RAAF Base East Sale

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RAAF Base East Sale
RAAF Base East Sale Winjeel.jpg
RAAF Base East Sale Winjeel Gate Guardian
Airport type Military
Operator RAAF
Location Sale, Victoria
Elevation AMSL 23 ft / 7 m
Coordinates 38°05′56″S 147°08′58″E / 38.09889°S 147.14944°E / -38.09889; 147.14944Coordinates: 38°05′56″S 147°08′58″E / 38.09889°S 147.14944°E / -38.09889; 147.14944
YMES is located in Victoria
Location in Victoria
Direction Length Surface
m ft
04/22 2,437 7,995 Asphalt
09/27 2,230 7,316 Asphalt
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[1]

RAAF Base East Sale (ICAO: YMES) is one of the main training establishments of the Royal Australian Air Force, including where Australian Air Force Cadets have their annual General Service Training. It is home to the Roulettes aerobatic team. It is also now the home of the RAAF's Officers' Training School (OTS) following its relocation from Point Cook Base. East Sale was upgraded to house the new OTS, which had its first intake of students in January 2008.[2]


RAAF Base East Sale opened as a training base on 22 April 1943. Initially, the base was home to No.1 Operational Training Unit (1 OTU) equipped with Bristol Beaufort light bomber aircraft, relocated from airfields at West Sale and Bairnsdale. The base was primarily responsible for training air crew, but units from East Sale also operated in some convoy protection and maritime surveillance roles. Over 3,000 aircrew were trained at the base between its opening and the end of World War II.[3] In addition to the Beauforts, a variety of different aircraft types were operated from the base during this time, including the Lockheed Hudson on which future Prime Minister of Australia Edward Gough Whitlam undertook training as a navigator. Other types used by 1 OTU included Airspeed Oxfords and Fairey Battles.

Following the war, the RAAF Central Flying School was relocated from RAAF Base Point Cook to East Sale in 1947. By 1953, the school had received its first De Havilland Vampire jet aircraft. In 1962, four Vampire jets from CFS at East Sale formed "The Red Sales" aerobatic display team. However while practising aerobatic routines on 15 August, all four Red Sales crashed in formation after failing to recover from a manoeuvre, killing six Central Flying School staff.[4] Six months later, a second display team, "The Telstars" was formed, also flying Vampires and later Aermacchi MB-326 (Macchi) jets. The display team was disbanded in May 1968 due to budget constraints and a shortage of available Macchi airframes.[5] To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Royal Australian Air Force, the current Roulettes aerobatic display team was formed in 1970, initially operating Macchi MB-326s.

On 24 November 1987, the first two of 67 Pilatus PC-9 aircraft for the RAAF arrived at East Sale.[6] This would become the primary aircraft used by the Central Flying School until the present.

On 1 July 1989, 32 Squadron - formerly a bomber and reconnaissance unit during World War II - was reactivated at East Sale and equipped with Hawker Siddeley HS 748s. These aircraft were operated on general transport and training duties, including RAAF Navigator and Airborne Electronics Analyst training, and Royal Australian Navy Observer training. By June 2004, the squadron had completed conversion to new Beechcraft King Air 350 equipment.

In 1992, the RAAF restructured its flight training programs, handing responsibility for ab-initio training and screening to civilian contractors and retiring its fleet of CT-4 aircraft. The successful bidder to operate the Basic Flight Training School was the Ansett/BAe Systems Flight Training College at Tamworth, New South Wales using new build and ex-Australian and New Zealand Airforce CT-4s. Central Flying School operates four BAe-owned CT-4s for training military flight instructors.

In 2015 the RAAF announced that Basic Flight Training would be returning to East Sale in 2019 with Lockheed Martin selected to provide support for this new program using Pilatus PC-21 aircraft that will replace the current PC-9 fleet. Until this time BAE will continue to provide support to the existing training program in Tamworth.[7]

Today it remains the RAAF's primary training base, operating continuously in this role since 1943.


Unit name Force Element Group Aircraft
No. 44 Wing Detachment East Sale Surveillance and Response Group
No. 32 Squadron Air Force Training Group King Air 350
Headquarters Air Training Wing Air Force Training Group
Central Flying School Air Force Training Group PC-9, PAC CT/4 Airtrainer
No. 30 (City of Sale) Squadron Combat Support Group
Officers' Training School Air Force Training Group
No.1 Flying Training School Air Force Training Group
School of Air Traffic Control Air Force Training Group
No. 409 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets Australian Air Force Cadets
Training Aircraft Systems Program Office Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On 29 October 1991 a Boeing 707 of No. 33 Squadron crashed into the sea 43 kilometres (27 mi) south of RAAF Base East Sale while on a training flight. The aircraft stalled after an asymmetric flight condition was mishandled, causing an unrecoverable loss of control. All five RAAF crew were killed in the accident.[8]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]