Skyhawk A4G N13-154906 (885)
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Brief History and Links:
- 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.
- Ramp Strike 01/09/71 by SBLT Phil Thompson on 2nd Night Carrier Landing on HMAS Melbourne.Aircraft recovered to Nowra and landed on empty fuel tanks. Aircraft took about a year to be rebuilt. See here for a comprehensive analysis of the ramp strike and subsequent landing at Albatross.
- With VF805 13/05/74.
Crashed 21/10/80 off HMAS Melbourne 200km SW of Columbo Sri Lanka due to catapult failure and premature hold back failure. SBLT David Baddams ejected and picked up by RAN helicopter with minor injuries. RAN ejection number 12. See here for a Touchdown article on the event and the rescue. Click here for a short video compilation of the ejection.
Ramp Strike – 01 September 1971
Left. On the night of 01 September 1971 SBLT Phil Thompson struck HMAS Melbourne’s ramp during a night deck landing. The aircraft was severely damaged by he diverted to NAS Nowra for an emergency recovery, thereby saving the taxpayer the cost of a Skyhawk. You can read his full account of the incident here, and see some associated diagrams and pictures here.
Ditching – 21 October 1980
Left. SBLT Baddams ejecting from 885 as the aircraft is dragged over the bow by a defective catapult shot. The subsequent Board of Inquiry considered the most likely cause was that the catapult track steam valves were not shut down during the launching sequence, brought about by the desire of the catapult crew to meet the planned launch time. You can read an account of the accident, including a statement by the pilot, here.
Below. The last sight of 885 as it sinks in deep waters off Sri Lanka. Baddams’ parachute canopy can be seen not far away (Navy image via FAAM).