Skyhawk A4G N13-155062 (875)
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Brief aircraft history:
- Delivered to RAN 08/71. Unloaded from HMAS Sydney onto RAN Lighter AWL 304 at Jervis Bay 11/08/71 then by road transport to Nowra.
- With VF805 13/05/74.
- On board HMAS Melbourne, ‘Spithead Deployment’ 28/04/77 to 04/10/77 with VF805.
- Crashed 02/10/80, HMAS MELBOURNE, Andaman Sea, 35 nm north of Sumatra, Indonesia Engine failure immediately following catapult launch. Pilot, LCDR Clive Blennerhasset ejected at low level with only minor injuries. RAN Ejection number 11.
Images of 875
Above: 875 during maintenance. The rear fuselage empennage has been removed and the engine Shroud can be clearly seen. The engine is running and the maintenance crew are checking for hot gas leaks in the Shroud, or for any other defect. The Nose Gag can be seen on the forward undercarriage strut in the top LH picture – essentially a screw jack to hold the Nose Landing Gear leg at a set length as power was applied. This ensured the jet pipe remained aligned with the Noise Attenuator. Shroud leaks probably contributed to the loss of at least two Skyhawks, but was not a factor in the loss of 875.
Details of the Loss of 875
Below: The sequence of photographs below, kindly provided by Clive Blennerhassett, shows the loss of 875 in October 1980. They are stills extracted from the cine film taken of every launch and recovery aboard.