RAAF Base East Sale

RAAF Base East Sale (ICAO: YMES) is a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) military air base and training school, located in Sale, Victoria, Australia. The base is one of the main training establishments of the RAAF, including where Australian Air Force Cadets from 4 Wing (Victoria) have their biannual General Service Training as well as being home to No. 409 Squadron Australian Air Force Cadets. 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] The base houses approximately 700 air force personnel.[3]

RAAF Base East Sale
Sale, Victoria in Australia
RAAF Base East Sale Winjeel.jpg
RAAF Base East Sale Winjeel Gate Guardian
RAAF Base East Sale is located in Victoria
RAAF Base East Sale
RAAF Base East Sale
Location in Victoria
Coordinates38°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
TypeMilitary airfield and training school
Site information
OwnerDepartment of Defence
Operator Royal Australian Air Force
WebsiteRAAF Base East Sale
Site history
In use22 April 1943 (1943-04-22) – present
Garrison information
Airfield information
IdentifiersICAO: YMES
Elevation7 metres (23 ft) AMSL
Direction Length and surface
04/22 2,437 metres (7,995 ft) Asphalt
09/27 2,230 metres (7,316 ft) Asphalt
Sources: Australian AIP and aerodrome chart[1]


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.[4] 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 Gough Whitlam undertook training as a navigator. Other types used by 1 OTU included Airspeed Oxfords and Fairey Battles.[citation needed]

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.[5] 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.[6] 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.[citation needed]

On 24 November 1987, the first two of 67 Pilatus PC-9 aircraft for the RAAF arrived at East Sale.[7] This would become the primary aircraft used by the Central Flying School until the present.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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 in 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 2000 the nearby Dutson Bombing Range ceased to be used for bombing practice.[8]

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.[9]

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 Pilatus PC-21
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 Pilatus PC-21
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 incidentsEdit

On 29 October 1991 a Boeing 707 of No. 33 Squadron crashed into the sea 43 km (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.[10]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ YMES – East Sale (PDF). AIP En Route Supplement from Airservices Australia, effective 15 August 2019, Aeronautical Chart Archived 11 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Class starts at East Sale RAAF Base". ABC News. 18 January 2008. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Welcome to RAAF Base East Sale". Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 1 April 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2017.
  4. ^ "History of RAAF Base East Sale" (PDF). Department of Defence. p. 6. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2012. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  5. ^ "Too Little, Too Late? Fatal accident involving Red Sales aerobatic team near East Sale, Victoria, 15th August 1962" (PDF). Australian, New Zealand & Papua New Guinea Military Aircraft Serials & History. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  6. ^ "Last Telstars flying display". Air Power Development Centre. Archived from the original on 13 April 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2019.
  7. ^ "Australian Airforce Flight Training". Pilatus Aircraft Enthusiasts. 2015. Archived from the original on 2 March 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  8. ^ Luke, Sarah (24 April 2018). "Duston to house a new explosives facility". Gippsland Times. Retrieved 28 July 2018.
  9. ^ AFHQ (10 September 2015). "RAAF Base East Sale to deliver ADF Basic Flying Training". Royal Australian Air Force. Archived from the original on 23 June 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2016.
  10. ^ "B-707 lost in training accident". Air Power Development Centre. Archived from the original on 1 April 2017. Retrieved 17 June 2019.

External linksEdit