View Full Version : Anyone here flown a Wirraway?

22nd Dec 2003, 20:06
Thought I might start a thread on Wirraway stories. For starters:

Wings Test at Point Cook 1952. CFI tells me to carry out a spin and recovery. No problem sez I - done lots of them. Some inadvertent - some deliberate. Cage the AH and DI, a limit 360 turn - run the mantra of Height - Locality -Gliding distance etc. Initiate stall and kick on full rudder (ever tried kicking it on smoothly?) Did five turns and called recovering. CFI says "keep on spinning trainee, just have a look at the left wing - its going to come off I think". At least we had parachutes and after all if the CFI says keep on spinning you don't say bulls**t, I'm pulling out - not if you want to win your wings, anyway.

Four more turns and the Old Man says that's enough trainee - take me home for a QGH. Did the QGH and the Old Man snagged the Wirra for a loose wing, I think. A few years later, an instructor was killed when one wing of his Wirraway snapped off during a rolling G pull-out during dive-bombing practice on the Werribee bombing range. I wondered if it was the same Wirra that I did the Wings test on?

chimbu warrior
23rd Dec 2003, 07:14
Wirraway notorious for dropping left wing in any sort of stalled condition. The manual contains a warning to this effect, and a particular caution to avoid full stall landings............for obvious reasons.

23rd Dec 2003, 07:17
Greetings Hudson! I also did my Wings test in 1952 so we must be contempories. Haven't had the experience of spinning a Wirra that many times though, one or two turns was enough. In another life I was part owner of a Wirra and am pleased to report that it was still a bitch to handle on the ground but OK in the air. Sadly it is no more.
Regards Oldanboldun.

23rd Dec 2003, 19:46
Our pilots course was picked up in a couple of buses from Wagga railway station and drove to Uranquinty as the first course to go there after the end of the war. At the same time, Wirrraways and Tigers were being ferried in from CFS and other flying schools. As our bus drove slowly along a dirt road that bordered Uranquinty airfield, a Wirraway passed very low over our heads and flared for landing. We had a perfect view. The pilot held off high and floated then the left wing dropped sharply and hit the grass. The Wirra then swung in all directions as the pilot finally got it under control with a badly bent wing tip.

And we all thought Bloody Hell ! - how on earth are we going to fly these kites if the instructors can't handle them? The pilot of the pranged Wirraway was a Warrant Officer Robertson.

In fact you could easily land the Wirraway on three points - in fact we were taught to go for perfection - the three point greaser. But if you held off too high, the wing drop was inevitable - until I think leading edge wedges were installed and that minimised the wing drop.

Six months later on my first Wirra trip (I had 60 hours on type by then) at Point Cook on the Advanced Flying Training School, my instructor who had a DFC and who had fought in Europe and Korea (his name was Squadron Leader Caryl (Nobby) Noble, demonstrated a short field landing with a 15 knot crosswind component. Better him than me, I thought. I had never landed on a runway before (Uranquinty was an all over grass field).

He held off with a trickle of power and like a flash the left wing went bash into the runway. He stopped the swing real good but I'll never forget his words which were something along the line of "Well that wasn't the best of landings, trainee, was it?

Who was I to disagree with a squadron leader? The wing tip was bent at 45 degrees. I'm glad I wasn't the PF then, otherwise I would probably have been out of the RAAF on my ear and forced to be a CPL and become a rich Qantas 707 captain in later years.