Home' Air Force News : March 28th 2013 Contents 3
March 28, 2013
CAF AIRMSHL Geoff Brown said
it was a rare honour to celebrate the
100th anniversary of one of his units,
particularly one with such a rich and
"Being formed at Point Cook
on March 7, 1913, Central Flying
School (CFS) is the oldest military
aviation unit in Australia and one of
the oldest in the world, so it really is
something to celebrate," AIRMSHL
"CFS has a fine heritage, a first-
class history that stretches back to
the very beginnings of military avia-
tion in Australia, and a tradition of
excellence and professionalism that
Since its inception, several thou-
sand personnel have passed through
CFS as students or staff and the
school has operated more than 50
different types of aircraft.
While the unit's history officially
began in 1911 when the Australian
Military Board recommended the
formation of an Aviation Corps,
it was possible to trace the begin-
nings of CFS back to 1909 when the
Department of Defence recognised
the potential of aviation.
In 1912, Lieutenants Henry Petre
and Eric Harrison were selected to
establish CFS, beginning with four
mechanics, three other staff and five
Looking back at the birth
of Australian aviation
A STORY LIKE NO OTHER
The Australian Military
Board recommended the
formation of an Aviation
Corps in 1911.
Well-known aviators LTs
Henry Petre and Eric
Harrison were selected as
pilots in 1912, joined by
announced the formation
of an Aviation Flying Corps
and a flying school, later
to be named Central Flying
School, on March 7, 1913.
The first military flight in a
Bristol Boxkite was made
by LT Eric Harrison on
March 1, 1914. Australia's
first aircraft accident
also occurred that same
day when LT Harrison
snagged the tailplane of
his Deperdussin aircraft in
The first flying course
began on August 17, 1914,
with four students, includ-
ing LT Richard Williams,
who later became known
as "the father of the RAAF"
as the first RAAF Chief of
From 1914 to 1918, CFS
trained 152 pilots.
The Australian Flying
Corps was disbanded in
1919, including CFS.
The RAAF was formed on
March 31, 1921, and the
remnants of CFS became
the Flying Training School,
later to become No 1
Flying Training School.
CFS was re-formed on
April 29, 1940.
Between 1940 and 1947,
CFS operated out of
aerodromes at Camden,
Tamworth, Parkes and
CFS moved to East Sale in
December 1947 and began
the current series of Flying
Instructor Courses (FICs).
From 1940 to 1945, CFS
trained more than 3600
Since 1948, 172 FICs have
graduated almost 2000 fly-
The Red Sales aerobatic
team formed in 1961, fly-
ing four Vampire jets.
The Red Sales crashed
during training on August
15, 1962, killing all four
pilots and two additional
The Telstars aerobatic team
was formed shortly after
the Red Sales accident.
It flew Vampire and later
MB-326H Macchi jets but
was disbanded in 1968.
The Roulettes aero-
batic team was formed in
August 1970, flying Macchi
jets until 1989 when the
Macchi was replaced with
The first Roulettes display
flown in PC-9/As was in
In 1978, CFS was pre-
sented with the Queen's
aircraft including a Bristol Boxkite
for initial training.
The first flying course in 1914
had just four students, including
AIRMSHL Sir Richard Williams --
the RAAF's first Chief of Air Staff.
The Aviation Flying Corps was
disbanded in December 1919, includ-
ing CFS -- having trained 152 pilots.
With the formation of the RAAF
in March 1921, the remnants of
CFS was formed into No. 1 Flying
Training School (1FTS) for all basic
CFS was re-formed in April 1940,
seven months after Britain declared
war against Germany during World
War II. The unit had a number of
homes including Camden, Tamworth,
Parkes and Point Cook before being
moved to its current home of East
Sale in November 1947.
With 1FTS now responsible for
initial pilot training, CFS moved into
conducting flying instructor training
-- which has remained its core func-
tion to this day -- with the first course
graduating in June 1948.
AIRMSHL Brown said CFS had
some impressive statistics in relation
to instructor training.
"During World War II, CFS
trained 3600 instructors -- a phenom-
enal effort," he said.
"From 1948 to the present, almost
2000 instructors have graduated from
CFS, which is a tremendous achieve-
ment. I don't think I go too far in
saying that these 2000 have in many
respects formed the backbone of the
Air Force since WWII. Our flying
instructors are the linchpin in our
ability to train pilots and generate air
power for Australia's security.
"I am enormously proud of the
tradition of teaching and learning
that CFS has 'lived' this past 100
years, developing a body of profes-
sional airmen, skilled in their trade
and expert in their business."
Air Force will celebrate a cente-
nary of Australian military aviation
next year with an air pageant at Point
Cook on March 1-2.
CROWD PLEASERS: Above,
the Roulettes taxi out for a
flying display for CFS's 100th
anniversary celebrations. Left,
an ex-Rhodesian Air Force
Vampire, which joined the flying
display, and the CFS Air Force
Balloon in the background.
Photos: CPL Aaron Curran
OVER THE TOP: A
Winjeel from the RAAF
Museum conducts a
flying display at the
PIONEERS: Left, CAPT Eric Harrison, Chief Flying
Instructor and Commandant of CFS from 1915-16,
in a Bristol Boxkite. Below, a CFS Boxkite on the
Point Cook tarmac in 1916.
Historical photos courtesy the RAAF Museum
NO. 1: The first pilots' course
with LTs Henry Petre and Eric
Harrison at Point Cook in 1914.
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