Skyhawk TA4G  N13-154911 (880)

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(Image by John Bartels)


Brief History (courtesy ADF Serials): 

  • First flight July 21, 1967 piloted by Douglas Aircraft test pilot Jim Stegman at Long Beach California.
  • Accepted July 26, 1967 in a ceremony at the Douglas plant.
  • 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.
  • Displayed at QANTAS open day 1982.
  • One of the last four A-4s flying – 30/06/83 to 30/06/84 with VC 724.
  • Withdrawn from RAN service 30/06/84.
  • To RNZAF 07/84 as NZ6255,
  • Converted to TA4K specification. Later upgraded under Project Kahu
  • Donated by RNZAF to RAN Fleet Air Arm Museum, Nowra.
  • Transported from New Zealand by RAAF C-17A A41-206 arriving at Nowra 23/04/2012
  • Repainted in RAN 724 Squadron colours and returned to (visually) TA4G spec and currently on display in the Fleet Air Arm Museum in Nowra. Only surviving TA4G.

In 1984, following their withdrawal from service, the Skyhawks were sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force who undertook to return one aircraft to Australia for heritage purposes on their decommissioning.  

The NZ Government honoured this promise and the last Skyhawk was returned to Albatross in April 2012 in RNZAF livery.  The pictures below show its arrival, the initial welcoming ceremony and how the aircraft looked once it had been repainted in its original RAN colours.  The aircraft now has pride of place in the FAA Museum.  (All Images courtesy of Defence)

The Air Movements Training Development Unit Load Team unload the TA-4 Skyhawk after the C-17 Globemaster lands HMAS Albatross. A TA-4 Skyhawk aircraft donated to the Fleet Air Arm Museum by the New Zealand Government was delivered from Christchurch in a RAAF C-17 Globemaster after landing at HMAS Albatross. The Skyhawk will be re-assembled by the NZ Project Team and repainted in 724 Squadron livery before going on public display at the museum.

Above and below. The Air Movements Training Development Unit (ATDU) team unload the TA4K Skyhawk after the C-17 Globemaster lands HMAS Albatross.

The Air Movements Training Development Unit Load Team unload the TA-4 Skyhawk after the C-17 Globemaster lands HMAS Albatross. A TA-4 Skyhawk aircraft donated to the Fleet Air Arm Museum by the New Zealand Government was delivered from Christchurch in a RAAF C-17 Globemaster after landing at HMAS Albatross. The Skyhawk will be re-assembled by the NZ Project Team and repainted in 724 Squadron livery before going on public display at the museum.

Lieutenant Commander Peter Marshall (Rtd) sits in the A4 Skyhawk as Warrant Officer Max Poole looks on at the hand over ceremony of the A4 Skyhawk to the Fleet Air Arm Museum. The A4 Skyhawk has been returned to HMAS Albatross where it spent many years in service with the Royal Australian Navy before being sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force and operated from J Hangar for some years before relocation to New Zealand. The New Zealand Government has donated one A4 Skyhawk to the Fleet Air Arm Museum for display.

Lieutenant Commander Peter Marshall RAN Rtd. sits in the cockpit as Warrant Officer Max Poole looks on at the hand over ceremony to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

Retired Skyhawk Pilots, Current serving Australian and New Zealand Defence Force members and Civilian staff involved in the A4 Skyhawk outside J Hanger HMAS Albatross at the hand over ceremony of the A4 Skyhawk to the Fleet Air Arm Museum. The A4 Skyhawk has been returned to HMAS Albatross where it spent many years in service with the Royal Australian Navy before being sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force and operated from J Hangar for some years before relocation to New Zealand. The New Zealand Government has donated one A4 Skyhawk to the Fleet Air Arm Museum for display.

Retired Skyhawk Pilots, Current serving Australian and New Zealand Defence Force members and Civilian staff involved in the A4 Skyhawk outside J Hanger HMAS Albatross at the hand over ceremony of the A4 Skyhawk to the Fleet Air Arm Museum.

The TA-4 Skyhawk awaits delivery to it's new home at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, HMAS Albatross. A TA-4 Skyhawk donated to the Fleet Air Arm by the New Zealand Government in April has now been reassembled and repainted in 724 livery and is ready for display. The Skyhawk was introduced into Royal Australian Navy service in 1967 when the Department of Defence recognised that, without fighter protection, the RAN would be unable to meet its commitments to Australian forces overseas. The purchase of ten new McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawks greatly enhanced RAN aviation capabilities, taking the Fleet Air Arm into the supersonic age. The Skyhawk was also capable of carrying its own weight in fuel and stores and “buddy” refuelling by other Skyhawks. In 1971 the Skyhawk set an endurance record by flying 3379 kilometres from HMAS Albatross to Fremantle in four and half hours. In 1984, following their withdrawal from service, the Skyhawks were sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force who undertook to return one aircraft to Australia for heritage purposes on their decommissioning.

Above and below:  In its freshly painted RAN (724 Squadron) livery,  TA4 Skyhawk awaits delivery to its new home at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, HMAS Albatross.

The TA-4 Skyhawk awaits delivery to it's new home at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, HMAS Albatross. A TA-4 Skyhawk donated to the Fleet Air Arm by the New Zealand Government in April has now been reassembled and repainted in 724 livery and is ready for display. The Skyhawk was introduced into Royal Australian Navy service in 1967 when the Department of Defence recognised that, without fighter protection, the RAN would be unable to meet its commitments to Australian forces overseas. The purchase of ten new McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawks greatly enhanced RAN aviation capabilities, taking the Fleet Air Arm into the supersonic age. The Skyhawk was also capable of carrying its own weight in fuel and stores and “buddy” refuelling by other Skyhawks. In 1971 the Skyhawk set an endurance record by flying 3379 kilometres from HMAS Albatross to Fremantle in four and half hours. In 1984, following their withdrawal from service, the Skyhawks were sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force who undertook to return one aircraft to Australia for heritage purposes on their decommissioning.

Director Naval Heritage Collection, Captain David Michael RAN, welcomes invitees to the official handover of the TA-4 Skyhawk ceremony, held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Nowra, NSW. *** Local Caption *** The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), represented by Air Commodore Steve Moore, presented a TA-4 Skyhawk to Australia, represented by Commander Australian Fleet, Rear Admiral Tim Barrett, AM, CSC, RAN. The TA-4 Skyhawk was operated by the RAN before being commissioned into the RNZAF. New Zealand has gifted one Skyhawk back to Australia and has been restored and repaired in RAN 724 Squadron livery and is now on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Nowra, NSW.

Director Naval Heritage Collection, Captain David Michael RAN, welcomes invitees to the official handover of the TA4 Skyhawk ceremony, held at the Fleet Air Arm Museum, Nowra, NSW.

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Below.  From South Coast Register 23Sept13

SCR23Sep13