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CT-4B Airtrainer

CT-4B Airtrainer

Engines
1 x Teledyne-Continental Motors IO-360-HB9
Thrust
157 kW (210hp)
Length
7.06m (23 ft 2 in)
Height
2.59 m (8 ft 6 in)
Wingspan
7.92 m (26 ft 0 in)
Weight
1,090 kg (2,400 lb)
Max Speed
387 km/h (240 mph, 209 kts)
Ceiling
5,550 m (18,200 ft)
Range
963 km (599 mi, 520 nm)

Description of Aircraft

The CT-4 emerged from a design by Australian Henry Millicer, whose Millicer Airtourer first flew in 1959. Production rights were sold subsequently to Victa Consolidated Industries, well-known today for having produced lawnmowers.

The first Victa Airtourer flew in December 1961 and Victa produced 172 aircraft by the end of 1966 at which time it could no longer obtain tariff protection or a government subsidy to protect it from foreign imports.

As a result, the company sold Airtourer production to Aero Engine Services Limited (AESL) of Hamilton, New Zealand, which went on to produce 80 Airtourers in several variants.

In 1972, the Australian government announced that a CT-4 variant, the CT-4A, had been selected as a preferred training type over the Scottish Aviation Bulldog and placed an order for 37 aircraft at a cost of $3.2 million.

Production started in 1974 at what had become NZ Aerospace Industries (NZAI) and the first RAAF aircraft, A19-027, was delivered to RAAF Williamtown in January 1975.

Every RAAF CT-4 was delivered across the Tasman, most by NZAI chief pilot Cliff Tait. To accommodate the long overwater flights long-range fuel tanks were fitted and stops at Norfolk or Lord Howe Islands were necessary.

The first CT-4A basic flying course was conducted at No 1 Flying Training School (1FTS) RAAF Point Cook in 1975. 1FTS completed its final CT-4A course in December 1992 and then disbanded in January 1993, ending 78 years of flying training at Point Cook.

Meanwhile BAE in partnership with Ansett, won a contract to provide basic Defence flight training at its new Tamworth facility. New aircraft were needed and it was decided to purchase the CT4-B. That necessitated reopening the NZ production line, with the first batch of 12 new aircraft delivered in 1991-92. Primarily Army students were trained there as the new Air Force PC-9A course was not appropriate.

In 1993, Headquarters Training Command Detachment A was raised in Tamworth, consisting primarily of civilian instructors. The detachment also screened prospective military pilots at this time.

Basic Flight Training School (BFTS) was officially reformed in 1999 and quickly began tri-service training. Subsequently, the school acquired 14 ex-Royal New Zealand Air Force aircraft in 1999 and four ex-civilian aircraft in 2012, to make a total fleet of 30.

All flying training was conducted by the ADF with the provision of aircraft and support services from BAE Systems Tamworth. Flying instructors were from all three branches of the ADF with several civilian flying instructors from BAE Systems.

The school operated until the final ADF course graduated from BFTS in February 2019.
During its operation nearly 2,300 students had been trained, over 4,000 flight screening students were processed through the facility and the unit flew more than 280,000 flying hours.

VH-YCA (on display) was originally registered as ZK-FXJ in New Zealand in April 1991. The aircraft was exported to Australia and registered as VH-YCA on 3 July 1991. The aircraft was in service with BAE Systems, Tamworth, NSW from 1991 to 2019 and was gifted to Fighter World by BAE Systems on the 5 June 2020.

 

View Other Aircraft Displays

Exhibited in two hangars, visitors can walk-around, touch and look into the cockpits of such famous aircraft as the Mirage III, the Avon Sabre, the Gloster Meteor, the first Vampire jet built in Australia, the mighty F-111C and the F/A-18A Hornet. Also on display is a World War 1 Sopwith Camel replica, WWII Spitfire replicas, a PC-9A(F) Foward Air Control aircraft, Winjeel trainer and much more.

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