Before Venturing off to see the Avalon International Air show we took a break to pop into the nearby Point Cook RAAF museum to take in some history of the Australian air force. Several unique and interesting types are housed here and we took lots of pictures to show you around...
Where: RAAF Museum Point Cook
When Friday 27th Feb 2015
When Friday 27th Feb 2015
Tuesday to Friday: 10am–3pm
Weekends and Public Holidays: 10am–5pm
The Museum is closed on Mondays, Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Admission to the RAAF Museum is FREE, however, donations are gratefully accepted
The RAAF Museum is currently housed at Point Cook (30km South of Melbourne in Australia.) It is the birthplace of the Australian Flying Corps and the Royal Australian Air Force, the museum tells one of Australia's most important aviation stories, that of the second oldest air force in the world. We popped in before we took the weekend at the Australian International airshow at Avalon which is also just down the road not a-ways. Lucky for us there was a bustling museum and even a take-off scheduled for out on the airfield that day!Here is a rundown of the museum, hangar by hangar - we have used the museum’s plaques to let you know the proper info on each of the aircraft we saw…
After a brief and very helpful welcome by the staff at the entrance (and the gift shop), we were shown just how to sequentially go through this museum to get the most out of the visiting experience.
The heritage gallery...
Inside this museum section, you are shown a large range of personal effects, flying gear and equipment and engines plus artefacts from a certain theatre or time of operation of the RAAF – this is what was on display in the halls which chronicle a century of Military flight...
And then upstairs to the museum walk through time.
And a novel publication...
There are several items of interest in the hangars as well - especially in the Technology Hangar
The training Hangar...
Next, we go into the Training Hangar in which we meet our first aircraft. In all aspects of military life, training is the very first step taken by people, whether they are new recruits or experienced staff changing roles or responsibilities. The RAAF has an extensive network of training organisations, and over the long history of the Service, has provided training for around half a million personnel. This exhibit looks at some of the various aspects of RAAF training, how that training has evolved since the Central Flying School commenced operations at Point Cook in 1914 and displays a selection of RAAF training aircraft from 1915 to 2001.
CT4A “Plastic Parrot”
Developed in New Zealand by New Zealand Aerospace Industries as a military training version of the Australian-designed Victa Aircruiser, the prototype of the CT4 first flew on 23 February 1972. Ordered by the RAAF as a replacement for the Winjeel, the first of 51 CT4s arrived in Australia in January 1975, with the final aircraft delivered in June 1982.
Nicknamed the "Plastic Parrot" in RAAF service, because of its lightweight construction (when compared to the Winjeel), and its green-and-yellow colour scheme, the CT4 commenced service as a basic training aircraft at No 1 Flying Training School (No 1 FTS) at Point Cook in late 1975. In addition to service at No 1 FTS, the CT4 was also operated by the Aircraft Research and Development Unit (ARDU) at Edinburgh in South Australia and the Central Flying School (CFS) at East Sale for training RAAF flying instructors. The retirement of the CT4 from service in 1992 also meant the end of military flying training at Point Cook, an activity which had continued unbroken since 1914.
A19-027 was the first CT4 received by the RAAF and served as a test aircraft at ARDU from January 1975 until October 1981 when it was transferred to CFS. It returned to ARDU in February 1982. A19-027 was transferred to No 1 FTS where it served until retirement in 1992. Although the CT4 fleet transitioned to the orange-and-white 'Fanta can' colours in October 1981, A19-027 returned to the original green-and-yellow colour scheme in September 1992 to mark the retirement of the type. A19-027 was transferred to the RAAF Museum in November 1992 and has been on static display ever since.
De Havilland Tiger Moth
The RAAF Museum's Tiger Moth was built in Australia at de Havilland Aircraft's Bankstown factory in 1942. Originally bound for the Rhodesian Air Force, shipping lanes across the Indian Ocean were cut by Japan and the aircraft entered RAAF service in November 1943 as A17-711. After a brief period of storage at Cootamundra, A17-711 was allotted to No 5 Elementary Flying Training School (EFTS) at Narromine on 22 May 1944 and moved to No 1 EFTS at Tamworth in June of that year. A17-711 was then placed into storage in October 1944.
After World War II, the aircraft was then rotated around various bases and units, including No 2 Aircraft Depot at Richmond, No 23 (City of Brisbane) Squadron at Archerfield and No 1 Initial Flying Training School at Archerfield. A17-711 was listed for disposal in February of 1954 and was sold to the Darling Downs Aero Club that April. Originally registered VH-BFF, the aircraft passed through a variety of owners and changed registration many times. Registered as VH-RTB in 1961, the aircraft retained this 'identity' until its purchase by the RAAF Museum in mid-1999.
Restored to its original RAAF colour scheme, the aircraft represents the RAAF's most important World War II trainer in the Training Exhibition. The aircraft has been returned to its original military configuration and wears training colours applicable to its wartime service.
Aermacchi MB 326
The Aermacchi MB 326 first flew in 1957, and during a production run of nearly 25 years, a total of 776 airframes were constructed, including 502 under licence. This made the MB 326 the most-produced post-war Italian military aircraft. The MB 326H, called the Macchi in RAAF and Royal Australian Navy service, was ordered by the RAAF in August 1965 after it was decided there was a need for high-performance jet training to prepare pilots for the Dassault Mirage then entering service. This was part of a trend that developed in the 50s and 60s to implement an "all-through" jet training syllabus, with pilots going from ab initio to advanced training on jet aircraft.
Of a total of 97 Macchis operated by the RAAF, the first 20 were assembled in Australia from Italian production, with the remainder produced by the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation (CAC) and Hawker de Havilland with an increasing level of local components. By aircraft A7-031, production aircraft contained approximately 85% local content. In addition, CAC also built the Macchi's Rolls Royce Viper turbojet engine under licence. The Macchi's main operator was No 2 Flying Training School (No 2 FTS), operating the type from 1970 until the final course on the type in 1991. In addition, the Macchi was operated by the Central Flying School (CFS) to train RAAF flying instructors and also in the lead-in fighter role by No 2 Operational Conversion Unit, No 5 Operational Training Unit, and Nos 25, 76, 77 and 79 Squadrons. The aircraft was replaced in this role by the British Aerospace Hawk from 2001. The Macchi was also flown by the RAAF's aerobatic team, the Roulettes, whose pilots and aircraft were drawn from CFS at RAAF Base East Sale.
Aircraft A7-001 was the first Macchi received by the RAAF and first flew in Italy on 14 April 1967, before being shipped to Melbourne later that year. Handed over to the RAAF on 2 October 1967, the aircraft first served with CFS familiarising instructors with the new type. In August 1968, A7-001 was allocated to No 1 Advanced Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce and was used to train some of the earliest RAAF Pilots Courses that flew the Macchi. Operating with the newly-renamed No 2 Flying Training School until August 1988, the aircraft changed 'jobs' in 1991 when it was transferred to No 76 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown to serve in the lead-in fighter training role. A7-001 carried out its final flight on 16 July 1999, with a total of 9403 hours on the airframe. A7-001 was then stored in Western Australia as a reserve aircraft until its transfer to the RAAF Museum in June 2000.
de Havilland Vampire T Mk35
The Vampire was initially in RAAF service in 1949 as a single-seat fighter. The two-seat trainer version was first ordered in October 1951 to introduce service pilots to jet aircraft. Mainly constructed by de Havilland Aircraft at Bankstown in Sydney, the first dozen fuselages were from British production. The initial order of 36 Vampire trainers was delivered by 1955, however, with the upcoming introduction of jet aircraft to the pilot's course syllabus, additional 68 Vampire trainers were ordered.
Previously, pilots were trained on Tiger Moths and Wirraways and converted to Vampires at an Operational Training Unit. With the introduction of the Winjeel to replace both of these types and the increasing use of jet aircraft by the RAAF, the Vampire was introduced to the student's syllabus before graduation. In this case, the aircraft was operated by No 2 Flying Training School at RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia. The first of the new T Mk 35 model trainers entered service in September 1957, and the new training system commenced in early 1958. In 1969, the Vampire was replaced by the Macchi as an advanced trainer. A small number of these aircraft were then operated by No 5 Operational Training Unit during 1970 pending the arrival of two-seat Mirage fighters/trainers.
The Vampire was also operated by the Central Flying School at East Sale to train flying instructors for the RAAF. This unit also used the aircraft in a number of aerobatic teams, including the "Telstars". Another distinction for the type is that the first ejection performed in Australia was from a Vampire trainer. In September 1952, Flying Officer Collins ejected from A79-601, the first production aircraft, prior to its official handover to the RAAF.
The aircraft on display was restored by Maintenance Squadron East Sale in the mid-1990s, and is a composite made from the wings and tail booms of A79-827 and the fuselage pod of A79-616. After display at the RAAF's 75th Anniversary Open Day at East Sale, the aircraft was relocated to Point Cook for display. The aircraft is painted as A79-616, an aircraft operated by Central Flying School, and wears the colours of the "Telstars" aerobatic team.
The Avro 504K
The Avro 504K was used as an elementary trainer by No’s 5, 6, 7, and 8 (Training) Squadrons Australian Flying Corps (AFC) at Minchinhampton and Leighterton in England during World War I. After World War I, the 504K, 20 of which were ordered in 1918 and another 35 were received as part of the Imperial Gift, became an important part of the newly-formed RAAF's operational capability throughout the 1920s. The Imperial Gift was Britain's donation of aeroplanes and equipment to the Dominions in 1919 to establish air forces. The Central Flying School (CFS) at Point Cook operated the 504Ks.
Additionally, 17 of these aircraft were used for the Second Peace Loan and flown to areas of Australia that previously had never seen an aircraft. The 504K was gradually retired from RAAF service from July 1928. All remaining examples were destroyed with the exception of A3-4, the sole survivor, which is with the Australian War Memorial. The Avro was the first training aircraft used by the RAAF that could be flown aerobically. This feature allowed pilot training to become more comprehensive and extensive with aerobatics becoming an integral part of the curriculum. The addition of the 'Gosport' tube allowed for better instructional conditions, with the instructor being able to clearly communicate with the student.
The RAAF Museum's Avro 504K is a replica constructed from the original drawings by AJD Engineering of the United Kingdom using original fittings, instruments and engine. The aircraft is airworthy. Painted as E3747, it represents one of the twenty Avro 504Ks ordered by the Australian Flying Corps in 1918 for the Central Flying School. Arriving in Australia in April 1919, E3747 was sent to No 1 Military District in Queensland during August 1919 for the First Peace Loan and crashed at Gympie on 17 September 1919. The aircraft was returned to the Aeroplane Repair Section at Point Cook in October of that year and was struck off charge in April 1920.
Designed to a 1948 RAAF specification for a basic trainer to replace the Tiger Moth, the Winjeel first flew on 23 February 1951. After an extensive period of testing and modifications to the two prototypes, the first of 62 production Winjeels flew in February 1955, with the final delivery to the RAAF in January 1958.
After initial introduction into service, the Winjeel replaced the Tiger Moth, with students flying 50 hours on type before conversion to the Wirraway. After Winjeel production had increased, the aircraft also replaced the Wirraway. Students then completed 90 hours on type during a 20-week course. When the emphasis of training shifted to jet aircraft, the syllabus included only 60 hours on the Winjeel, and students then progressed to the Vampire trainer. However, by 1968, the RAAF had decided to introduce "all-through" jet training, and the Winjeel appeared to have outlived its usefulness. This move was soon proven uneconomical, and two courses later the Winjeel was returned to service as a basic training aircraft, accounting for 60 hours of the total of 210 hours flown by students on course.
Winjeels were initially delivered to No 1 Basic Flying Training School (BFTS) at Uranquinty before the unit relocated to Point Cook in 1958 and was renamed No 1 Flying Training School (No 1 FTS). The Winjeel was also used by Central Flying School (CFS) at East Sale to train RAAF flying instructors. Other units had a Winjeel 'on strength' as a communications and liaison aircraft. Although replaced as a basic trainer in 1975 by the CT4A, the Winjeel soldiered on as a forward air control aircraft supporting RAAF and Army operations until 1995.
Maurice Farman Shorthorn
The Maurice Farman Shorthorn was designed and built in France by a pioneer aeroplane manufacturing company established by the Farman brothers. The Shorthorn became the first armed aircraft to engage in aerial combat during World War I. Its most noted service activity was a training aircraft with No 5 Australian Flying Corps (Training) Squadron in the United Kingdom and with the Central Flying School (CFS) at Point Cook. It was affectionately known as 'Rumpety' to the students because of the noise it made while travelling over the ground.
The first Maurice Farman Shorthorn was introduced into service with the Australian Flying Corps (AFC) at Point Cook in 1916 and allocated serial number CFS-7. A further four were ordered in 1917 and were allocated serial numbers CFS-16, 17, 19 and 20 and used extensively for training until 1919. One Farman crashed at Werribee during a training sortie, killing Cadet Duckworth, the first airman killed in military flying training in Australia. The remaining aircraft were offered for sale early in 1919 as these aircraft were being replaced with improved types. Mr Graham Carey purchased all four Farmans for his aerial services operating from Port Melbourne.
Powered by a French 80hp Wolseley-Renault air-cooled V8 engine, the Farman is made predominantly of wood and fabric. A complex maze of wires and struts hold the upper and lower wings in place, preventing them from warping in flight.
The aircraft on display, CFS-20, was the first of type into service, and until replacement by more modern trainers in 1919, was used to train pilots in the AFC for service both at home and overseas. In 1919, Mr R.G. Carey of Port Melbourne purchased CFS-20 for use in advertising, joy flights and barnstorming, registered as G-AUBC. Carey flew the aircraft until the 1930's, after which it was stored.
By the 1980's, the aircraft had virtually disappeared, and in 1981, Carey's daughter donated the remaining components to the RAAF Museum. After the completion of the Hawker Demon project in 1986, the museum began the restoration of CFS-20 for display. Containing approximately 30% original parts, and fitted with a 75hp Wolseley-Renault engine, CFS-20 was put on display in 1993.
From the Training hangar, we venture into the next step – Technology in the Air Force. Several aircraft showing the progression of technology in not only aeronautics but weaponry and RADAR are shown in this hangar.
Supermarine Seagull Mk V / Walrus,
Designed to meet Australian requirements, the Supermarine Seagull Mk V (or Walrus, as it was known in British service) was engaged as a spotter-reconnaissance aircraft. Designed by R.J. Mitchell, who was later responsible for the design of the Spitfire, the Seagull V was a metal-hulled amphibian powered by a Bristol Pegasus engine. Designed to be catapulted with the full military load from warships, the prototype first flew in June 1933. Often described as the sturdiest aircraft ever built, twenty-four Seagull V aircraft were initially ordered for the RAAF with an additional thirty-seven Walruses being delivered during World War II. Affectionately known as the "Shagbat ", the aircraft was said to be capable of performing an outside loop.
During April 1936, the RAAF commenced the re-equipment of No 101 Flight, Richmond, NSW, with Seagull V aircraft, subsequently forming No 5 (Fleet Cooperation) Squadron. This squadron was given the task of providing pilots, maintenance personnel and aircraft to fleet units, while still continuing the aerial survey role that commenced in the 1920s. One of the type's more unusual duties included working with the Fisheries Section to study the migratory habits of species, particularly tuna.
The Walrus on display, HD874, was delivered to QANTAS, Rose Bay, NSW, from the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm in September 1943, and was one of the second batch of Walrus aircraft allocated to No 9 Squadron in December that year. Repaired by QANTAS after an emergency landing at Cairns in June 1944, HD874 was then transferred to No 8 Communications Unit for use as a target-towing aircraft, the conversion to this configuration being completed by November 1944. In March 1945, HD874 was allotted to No 1 Flying Boat Repair Depot at Lake Boga in Victoria, for a 240-hourly servicing and complete re-covering of fabric surfaces.
In storage until 1947, HD874 was then sent to Maintenance Squadron Rathmines for servicing before issue to the RAAF's Antarctic Flight in October of that year, for the first Australian expedition to the Antarctic region since World War II. Nicknamed 'Snow Goose' and painted bright yellow, HD874 was transported aboard Landing Craft LST3501 to Heard Island and flew only once before being totally destroyed in a storm on 21 December 1947. Recovered by the RAAF in 1980, and transported to Point Cook, restoration of the airframe began in 1993 and was completed in 2002. Sections of the aircraft have been covered in a clear plastic film in lieu of the original fabric to highlight the internal structure of the aircraft.
Bell UH-IB Iroquois
Delivered in the third batch of Iroquois helicopters for the RAAF, A2-1020 was received from the manufacturers on 12 December 1964, and allocated to No 9 Squadron at RAAF Base Fairbairn in Canberra. With the departure of No 9 Squadron to Vietnam, the aircraft was briefly transferred to No 5 Squadron, also based at Fairbairn, before re-joining No 9 Squadron at Vung Tau in mid-1966. Operations in Vietnam included medevac, troop insertions and extractions, resupply of ground forces and support for Special Forces operations.
On 18 August 1966, A2-1020 was involved in the most significant Australian action of the Vietnam War. After a heavy mortar attack on the Australian Task Force Base at Nui Dat on 17-18 August, Army elements, including D Company of the 6th Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR) were tasked with sweeping the surrounding area to locate this strong enemy force. Heading east towards the small derelict village of Long Tan just 4000 metres from the base, a small group of Viet Cong troops was pursued into the rubber plantation adjacent to the village. Soon after entering the plantation, 11 Platoon of D Company encountered heavy machine gun fire, taking up a defensive position and suffering heavy casualties. Soon over 2500 enemy troops had enveloped the 108 soldiers of D Company, and the Australians faced being over-run if they could be isolated overnight. Initial contacts were so fierce that the unit was critically low on ammunition, and only helicopters could effect a resupply. Two helicopters of No 9 Squadron (A2-1020 and A2-1022) were assigned to the task, and loaded 520 kg of ammunition at Nui Dat. Due to a severe tropical storm in the area, the two aircraft were forced to fly at treetop height over hundreds of enemy troops to locate the Australian position. After a smoke signal from the ground, the two aircraft were able to drop the ammunition right on target, enabling the force to defend their position. After the resupply, artillery barrages and an armoured vehicle convoy forced the enemy force to retreat from the battlefield, suffering 245 killed and hundreds more wounded, while the Australian force lost 18 killed and 21 wounded.
With the re-equipment of No 9 Squadron with the more capable UH-1D model, A2-1020 returned to Australia in April 1968, for service with No 5 Squadron in the training role. Between 1970 and 1983, the aircraft was regularly rotated around units at RAAF Williamtown, NSW, RAAF Pearce in Western Australia, and RAAF Darwin in the Northern Territory in the search and rescue role, as well as returning to No 5 Squadron as a training aircraft.
With the introduction of the Squirrel helicopter in 1984, the UH-1B aircraft were finally retired, and in June of that year, A2-1020 was allotted to the RAAF School of Radio at Laverton as a training aid, along with a number of other UH-1Bs. After the closure of the school in 1993, the aircraft, along with A2-1022 and A2-1024, was transferred to the RAAF Museum.
In 2000, No 21 (City of Melbourne) Squadron began the restoration of the aircraft to its Vietnam War configuration, and the aircraft was relocated to Point Cook for display in 2002.
De Havilland Vampire FMk 30
In 1946, 80 DH 100 Vampires had been ordered as the first jet fighters for the RAAF, beating the Gloster Meteor into service by a year. Prior to these aircraft being delivered from the de Havilland Australia Bankstown plant, three RAF Vampires were imported from England for trials, none of which entered operational RAAF service. The order for 80 single-seat Vampires set the scene for 190 Vampires of varying types to be produced between 1949 and 1960. The variants included Mk 30 and 31 fighters and fighter-bombers and 110 Vampire Mk 33, 34 and 35 two-seat trainers.
Up until 1960, RAAF Reserve squadrons operated single-seat Vampires before these aircraft were replaced by the Meteor and Sabre. During 1955-56, some 50 Vampires were converted by Hawker de Havilland to act as target-towing aircraft, with the addition of a hook and release mechanism below the cockpit. This extended the service life of the Vampire by some years and allowed pilots to be trained in aerial gunnery techniques against a fast-moving target.
The Vampire on display is A79-375, an F Mk 30 that was received into RAAF service in October 1950, initially allocated to No 78 Fighter Wing. In April 1952, the aircraft was transferred to No 2 Operational Training Unit (No 2 OTU), and in October of that year, was briefly placed into storage. Returning to service in early 1953, the aircraft overshot the runway at RAAF Base Williamtown after a gunnery sortie on 18 March 1953, sustaining damage to the nose undercarriage and fuselage. In May 1954, the aircraft was returned to de Havilland Australia for repairs and modifications and was received back at No 2 Aircraft Depot in December 1954. Returning to No 2 OTU, the aircraft again returned to the manufacturer in November 1955, where it was converted to a target-towing configuration with the addition of a hook mechanism below the fuselage. Upon completion of these works, the aircraft served with No 23 Squadron from May 1956, before transfer to reserve status in August of that year. By July 1957, the aircraft had been transferred to RAAF Wagga, and in March 1958 was approved for conversion to an instructional airframe. Along with a large number of other Vampire fighters, the aircraft served as a training aid with the RAAF School of Technical Training. Due to confusion in record-keeping, the aircraft 'took on' the identity of A79-733, and was transferred to the National Aviation Museum collection in 1974, relocating to Point Cook in 1977.
During 2000, after many years of storage and some minor works on the aircraft, A79-375 was restored to display condition by members of the Friends of the RAAF Museum, and was painted to represent A79-876. A79-876 was one of only two RAAF Vampires known to wear this striking target-towing paint scheme designed to prevent the towing aircraft being confused with the target. Incredibly, the engine fitted to A79-375 was last logged as being fitted to A79-876, another training aid aircraft at RAAF Wagga.
Douglas A-20C Boston A28-8
Produced in the USA prior to World War II, the Douglas Boston was a light bomber and attack aircraft. Powered by two 1600hp Wright Cyclone radial engines, giving a top speed of 260 knots (480 km/h), the Boston could deliver 454 kg of bombs over a range of 1200 kilometres. Only operated by one unit in RAAF service, the initial Bostons for the RAAF were originally ordered by the French Air Force. This order was transferred to the RAF after the fall of France in 1940, and was diverted to the Dutch East Indies not long after Japan's entry into the war. When Java fell into enemy hands, the aircraft were then diverted to Melbourne where they were accepted by the RAAF.
The aircraft were allocated to No 22 Squadron at Richmond, NSW, and carried out anti-submarine patrols and coastal defence missions. The squadron was then moved to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to attack enemy troops, supply dumps and lines of communication throughout the Buna-Gona region. The squadron was re-equipped with A-20G Bostons in 1943 and then transferred to Goodenough Island.
Notice the painted over glazed surfaces...
RAAF Bostons often had four fixed forward-firing 0.50-inch machine guns mounted in the nose of the aircraft, the transparent sections of the nose were faired over with painted aluminium and the crew number was reduced from four to three. A couple of the Bostons operated by the RAAF also had a fixed 0.30-inch machine gun in the extreme tail. This gun was operated electrically by the rear-gunner. RAAF Bostons took part in the Battle of Bismark Sea and contributed in attacks on a large Japanese convoy headed towards Lae in Papua New Guinea.
One of the RAAF's original Boston aircraft, A28-8, or 'J' for Jessica, was delivered to Melbourne in April 1942. In May 1942, the aircraft was allocated to No 22 Squadron, and after flight testing in Australia, A28-8 arrived at Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, in December of that year. In July 1943, No 22 Squadron was transferred to Goodenough Island, and A28-8 carried out operations from that location until 12 December, when the aircraft crashed on Goodenough airstrip due to battle damage.
It remained at the site until the aircraft was recovered in 1987, along with five other wrecked aircraft from the jungles of Papua New Guinea, and returned to Australia aboard HMAS Tobruk. After some time at RAAF Bases Wagga Wagga and Richmond, A28-8 was taken to RAAF Base Amberley for restoration to static condition. In 1998, the aircraft was transported to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook for display. A28-8, 'J' for Jessica, is the only survivor of the 69 Bostons operated by the RAAF.
Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2
The B.E.2 was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and first flew in February 1912 with de Havilland as the test pilot. On 12 August 1912, it set a new British altitude record of 10,560 ft (3,219 m). It started production as a reconnaissance machine, and two years later formed part of the equipment of three squadrons. These were all sent to France shortly after the outbreak of war. The early B.E.2a and B.E.2b aircraft were replaced during 1915 by the B.E.2c.
In late 1917, the last front-line B.E.2e was withdrawn, long after the type was obsolete. It continued in service throughout the war as a home defence fighter with surprising success, and also as a trainer. Some 3,500 B.E.2s were built by over 20 different manufacturers: an exact breakdown between the different models has never been made, although the B.E.2c was almost certainly the most numerous.
In Australia, the newly formed Central Flying School at Point Cook started with two officer instructors and a few mechanics. The first military flight in Australia took place on 1 March 1914, and the first training course began in August with four student pilots.
The first four military aircraft ordered for Australia in July, 1912 were the RAF B.E.2a CFS-1 and CFS-2 and were supplied as advanced trainers along with the two Deperdussin ground trainers, while a fifth aircraft, a Bristol Boxkite CFS-3 for basic training was ordered in December 1912, with all five aircraft eventually arriving and being stored in Spotwood before delivery and erection at Point Cook, although the B.E.2a aircraft were last to arrive.
The two B.E.2a aircraft were supplied and built under contract by the Bristol and Colonial Aeroplane Company and some delays were incurred in their construction due to modifications and testing at the Royal Aircraft Factory at Farnborough. The first was flown on 15 October 1913 by Geoffrey de Havilland and the second was flown by Wingfield Smith on 17 November of the same year before being shipped to Australia on the S.S. Hawkes Bay and arriving on 3 February 1914. The honour of the first flight at Point Cook went to Bristol Boxkite CFS-3, with Lt Eric Harrison at the controls, on March 1, 1914.
Dassault Mirage III A3-92
Selected to replace the Avon Sabre as the RAAF's fighter aircraft in 1960, the Mirage was the first aircraft in RAAF service capable of flying at twice the speed of sound. Entering operational service during 1965, the Mirage served as the front-line fighter until 1988, making the aircraft the longest-serving fighter in RAAF history. Built under licence in Australia by the Government Aircraft Factories (GAF), 100 single-seat and 16 two-seat Mirages were operated by seven RAAF units.
The first Australian-assembled Mirage flew at Avalon airfield in March 1963, and this and the following 48 aircraft were built as Mirage IIIO(F) interceptors. Following aircraft A3-50, production switched to the Mirage IIIO(A) ground attack aircraft with slightly different equipment for this role. In June 1969, the IIIO(F) aircraft were modified to the ground attack standard, to increase commonality within the Mirage fleet.
In RAAF service, the Mirage operated with Nos 3, 75, 76, 77 and 79 Squadrons, as well as No 2 Operational Conversion Unit and the Aircraft Research and Development Unit, from bases across Australia and also at Butterworth in Malaysia. With the acquisition of the F/A-18 Hornet in 1985, the Mirage was phased out of service, and in October 1988 the last Mirages of No 75 Squadron were ferried to Woomera for eventual disposal.
After the cessation of Mirage operations, a number of aircraft were retained by the RAAF as training aids. This aircraft, A3-92, was one such aircraft and was used at the RAAF School of Technical Training at Wagga Wagga before transfer to the RAAF Museum for preservation.
Delivered from the GAF airfield at Avalon, Victoria, on 26 July 1968, A3-92 served with Nos 3 and 79 Squadrons at Butterworth, Malaysia, and No 77 Squadron at Williamtown, New South Wales. Withdrawn from service in May 1987, the total airframe time for the aircraft was 4037 hours.
We follow the yellow line outside to the rather clustered collection in Hangar 180 – included here are several unusual types not seen in many collections – it is a shame we cannot get amongst them but from the caged walkway, you can see these aircraft pretty well.
Catalina (under repair)
One of the most valuable aircraft in the war against Japan, the Catalina entered RAAF service in February 1941. Crewed by eight and capable of carrying as many as 20 people, the "Cats" were used for reconnaissance missions, bombing, mine laying, dropping supplies and air/sea rescues.
Cessna Bird Dog
In the late 1940s the US Army saw the need for a new observation and liaison aircraft which would be free of the shortcomings of earlier aircraft. As a result, a specification for an all-metal, two-seat observation and liaison monoplane was circulated to US light aircraft manufacturers.
Built as a manned version of the Jindivik pilotless aircraft, the GAF Pika first flew in October 1950 from the Woomera airfield. Known initially as 'Project C', two Pikas were built, and logged over one hundred flying hours in testing.
Built as a two-seat fighter version of the Hawker Hart bomber, the Demon first flew in February 1933. The Demon was to be the first two-seat fighter operated by the Royal Air Force after World War I, and was the last two-seat biplane fighter to be manufactured in significant numbers for the RAAF.
Developed as an improved version of the earlier Avro 631, the 643 Mk II Cadet was powered by the 150 horsepower Armstrong Siddeley Genet Major 1A engine, and was intended for use as a military and civilian and an initial training aircraft.
The RAAF had operated Dragonfly and Sycamore helicopters in the 1950s, and had been involved with the introduction of the Bell Sioux to Army service. But it was not until 1962, as the Iroquois was introduced, that the full capability and flexibility of the modern helicopter was realised in the RAAF.
RAAF Museum's Strike/Recce Hangar
Visitors can now view the F-111G 'Boneyard Wrangler', Canberra Bomber, F-4E Phantom and part of the tailplane from Lincoln bomber on display under the one roof.
These aircraft highlight some of the key developments in RAAF strike capability and the evolution of multi-role designs. The Lincoln aircraft was the last of the large, heavy payload, piston-engined bombers. It was replaced by the Canberra aircraft, the RAAF's first jet bomber and almost untouchable as one of the fastest and highest flying aircraft in its day. The F-4E Phantom introduced the RAAF to a new generation of strike bombers until the introduction of the F-111 which excelled for 37 years as the RAAF's most advanced 'swing wing' bomber.
General Dynamics F-111C A8-125
Following the retirement of the RAAF's last F-111C aircraft in December 2010, the RAAF Museum is proud to receive F-111C A8-125 into the RAAF Heritage Collection. This aircraft is the first of the RAAF's F-111C aircraft received in 1973, and performed the final landing of the type in Australian service on 9 December 2010. Since arriving at Point Cook in May, A8-125 has been re-assembled by a team from RAAF Amberley, and is currently in storage. F-111G A8-272 is on display at Point Cook in the Strike/Recce Hangar display.
One of eight F-111s to be preserved by the ADF, A8-125 holds a special place in the history of the Australia’s F-111 fleet, having been the first ‘C’ variant produced for the RAAF and also the first to touch down in Australia on June 1, 1973. Fittingly, A8-125 was also the last F-111 to land following the type’s farewell flight, touching down at RAAF Amberley on December 3 2013.
Part of the tailplane from Lincoln bomber on display
RAAF's F-4E Phantom.
The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) operated 24 McDonnell Douglas F-4E Phantom II fighter-bomber aircraft in the ground attack role between 1970 and 1973. The Phantoms were leased from the United States Air Force (USAF) as an interim measure owing to delays in the delivery of the RAAF's 24 General Dynamics F-111C bombers. The F-4Es were considered successful in this role, but the government did not agree to a proposal from the RAAF to retain the aircraft after the F-111s entered service in 1973.
The F-4C variant of the Phantom II was among the aircraft evaluated by the RAAF in 1963 as part of the project to replace its English Electric Canberra bombers. The F-111 was selected, but when that project was delayed in the late 1960s due to long-running technical faults with the aircraft, the RAAF determined that the F-4E Phantom II would be the best alternative. As a result of continued problems with the F-111s, the Australian and United States Governments negotiated an agreement in 1970 whereby the RAAF leased 24 F-4Es and their support equipment from the USAF.
The RAAF's F-4Es entered service in September 1970, and proved to be highly effective. Used in the air-to-ground role, they prepared aircrew to operate the sophisticated F-111s, and the intensive training program undertaken using the aircraft improved the RAAF's professional standards. One of the Phantoms was destroyed in a flying accident in June 1971, and another was repaired by the RAAF after it sustained heavy damage during a crash landing. The 23 surviving aircraft were returned to the USAF in two batches during October 1972 and June 1973. A former USAF F-4E is on display at the RAAF Museum in Melbourne. This aircraft, which did not serve with the RAAF, was presented to the RAAF by the National Museum of the United States Air Force in 1990, and is painted as one of the Phantoms operated by No. 82 Wing.
GAF Canberra B.20 A84-236
After retro fitment of modifications at GAF, A84-236 was delivered to No 1 Aircraft Depot on 23 October 1957, and after initial servicings and inspections was allotted to No 82 Wing in April 1958. In May, A84-236 was transferred to No 2 Squadron and subsequently deployed to Butterworth in Malaysia. Returned to GAF at Avalon in 1961 for a mainplane change, A84-236 returned to No 2 Squadron in January 1964 after storage at No 3 Aircraft Depot for six months. In 1966, A84-236 had corrosion repaired at Parafield before issue to No 82 Wing where the aircraft was held in Category B storage until June 1966, when it was returned to active status. In January 1967, A84-236 was allocated to No 2 Squadron once more, and was deployed to Vietnam that April.
Returning to Australia for incorporation of modifications in August 1967, A84-236 was then operated by No 82 Wing until May 1968, when allotted to No 1 (Bomber) Operational Conversion Unit for three months. The aircraft again returned to Vietnam with No 2 Squadron in August 1968. In February 1970, the aircraft returned for service with No 1 (Bomber) Operational Conversion Unit for another short period, and then went back to No 2 Squadron later that year. In 1976, A84-236 was transferred to the Aircraft Research and Development Unit at Edinburgh, until its return to No 2 Squadron in August 1980.
In July 1982, approval was granted to convert the airframe to an exhibit at the RAAF Museum, and A84-236 was ferried to Point Cook later that year. A84-236 has been maintained by the RAAF Museum in taxi-able condition and is regularly displayed at Point Cook.
Flying Displays at Point Cook RAAF.
We were lucky enough to turn up at the precise moment that the training aircraft were flying out to the Avalon International Airshow. If you catch these shows – which are normally held on every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 1pm. This program enables visitors to see, hear and smell what flying is all about. Best of all, it is absolutely free! Bookings are not required.
The Interactive Flying Displays feature a heritage aircraft in flight and may include an aerobatic display. Regular aircraft featured include the Winjeel, Harvard, CT4A, Sopwith Pup replica and Tiger Moth. Visiting aircraft, such as the DC3, Bird Dog or even a modern PC-9 are sometimes featured.
You will be able to ask questions of the pilot and hear his radio calls during flight. The program is ideal for families and children's groups.
several aircraft are scattered around the museum base - some under repair some as static displays..
Lastly, the Restoration Hanger where they have a few aircraft under restoration. Most prominently the Mosquito that occupies most of the space!
So that was Point Cook! – A great time had and some things I had never seen before in a museum – take a visit if you are in the area or if you ever visit Melbourne...
Check out the Point Cook RAAF Museum at their website
or their Facebook page to keep updated with their regular events calendar.
or their Facebook page to keep updated with their regular events calendar.