Old Jet Trainer/Fighter Aircraft based at Canberra Airport

By 20 December, 2007 29

I have always been interested but never able to get an answer on the make and model of what appears to be an early era jet fighter (or possibly trainer) based at the Canberra Airport. They are located near the intersection of Majura Rd and Fairbairn Ave. From my amateur knowledge of military aircraft, it’s shape looks like it was built in the early jet aircraft era after WW2.

Its been a while since I have stopped to look at the aircraft but to my memory, it looks similar to the Bell XP-83 prototype WW2 jet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_XP-83http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_XP-83). Obviously, that is not the plane but my desperate Google and Wikipedia haven’t returned anything else that looks quite as similar.

I’m hoping one of RiotACT’s fine readers would be able to shed some light on the history of this aircraft.  Was

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29 Responses to Old Jet Trainer/Fighter Aircraft based at Canberra Airport
#1
hingo_VRCalaisV612:02 pm, 20 Dec 07

OK this got posted before I could finish writing it, none the less, I think it contains the important details (except for that random “was” at the end).

If I recall, there is more than one of this aircraft. Any help is appreciated.

#2
Mr Evil12:06 pm, 20 Dec 07

I think you are referring to the Polish-built PZL / WSK Mielec TS-11 Iskra (Eng = Spark) jets – one’s blue and yellow, they other is silver?

#3
Mælinar12:06 pm, 20 Dec 07

Sure it’s not one of these ? linkie

#4
Thumper12:13 pm, 20 Dec 07

It’s an old Polish fighter from what I recall…

#5
hingo_VRCalaisV612:15 pm, 20 Dec 07

I think Mr Evil has hit the nail on the head. It actually looks more different from the Bell XP-83 than I had imagined. None the less, I was kind of on the right track ;) Do you have any more information on this aircraft? Was it used by the RAAF at all or was it just purchased by a collector? How long have they been in Canberra?

#6
Thumper12:16 pm, 20 Dec 07
#7
Thumper12:17 pm, 20 Dec 07

The RAAF have never used them.

i can say that with a lot of confodence given my mispent youth as an air force brat.

#8
Thumper12:17 pm, 20 Dec 07

ah… confidence, that is ;)

#9
Jazz12:21 pm, 20 Dec 07

sorry hingo, i was a little over zealous with the post button

#10
MissB12:23 pm, 20 Dec 07

My uncle owns a company which is based there, might be one of his planes…

http://www.lampa.com.au/

#11
Thumper12:28 pm, 20 Dec 07

I’ve seen that old warbird taking off before.

Awesome aircraft…

#12
hingo_VRCalaisV612:28 pm, 20 Dec 07

No worries Jazz, I got what I was looking for :)

Even found a photo of them at Canberra Airport: http://cdn-www.airliners.net/photos/middle/2/8/3/1226382.jpg
There are three of them!

Still, I’m fussy and would like to know the history of these particular Canberra aircraft. That might prove a little more difficult. They appear very dated, even for a 1960′s aircraft. Thanks for clearing up the RAAF issue Thumper. I was sure that the only jet trainer the RAAF used was the Hawk Lead-in fighter.

#13
Thumper12:44 pm, 20 Dec 07

RAAF also used the aeromacchi as a trainer.

http://www.saam.org.au/WhatsNew/Jindivik/DCP_2120.JPG

#14
hingo_VRCalaisV612:45 pm, 20 Dec 07

For anyone else interested, the following link shows photos of all the different aircraft at Fairbairn. Some interesting ones there including a Mirage Jet, The massive Globemaster and even bigger Ilyushin Il-76MD freighter. Some old Ansett photos and some different aircraft which arrived for APEC. Good stuff.

Here is the link:
http://www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?aircraft_genericsearch=&airlinesearch=&countrysearch=-+Canberra+%28Fairbairn%29+%28CBR+%2F+YSCB%29&specialsearch=&daterange=&keywords=&range=&sort_order=&page_limit=15&thumbnails=&calccount=1246459&truecount=false&engine_version=6.0

#15
sjp2:10 pm, 20 Dec 07

I love planes. I love going to watch them take off and stuff. It’s the shizzay

#16
flyingblind3:31 pm, 20 Dec 07

I think you’ll find that they are in a pretty poor condition due to CASA not too happy with the owners wishing to fly them. They are not the type of chaps with a long history of flying jets, let alone a rather limited performance eastern bloc,cold war relic one with very little history of maintenance or support.

Hence their dilapidated appearance and un airworthiness. Any body who’s goes up in one of those better have nine lives!

#17
Mr Evil3:38 pm, 20 Dec 07

They were imported from Poland sometime in the late-80s-early-90s, and they have no RAAF service history. I think they Polish air force may still have some in service as trainers, although they may have been replaced by more modern types.

The Blue and Gold one was used for awhile as an flying billboard/advert for the “Power of Canberra” campaign during Kate Carnell’s hour of power. I remember there was a lot of controversy about this as if I recall the ACT Govt paid the owner to have the Iskra painted and to cover costs of flying it at several events around NSW/ACT.

#18
hingo_VRCalaisV63:54 pm, 20 Dec 07

Just drove past there today while I was out at Brand Depot. The Red and White jet was the only one there. I could not see the silver Polish Air Force or the blue and gold jets. Browsing that airliners site, I found a photo of the Blue and Gold one at Bankstown Airport back a few years ago so they are probably airworthy. That being said, I would have to think hard before going in one after the unfortunate MIG-15 crash back in ’93.

#19
Mr Evil4:18 pm, 20 Dec 07

Apparently the MiG-15 that crashed near Narrabundah Baseball Park had a fuel pump that looked like it had been reassembled (most probably in Poland) with odds and sods bolts that were not the proper type for this part. The fuel pump subsequently started to spray fuel at high pressure all over the engine casing, which caused a fire to break out in that area and burn through the control runs. The pilot, Errol Kavanagh (an ex-RAN Skyhawk pilot with many years of jet experience under his belt) and a passenger were killed in the ensuing accident. Both ejection seats had been legally disarmed, but even if they were operational it was unlikely either victim would have been able to escape alive due to the seats being outside their limited safe ejection envelope.

A very sad case indeed.

#20
Mr Evil4:25 pm, 20 Dec 07

There are three Iskra’s registered to Canberrans:
(I have removed the owners deatils – for obvious reasons!)

VH ISX
Manufacturer: PZL WARSZAWA-OKECIE
Model: ISKRA
Serial number: 1H0701
Aircraft first registered in Australia: 23 July 1998

VH ISY
Manufacturer: PZL WARSZAWA-OKECIE
Model: ISKRA
Serial number: 1H-0705
Aircraft first registered in Australia: 09 May 1997

VH ISZ
Manufacturer: PZL WARSZAWA-OKECIE
Model: ISKRA
Serial number: IH0403
Aircraft first registered in Australia: 20 March 1997

#21
hingo_VRCalaisV64:37 pm, 20 Dec 07

Yeah I read the investigation notes regarding the MiG crash. Apparently there was no sensor to detect fire in that part of the plane and the pilot was unaware of the fire but did realise there was some sort of problem with the aircraft. If I recall correctly. he was circling the airport to make an emergency landing but the fire burned through control lines causing the plane to ditch head first into the ground killing both pilot and passenger instantly. Very sad indeed, especially for the passenger who got the unplanned joy flight.

The Iskra is still used in the Polish Air Force as a trainer. It is their longest serving plane and apparently very reliable. I’d imagine parts for these planes would be easily obtainable and therefore ideal for joy flights. I have never seen them fly but seems like they do as two of them have moved since I was last at the airport.

#22
Mr Evil4:42 pm, 20 Dec 07

Yeah, I saw one buzzing around about six months ago, but I imagine that like most turbojets they’d probably be quite expensive to operate.

#23
mgraham9:15 pm, 20 Dec 07

Information on VH-ISX
Aircraft Registration: VH-ISX
Aircraft Make: PZL WARSZAWA-OKECIE
Aircraft Type: TS-11
Aircraft Model: ISKRA
Aircraft S/N: 1H0701
Manufactured: 1970 in POLAND
TOW: 3717 KG
Airframe Type: Power Driven Aeroplane
Airworthy Category: Limited
Landing Gear Type: TRICYCLE-RETRACTABLE

Engine Make: INSTYTUT LOTNICTWA ENGINES
Engine Model: SO-3W
Engine Type: Turbojet
Propellor Make: NOT APPLICABLE
Propellor Model: AIRCRAFT NOT FITTED WITH PROPELLER
Fuel Type: Kerosene
Number of Engines: 1

First Registered: 23 July 1998
Registration Type: Full Registration
Certificate Type:
CoR Holder: WHITCOMBE, Derek
CoR Holder’s Add: 154 Woodgrove Close, , VIA HALL, NSW, AUSTRALIA, 2618
Holders Start Date: 10 July 2006

#24
mgraham9:16 pm, 20 Dec 07

Aircraft Registration: VH-ISY
Aircraft Make: PZL WARSZAWA-OKECIE
Aircraft Type: TS-11
Aircraft Model: ISKRA
Aircraft S/N: 1H-0705
Manufactured: 1970 in POLAND
MTOW: 3600 KG
Airframe Type: Power Driven Aeroplane
Airworthy Category: Limited
Landing Gear Type: TRICYCLE-RETRACTABLE
Engine Make: INSTYTUT LOTNICTWA ENGINES
Engine Model: SO-3W
Engine Type: Turbojet
Propellor Make: NOT APPLICABLE
Propellor Model: AIRCRAFT NOT FITTED WITH PROPELLER
Fuel Type: Kerosene
Number of Engines: 1
First Registered: 09 May 1997
Registration Type: Full Registration
Certificate Type:
CoR Holder: CLEARIHAN, Christopher
CoR Holder’s Add: 36 Mort St, , BRADDON, ACT, AUSTRALIA, 2612
Holders Start Date: 08 March 2006

#25
mgraham9:18 pm, 20 Dec 07

Aircraft Registration: VH-ISZ
Aircraft Make: PZL WARSZAWA-OKECIE
Aircraft Type: TS-11
Aircraft Model: ISKRA
Aircraft S/N: IH0403
Manufactured: 1968 in POLAND
MTOW: 3600 KG
Airframe Type: Power Driven Aeroplane
Airworthy Category: Limited
Landing Gear Type: TRICYCLE-RETRACTABLE
Engine Make: INSTYTUT LOTNICTWA ENGINES
Engine Model: SO-3W
Engine Type: Turbojet
Propellor Make: NOT APPLICABLE
Propellor Model: AIRCRAFT NOT FITTED WITH PROPELLER
Fuel Type: Kerosene
Number of Engines: 1
First Registered: 20 March 1997
Registration Type: Full Registration
Certificate Type:
CoR Holder: PENDON CONSTRUCTIONS PTY LIMITED
CoR Holder’s Add: Po Box 70, , O’CONNOR, ACT, AUSTRALIA, 2602
Holders Start Date: 19 December 2005

#26
mgraham9:19 pm, 20 Dec 07

The above is very public information, an example of a website where you can search VH-* registrations is http://www.rwy34.com/regsearch/

You can search all sorts of aircraft, including Qantas’ Boeings or whatever tickles your fancy. Good for seeing how old your tin is going to be when you fly on holiday.

#27
flyingblind9:28 am, 21 Dec 07

They are rather thirsty aircraft which is pretty much in line with jet engine technology of that era, one of the aircraft started,warmed up and taxied for a high speed taxi down the main runway then taxied back and shut down, nothing fancy.

Fuel used = 200 litres, cost = ?

Handling wise they are quite similar to the Macchis the RAAF used to fly, IE fixed thrust variable noise.

#28
hingo_VRCalaisV69:53 am, 21 Dec 07

200 litres? Damn! The fact that there are three owned by three different people/organisations is interesting as well.

They fly a bunch of these in aerobatic shows in Poland (Team Iskry) with red and white markings. Any chance the Red and White one in Canberra is an ex-aerobatics jet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Team_Iskry

#29
cyborgzr1:14 pm, 26 Dec 07

Only two of them are at Canberra Airport now. The Blue, Yellow and Red Feel the Power one (ex 403, VH-ISZ)was dismantled and put into a shipping container and moved off somewhere. The Silver one (ex 701, VH-ISX) has been moved over to outside one of the hangers over at Fairbairn and Red and white one (ex 705, VH-ISY) is still parked in its usual spot.

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