four fatalities and 15 aircraft losses. The Winjeel was retired from the RAAF in 1994 and some of them were sold to private owners or museums. The Winjeel is still flown today by enthusiasts and collectors in Australia.
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