Skyhawk TA4G N13-154912 (881)  [NZ6256]

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New Picture (67)

Brief aircraft history:

  • First flight August 16, 1967. Delivered to RAN 11/67.
  • Unloaded from HMAS Melbourne onto Navy barge in Jervis Bay 23/11/67 then by road to Nowra.
  • With VF805 10/01/68.
  • Withdrawn from RAN service 30/06/84.
  • To RNZAF 07/84 as NZ6256. Converted to TA4-K specification. Later upgraded under Project Kahu.
  • See New Zealand Skyhawk page for RNZAF service history

Crashed into sea off Perth WA 20/03/01 after departing controlled flight during a tight turn and entered a spin.The pilot (Flight Lieutenant Phillip Barnes, 25, of Rotorua) ejected and was in a life raft for an hour before being rescued by an RAAF SAR Helicopter.

Above: Image by John Bartels

Below:  In a Nowra hangar awaiting a buyer…


We were intrigued by the photo to the left, which either has significant print colour distortion or shows 881 with an orange/gull grey paint job.  The straight probe indicates it was early in the aircraft’s life, but a search of all our resources has failed to find any mention of an orange/grey livery scheme, or even of an odd ‘one-off’ for a particular event. We’d be interested to hear if any readers know what was going on here!  (Image via FAAM).



In 1987 the Royal New Zealand Air Force celebrated its 50th Anniversary and to commemorate the occasion Skyhawk TA-4G NZ 6256 (previously N13-154903/881) received a special overall gold paint scheme. Supplementing this were traditional red / white / and blue bands, the stars of the southern Cross on the aircraft tail and a commemorative scroll under the cockpit.

NZ 6256 received its special paint scheme in December 1986 and after approximately a year of publicising the anniversary returned to the standard low viz scheme.

The accompanying photograph was taken at the Wings and Wheels day held at RNZAF Base Wigram in early 1987. Of note the Golden Skyhawk also attended 50th Anniversary celebrations at the  Christchurch International 50th Anniversary Airshow 28th and 29th March, RNZAF 50th Anniversary Celebration at Wigram 1 April, 50th Anniversary Airshow at RNZAF Base Ohakes on 4th and 5th of April and the 50th Anniversary Airshow at RNZAF Base Whenuapai on 11th and 12th of April.

Prior to the application of the full anniversary scheme on the aircraft the red, white and blue pattern had been hand painted on the port side over the RAN gull grey / white scheme.

Loss of ex-TA4G 881 off Perth WA 20 March 2001 – Account by pilot