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CAC Wackett

The Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation of Australia developed the CAC Wackett Trainer, which marked their first endeavour in designing an aircraft internally.

The aircraft was named after its creator, Lawrence Wackett.

Recognizing the significant role played by the CAC Manager, the Royal Australian Air Force decided to refer to the aircraft as the Wackett Trainer, although it was commonly known as the Wackett.

The aircraft was specifically designed to adhere to RAAF Specification 3/38, which called for an ab initio training aircraft.

This particular type was characterised by its tandem seat configuration, fixed tailwheel-undercarriage, and monoplane structure.

The fuselage was constructed using steel tube and fabric, while the wings and tail were crafted from wood.

Despite the seemingly straightforward design, the construction of the initial CA-2 prototypes faced delays, with the first prototype not being completed until September 1939, due in part to the ongoing construction of the CAC factory at the time.

The first prototype took to the skies for the first time on 19 September 1939, equipped with a Gypsy Major series II engine and a metal DH variable pitch propeller.

However, it was soon discovered that the aircraft was underpowered with this engine.

As a result, the decision was made to replace it with a Gipsy Six engine, sourced from a Tugan Gannet, along with its wooden propeller.

This modification was carried out prior to the second prototype’s inaugural flight in early November of the same year.

Subsequently, the first prototype was also re-engineered with a Gypsy Six from a Tugan Gannet.

While the in-flight performance of the aircraft improved with the new engine, the added weight offset any gains in take-off performance achieved through increased power.

Consequently, a 165D Warner Scarab radial engine, coupled with a Hamilton Standard 2B20 two-bladed propeller, was installed.

Both prototypes were eventually outfitted with Scarab engines by mid-1940.

These modifications and adjustments underscore the iterative nature of aircraft design and development, as engineers and manufacturers strive to optimise performance and functionality based on real-world testing and feedback.

Several months elapsed before the RAAF made a commitment to the CAC Wackett Trainer.

This delay was partly due to the belief that the organization’s training requirements could be fulfilled by other aircraft types that were already being acquired.

Nonetheless, in August 1940, RAAF Specification 1/40 was finally issued, paving the way for the production of the Wackett Trainer.

The inaugural flight of the first CA-6 production Wackett Trainer took place on 6 February 1941, and it was put into service the following month.

During the initial half of 1941, the availability of Hamilton Standard 2B20 propellers and Scarab engines, both of which were being manufactured locally by de Havilland Australia, was inconsistent.

This posed a challenge as the propeller supply issue persisted until October of that year. Consequently, a significant number of non-airworthy aircraft accumulated at the CAC factory located at Fishermans Bend.

However, this period of downtime presented an opportunity to incorporate necessary modifications to the lower wing skins, as operational use had revealed their need.

With the outbreak of the Pacific War, production of the Wackett Trainer was ramped up to accommodate the manufacturing of the Boomerang aircraft.

The final Wackett Trainer was delivered to the Royal Australian Air Force on 22 April 1942, marking the conclusion of its production and service to the RAAF.


CA-2 Wackett Trainer 

Prototypes, two aircraft were built.

CA-6 Wackett Trainer 

Two-seat basic trainer aircraft for the RAAF.

200 aircraft were built.





7.92 m (26 ft 0 in)


11.28 m (37 ft 0 in)


3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)

Empty weight

866 kg (1,910 lb)

Gross weight

1,175 kg (2,590 lb)


1 × Warner Scarab, 130 kW (175 hp)


Maximum speed

185 km/h (115 mph, 100 kn)


684 km (425 mi, 369 nmi)

Wirraway to Hornet – A history of the Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation Pty Ltd-Brian Hill.
Aircraft and Markings of the R.A.A.F. 1939-45-Geoffrey Pentland.
RAAF Camouflage & Markings, 1939-1945, Vol 1-Geoffrey Pentland.
Royal Australian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force in the Pacific-Rene J. Francillon & Frank F. Smith.
Aircraft (Slipstream) Newspaper, September 1940.









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