Wirraway 458

Mudgee Airshow June 1995
Mudgee Airshow June 1995

Rob Greinert acquired Wirraway 458, eventually forming a syndicate comprising six members, including Jack Curtis, Doug Haywood, Iain McLeay, Owen and Ray Seaver (and later, Brian Parkinson).

The aircraft was lovingly restored and became the third airworthy Wirraway registered by August 17 1994. VH-WRX participated in a number handling displays at various airshows throughout Australia (Family Days at Nowra were among Owen's favourites).

Thin Red Line The Wirraway also made an appearance disguised as a Douglas Dauntless dive bomber in the movie THE THIN RED LINE(1998). Owen completed roughly forty flying hours for the movie, with all but a few minutes relegated to the cutting room floor.  While Owen was involved in the filming of the movie he was required to perform a great deal of low level flying and was thrilled to have the opportunity to demonstrate the best of his skills.

These photos show Phil Lloyd and some of the team at Classic Aviation at work on the restoration of the Wirraway.
Phil Lloyd Classic Aviation Team


About the Wirraway

The Wirraway was a licence built variant of the North American NA-33 Texas/Harvard/SNJ series.  Powered by a single Pratt & Whitney S1H1-G Wasp 9 cylinder radial engine rated at 600Hp, the CA-16 Wirraway had a maximum speed of 205 miles per hour and a cruising speed of 182 miles per hour at a maximum ceiling of 23,000 feet.  Their range was 850 miles (on a 92 gallon tank).

With a wing span of 43 feet, length of 27 feet 10 inches, and height of 12 feet 9 inches, they weighed 3,980 lb and 6,595 lb when fully laden. The armament consisted of two .303 Browning machine guns with one fixed on a Vickers machine gun swivel.

CAC Wirraway

Owen was a member of many associations including the Australian Warbirds Association and admired the many dedicated members, and of course their aircraft.  I highly recommend their website which features many veteran aircraft, information about the Australian civilian aerobatic team - the Southern Knights - and many other fascinating facts and links.

Owen spent much of his time at Bankstown Airport and would often drop by our house for a cup of coffee and a cigarette on his way home.  He was very excited about an aviation museum being developed at Bankstown. This is a link to their website. The Australian Aviation Museum

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