RAN VF-805

RAN VF-805

Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.




VF-805 pilots KWF the Skyhawk.

Sailor playing TAPS
RAN 1975

ASLT Malcom McCoy - 17JUL75 - BuNo 155055, RAN-872





Patch

Above patches provided by Phil Thompson, except for bottom middle provided by Gary Verver.

Moto is "Over Sea and Sand"

Sources

David Weber

Handle

Callsign is "Checkmate".

Moto is "Over Sea and Sand"

Heritage

NOV 1940: Royal Navy establishes 805 Squadron at RAF Abukir in Egypt.

28 AUG 1948: WWII British Navy 805 Squadron transferred to the Australian Fleet Air Arm.

26 MAR 1958: RAN 805 Squadron dis-established.

31 MAR 1958: 805 Squadron re-established.

30 JUN 1963: 805 Squadron dis-established.

10 JAN 1968: VF-805 re-established.

02 JUL 1982: VF-805 dis-established.

24 NOV 2000: 805 Squadron re-established.

26 JUN 2008 805 Squadron dis-established.

Home Ports

NOV 1940: RAF Aerodrome at Abukir, Egypt.

JAN 1941: Crete

Post Crete: Egypt

Prior to 28 AUG 1948: HMAS Gannet, RNAS Eglinton, Northern Ireland

01 JUN 1955: HMAS Albatross aka NAS Nowra. Located near Nowra, New South Wales, HMAS Albatross is also referred to as NAS Nowra. Nowra is located south of Sydney.

Description: VF-805 A-4G Skyhawks over their home base.


NAS Nora, 1984, Aircraft Support Unit (ASU) outside of "B" Hangar. Provided by Phil Thompson.

Air Wings

1958 to 1982: HMAS Melbourne

HMAS Melbourne and Carrier Air Group including A-4G Skyhawks of VF-805.

Aircraft

Date Type First Received - - - - - - Type of Aircraft:

1940: Fairey Fulmars

1941: Brewster Bufflao

JUN 1941: Grumman Martlett III

Date Unknown: Seafires

1948: Hawker Sea Fury Mark11.

1958: De Havilland Sea Venoms Mark FAW53.

10 JAN 1968: A-4G Skyhawk

10 JAN 1968: TA-4G Skyhawk

28 FEB 2001: Kaman Super Sea Sprite Helicopter.

Deployments

28 DEC 1951: HMAS Sydney - Hawker Sea Fury - - Korean War

15 JAN 1952: HMAS Sydney

11 JAN 1953: HMAS Sydney

02 JUL 1953: HMAS Vengeance

05 NOV 1953: HMAS Sydney

25 MAY 1954: HMAS Sydney

27 AUG 1954: HMAS Sydney

30 JAN 1956: HMAS Sydney

20 NOV 1958: RANAS Mowra

09 FEB 1959: HMAS Melbourne

11 OCT 1959: HMAS Melbourne

OCT 1971: deployed to Hawaii area aboard HMAS Melbourne.

1982: last deployment aboard HMAS Melbourne

Commanding Officers

28 AUG 1948: ---------------LCDR P.E. Bailey

11 NOV 1949: ---------------LCDR C.J. Cunningham

23 OCT 1950: ---------------LCDR W.G. Bowles

28 JAN 1952: ---------------LCDR G. McC. Jude

08 APR 1952: ---------------LCDR D.R. Hare

21 AUG 1952: ---------------LCDR G.F. Brown

18 APR 1953: ---------------LCDR N.R. Williams

18 MAY 1953: ---------------LCDR A.J. Gould

26 JUN 1954: ---------------LCDR F.T. Sherborne

26 JUN 1955: ---------------LCDR R.E. Bourke

26 NOV 1956: ---------------LCDR J.G. Campbell

28 FEB 1958: ---------------LCDR B.H. Stock

20 JUL 1959: ---------------LCDR W.M.W. McBarron

30 AUG 1961: ---------------LCDR F.T. Lane

A-4G Skyhawk Era Commanding Officers

vf805-co-plaque-1968-82.jpg

Awards

Battle Honors: Crete 1941, Libya 1941-42, Korea 1951-52

Awards continued

No additional info

Events

Nov 1940: The 805 Squadron was established during WWII as a Royal Navy unit. After WWII it was disestablished, and then reestablished as a part of the 20th Carrier Air Group for HMAS SYDNEY.

28 AUG 1948: On this date, the 805 Squadron became part of the Royal Australian Navy, flying the Hawker Sea Fury Mark 11 Fighter.

1951-52: 805 Squadron embarked aboard HMAS Sydney participated in the Korean War. From Sept 1951, HMAS Sidney and 805 Squadron relieved HMAS Glory off the coast of Korea. For 64 days 805 Squadron pilots flow Combat Air Patrols and ground attack missions earning the CO, LCDR W.G. Bowles the Distinguished Service Cross and the American Legion of Merit. 805 Squadron lost three pilots in separate incidents.

26 MAR 1958: Dis-established.

31 MAR 1958: Re-established "805" flew the De Havilland Sea Venoms Mark FAW53 aircraft out of NAS Nowra and off HMAS Melbourne.

30 JUN 1963: 805 Squadron is dis-established.

10 JAN 1968: "805" was re-established as VF-805 and was equipped with the McDonnel Douglas A-4G Skyhawk flying out of NAS Nowra and from HMAS Melbourne. With wiring modifications the A-4G was capable of carrying four AIM-9B Sidewinder Missles, one on each of the four wing stations. "VF"-805 was thus better equipped to provide Fleet Air Defense.

Although photos show a/c with different squadron markings (as well as variations to them), there was only ONE ‘front-line’ or seagoing Skyhawk squadron in the RAN, and it was VF-805. For one reason or another, we ‘borrowed’ a/c from our shore based squadron VC-724 and as we didn’t have the resources to mark them up as belonging to us, we simply left them ‘as is’.

VF-805 was known as ‘The Checkmates’ and our unit markings (initially) included:

Red & white checker-board pattern on the rudder.

Last 2 digits of a/c side number (e.g., 87) high on the vertical fin, immediately in front of the rudder, and mall squadron crest immediately aft of the 3 digit a/c side number (e.g., 883) on the fwd fuselage (under the cockpit).
After a number of the squadron crests (which were decals) ended-up being digested by the engine, they were moved to high on the vertical fin, immediately in front of the rudder flutter damper access panel. Still later, they ended-up high on the f’lage sides, approx mid-way along the length of the a/c.
VF-805’s practice of painting the a/c flight controls (rudder) in a colour other than the USN specified Gloss Insignia White was frowned upon by the RAN’s higher authority and hence we reverted them to plain white. At the same time we considerably enlarged the red & white checker-board pattern and moved it forward onto the vertical fin, taking up the whole of the fin upwards from the lower edge of the rudder. The squadron crest was moved to high on the fuselage sides, approx midway along the a/c’s length. This scheme, when applied over the standard Gloss Gull Grey (all fuselage & upper surfaces) and Gloss Insignia White (undersides & flight controls) made for quite a colourful little a/c !
Still later, our a/c went to a so-called ‘air superiority’ camouflage scheme (Aircraft Grey BS 381C-693 Matt and Light Admiralty Grey BS 381C-697 Matt) and the bright red & white checker-board on the vertical fin was lost forever. In its place was a Matt Black horse’s head (the ‘Rook’ in chess) with the slightly inclined (to the rear) horse’s head facing forward. At the same time, the national insignia (still full colour) was considerably reduced in size and deleted from the underwing surfaces.
At one stage, while our a/c still ‘wore’ the Gloss Gull Grey over Gloss Insignia White scheme, we tried various representations of the horse’s head, sometimes on a circular red & white checkerboard background. We never ‘settled’ on this scheme for all our a/c however (much to the chagrin of our corrosion control team, who were carrying out all these paint & re-paint evolutions !) and at no stage did ALL our a/c appear thus.
Similarly, when we ran out of Matt Black paint (probably because of the above carrying on !), several of our a/c ended-up with dark grey anti-glare panels in front of the cockpit ! So much for ‘standardisation’.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the dates all these changes took place (we seemed to be forever changing something in the paintwork on our a/c !) and probably don’t have detailed photos of them, either, but I do know most of what happened over time. Laurie Hillier (down-under ‘Scooterholic’)

07 JUN 1970: Two VF-805 pilots, one RAN and one USN, set a new distance record.

27 OCT 1971: SBLT Hamilton landed his A-4G Skyhawk, BuNo 154908, RAN 887, on it's empty drop tanks at NAS Barber Point's foamed runway when VF-805 was temporarily disembarked from HMAS Melbourne. The wheels had been accidentally lowered at 450 knots during a dive at Kahoolawe Weapons Range.

01 NOV 1973: /sites/default/files/images-buno-154903-154910/154910-a4g-ran889-over-bow1.jpg

1974: BuNo 154912, RAN881, TA-4G parked with canopy up. Gary Verver Collection.

Date unknown: BuNo 154912, RAN-881, being towed ashore. Gary Verver Collection.

JUN77: BuNo 155067, RAN-877, aboard ship. Gary Verver Collection.

22 MAY 1978: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887, did a wheels-up landing, after losing a wheel during a touch and go on HMAS Melbourne. Leut B.J. Evans, RAN, statement of the incident.

23 MAY 1979: Loss of BuNo154909, 888. See images in the photo section below.

24 SEP 1979: BuNo 154907, #886 rolled off the deck of the HMAS Melbourne in a storm 355km off east Australian coast.

02 OCT 1980: RAN A-4G 875, BuNo 155062, crashed into the Andaman Sea, 35 nm north of Sumatra, after an engine failure. Pilot, Lcdr Clive Blennerhassett ejected, and survived with minor injuries.

Sandgroper 1982, RAAF Pearce: We had 4 A-4Gs there, the RAAF about 10 Mirage, USAF 8 or so F-16, and the USN sent 4 or 5 A-4s. They came from an aggressor squadron based in the Philipines. They were pretty tatty aircraft, but they knew how to fly them.

02 JUL 1982: VF-805 was disestablished and HMAS Melbourne (Australia's only carrier) was retired.

24 NOV 2000: 805 Squadron was re-established to fly Kaman Super Sea Sprite Helicopters from ANZAC Frigates. The unit is stationed at HMAS Albatross.

VF-805 hosted several US Navy Skyhawk Flyers as exchange pilots: LCDR Finan, Bob Stumpf,Lt. Mike Gump USMC, LCDR John Park, LT Mike Nordeen (who much later visited Sydney aboard a carrier as the Air Boss with Captain rank) Capt. White USMC

Unit Photos

805-booklet-page5.jpg

883-carrier-landings-off-jb.jpg

1965: U.S. Navy A-4C BuNo 144874, NH-I, traps aboard HMAS Melbourne. NOV 1964 to OCT 1965 VA-113 provided a detachment (Q) of personnel and Skyhawks for use as fighter protection for the Antisubmarine Carrier Air Group embarked on United States Ship Bennington CVS 20.
Pic 1 from "Boom" Powell
Pic 2 from "Boom".

U.S. Navy VA-113 A-4C BuNo 148474, NH-I, aboard HMAS Melbourne.
NOV 1964 to OCT 1965 VA-113 provided a detachment (Q) of personnel and Skyhawks for use as fighter protection for the Antisubmarine Carrier Air Group embarked on United States Ship Bennington CVS 20.
Pic 1 from "Boom" Powell.
Pic 2 from "Boom".

U.S. Navy A-4C BuNo 144874, NH-I, launches from HMAS Melbourne. NOV 1964 to OCT 1965 VA-113 provided a detachment (Q) of personnel and Skyhawks for use as fighter protection for the Antisubmarine Carrier Air Group embarked on United States Ship Bennington CVS 20.
Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3
Pic 4
From Phil Thompson.

NOV82: Left front view of VC-5 Checkertails A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 151162, UE-01, on the RAAF Pearce ramp in a lo-vis grey scheme, Sandgroper 82, September 1982. Photo by John Bartels.

Date unknown: VC-5 UE-04 parked on the ramp in Australia. John Bartels.

1982: BuNo 155052, RAN 871, in the far left background. In the fore-front are VC-5 UE-01 and then UE-04. John Bartels.

1982: BuNo 155052, RAN 871, parked on the ramp with the nose of VC-5 UE-04 on the right. SandGroper82 exercise. John Bartels via Phil Thompson.

Date Unknown: BuNo 154908, 877, parked on the ramp. John Bartels via Phil Thompson.

BuNo 155051, 870, trapping aboard HMAS Melbourne. Good shot of the Melbourne's landing area. Courtesy of John Bartels, via Phil Thompson.

1968: VF-805 pilots, 1968. From Phil Thompson

Date and photographer unknown: The RAN A-4G was capable of carrying Sidwinders on all four wing stations.

Date unknown: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154910, #882, ready to launch from the HMAS Melbourne. RAN Photo

04 NOV 1968: BuNo 154909, #888, parked on the ramp.
RAN

Date unknown: Major General meets with RAN FAA, Leut Ralph McMillan shows the General around the Skyhawks. BuNo 154910, side no 889, is in the background. From Phil Thompson.

1969: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887, in formation with BuNo 154910, #889 and an RAF Hawker Hunter. "(Picture was probably taken when VF-805 briefly disembarked after the USS Frank E. Evans collision, while HMAS Melbourne was temporarily repaired in Singapore for the voyage back to Australia were it was permanently repaired)." Official RAN Photo from Phil Thompson.

1970s -early: BuNo 154906, RAN 885, over the ramp aboard HMAS Melbourne. Phil Thompson.

1971: BuNo 155060, RAN 873, showing the red tail logo in use in 1971. She is a part of VA-805. Phil Thompson.

14 NOV 1972: BuNo 154909 flying past Ayers Rock. Don Simms via Phil Thompson.

17 JUL 1975: BuNo 155051, RAN 870, was involved in a mid-air with BuNo 155055, RAN 872. ASLT Malcom McCoy, flying 872, was killed. RAN 870 recovered at Nowra. Photo courtesy of Phil Thompson.

Date unknown: BuNo 155055 A-4G RAN-872 with new paint. Gary Verver Collection.

22 MAY 1978: USN LCDR K.P. Finan ejects following an arresting wire failure while trapping aboard the HMAS Melbourne in RAN 888, BuNo 154909. Pilot survived, a/c lost. Phil Thompson.

02 OCT 1980: RAN A-4G 875, BuNo 155062, crashes into the Andaman Sea, 35 nm north of Sumatra, after an engine failure. Lcdr Clive Blennerhassett has ejected and can be seen in his parachute. Phil Thompson.

1981-82: BuNo 155061, RAN 874 with Rav France behind the controls. BuNo 154904, RAN 883, with Dave Coote behind the controls. BuNo 155069, RAN 877, with Mark Pearsall behind the controls. BuNo 154905, RAN 884, with Andy Sinclair behind the controls. Pic 1; Pic 2; Pic 3. Phil Thompson.

Date unknown: BuNo 154905, RAN 884, traps aboard HMAS Melbourne. From Phil Thompson.

Date unknown: BuNo 154905, RAN 884 traps aboard HMAS Melbourne. Phil Thompson.

Date unknown: BuNo 155061, RAN 874, loaded with dumb bombs. Gary Verver Collection.

Date unknown: BuNo 155062, RAN-875 parked with the pack. Gary Verver Collection.

Date unknown: BuNo 155063, RAN-876, tied down aboard ship with RAN-885. Gary Verver Collection.

Dates unknown - from Laurie Hillier (post AUG71):
BuNo 154904, 883, BuNo 154908, 887, BuNo 155063, 876, BuNo 154903, 882, BuNo 155069, 877 lined up on the ramp.
BuNo 154912, RAN 881, taxing out.
BuNo 154903, 882, BuNo 155063, 876, BuNo 154904, 883, BuNo 155052, 871 and BuNo 155061, 874 lined up on the deck of RAN HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 154903, RAN 882, pulls out a wire aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 154903, RAN 882, starts to taxing out of her parking spot aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 154903, RAN 882, undergoing some maintenance. RAN ground crew are L to R: Jeff Sharrock, unknown, Tim Sedlag, xxx Thommo and Peter Ruli. Photo taken at IADS exercise - 1981.
BuNo 154903, RAN 882, at the split second she picks up a wire aboard HMAS Melbourne. Note the "LSO" checking on the progress of the trap.
BuNo 154904, RAN 883 and BuNo 155063, RAN876 parked and receiving attention from maintenance.
BuNo 154904, RAN 883, being pushed back into a parking spot aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 154903, RAN 833, taxing out.
BuNo 154903, RAN 833, starting up. Air on the left, power on the right, and light her off.
BuNo 154904, RAN 883, as she taxies forward to the "cat" aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 154908, RAN 887, manned up with a smiling pilot. Names under the canopy are ABATA Hickmott and ABATA Thomas.
BuNo 154908, RAN 887, preparing to taxi.
BuNo 155061, 874 is launched; with BuNo 154903, 882 and BuNo 155052, 871 parked forward. The folded wings in the fore-ground are that of a S-2 Tracker.
BuNo 155052, 871 close-aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 155052, 871 is manned up, but still tied down aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 155052, RAN 871, touching down on the deck of HMAS Melbourne well forward of the wires. Can't tell if her hook is down, she may be doing a "touch and go".
BuNo 155052, RAN 871, as she taxies forward to the "cat" aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 155052, RAN 871, at the split second she picks up a wire aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 155052, RAN 871 and BuNo 154905, RAN 884 tied down aboard HMAS Melbourne. Tiedown under the wing, a sign they are not going anywhere for awhile. BuNo 155061, RAN 874, ready on the "cat" aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 155062, RAN 875, parked in close to the hangar.
BuNo 155063, RAN 876, with VF-805 on the "cat" aboard HMAS Melbourne.
BuNo 155063, RAN 876, taxing.
BuNo 155063, RAN 876, with VF-805 tied down aboard HMAS Melbourne. Copyright Laurie Hillier.

BuNo 154907, RAN-886, is having her nose raised using a socket speed wrench to get access to some of her avionics. As a former Twidget, I should remember how many cranks it took. I can only remember it was a painful number. David Weber from Gary Verver Collection.

BuNo 154906, RAN 885, with double drop tanks and a good shot of the VF-805 insignia. From Phil Thompson.

1969: VF-805 unit photo. R to L kneeling: LCDR Graham King, Leut Ralph McMillan, LCDR bill Callan (C.O.), Leut Clive Blennerhassett and Leut Keith Jhonson. Right: Major General meets with RAN FAA, Leut Ralph McMillan shows the General around the Skyhawks. BuNo 154910, side no 889, is in the background. Date unknown. From Phil Thompson.

Date unknown: VF-805 A-4G after launch as it sheds the catapult bridle. Laurie Hillier
NOTE: "The paint scheme shows that this A4G was being launched in the late 1970s (photo by Laurie Hillier) when HMAS Melbourne had a strop catcher. However whenever centreline stores were carried the catcher was not used because of a high probability the tail section of any centerline store would be damaged. Particularly this was a problem for the buddy refuelling store. Otherwise the staop catcher would be used. This strap catcher was not installed until a year or two after the first Skyhawk operations on HMAS Melbourne. To my knowledge it was installed when the bow was repaired late in 1969 - early 1970 after HMAS Melbourne ran over and sank USS Frank E. Evans. Also at this time the catapult was lengthened slightly to about 110 feet from original 100 feet with parts from the scrapped Canadian Navy carrier Bonaventure.

1969: LEUT Keith Johnson, and the A-4G cockpit.

1969: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154907, #886, in tension and ready to launch. LDO is LCDR Colin Patterson. RAN

1969: Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887, at the initial moment of the cat stroke. RAN

1969: BuNo 154908, #887, making a successful trap aboard the HMAS Melbourne. RAN

1969: left rear view of Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154909, #888, as she makes a touch and go aboard the HMAS Melbourne. RAN

1969: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154907, #886, as she launches from the HMAS Melbourne armed with an AIM-9 Sidewinder missile. RAN

1969: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154907 #886, as she takes to the sky and sheds the bridle following a launch from the HMAS Melbourne. RAN

1969: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154907, #886, parked on the ramp. Unknown Photographer via W. Mutza

1969: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887, and BuNo 154909, #888, make a low level deck height pass alongside the HMAS Melbourne. RAN

1969-70: BuNo 154907, #886, off of Pt. Perpendicular, Jervis Bay, NSW, east of NAS Nowra. RAN

1969-70: right side in-flight close-up view of the nose section of BuNo 154907, #886, off of Pt. Perpendicular, Jarvis Bay, NSW, east of NAS Nowra. RAN photo.

1969-70: BuNo 154908, #887, lifts off following a "Touch and Go" aboard the HMAS Melbourne.

1969: BuNo 154912, RAN-881, on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.

A-4G being taxied onto HMAS Melbourne's catapult. Ray "Dutchy" Brauer.

RAN A-4G 884 on HMAS Melbourne's cat. Ray "Dutchy" Brauer.

1969-70: left side view of Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154909, #888, in formation with 2 RAAF Mirage III O's and 805 Squadron Skyhawk BuNo 154910, #889. RAN

1969-70: BuNo 154903, #882, a split second from an arrested landing. LSO LEUT Gary Northern "talking on the phone" and LSO LEUT Keith Johnson supervising from behind the canvas screen. RAN photo

1970:VF-805 pilots, 1970. From Phil Thompson

1970: BuNo 154907, #886, BuNo 154910, #889, BuNo 154908, #887 and BuNo 154909, #888, aboard the HMAS Melbourne. RAN

1970s: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154905, #884 in formation with two unknown VC-724 Squadron Skyhawks. Unknown photographer

1970s: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 155069, #877, as she makes a successful trap aboard the HMAS Melbourne. Hook Magazine

1970: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154906, #887, as she flys in formation over Sydney, Australia. Photo by John Siebert for Navy News.

1970s: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk formation as they fly over the HMAS Melbourne: top to bottom BuNo 154907, #886; BuNo 154908, #887; and BuNo 155051, #870. RAN Photo

1970s: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 155051, #870, on the HMAS Melbourne flight deck below the Australian flag. Unknown photographer via G. Verver

1970: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 155051, #870, at left, head-on view of a Sea Venom in the center and left front view of TA-4G BuNo154911, #880, at right. RAN Photo

1970s: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawks aboard the HMAS Melbourne: top to bottom BuNo 155062, #875; BuNo 155051, #870; and BuNo 155069, #877. Unknown photographer via G. Verver

1970s: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 155052, #871 as she moves into launch position aboard the HMAS Melbourne. RAN Photo

1970s: close-up right rear tail section view of RAN Skyhawk BuNo 155052, #871. Note the "Tram Tracks", or wheel tracks that allow the A4 to be pushed back over the water to provide more deck space forward. Laurie Hillier

1970s: All eight VF-805 Squadron Skyhawks aboard the HMAS Melbourne. Front to back: BuNo 154908, #887; BuNo 155062, #875; BuNo 155052, #871; BuNo 154906, #885; and BuNo 155069, #877. RAN Photo

1970s: Royal Australian Navy SkyhawkBuNo 155062, #875, as she makes an off-center trap aboard the HMAS Melbourne. Dave Ramsay

1970: BuNo 154906, RAN-884, ords loading for a practice bombing mission. Gary Verver Collection.

1971: LCDR C.J. Patterson and pilots.

06 JUN 1971: RAN Skyhawk BuNo 155063, parked on the ramp. Unknown Photographer via W. Mutza

01 SEP 1971: RAMP STRIKE!

Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154906, #885, makes it "feet dry", but crumpled. Right front view of Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154906, #885, call sign Lucifer, safely ashore after a ramp strike (at night) damaged the main gear.
#885, landing gear crunched. RAN

154906 RAN 855 repaired after ramp strike. Ray Brauer

BuNo 14906 in Camo. Ray Brauer

1972: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154903, #882, ready for launch. Unknown Photographer via W. Mutza

1972: VF-805 pilots, 1972. From Phil Thompson.br>

Date unknown: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154905, #884. Unknown Photographer via W. Mutza

Date unknown: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154903, #882. Right front view of Royal Australian Navy VF-805 A-4G Skyhawk BuNo 154903, RAN-882, on the cat with the JBD up and ready to launch from the HMAS Melbourne. Unknown Photographer via W. Mutza

AUG 1973: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawks in formation. Top to bottom: BuNo 155069, #877; BuNo 155062, #875; BuNo 155055, #872; and BuNo 154907, #886. RAN Photo

Leading Airman - Mechanic (Airframes and Engines) Ray R. "Dutchy" Brauer working on a Buddy Store. Ray Brauer

Dutchy: Leading Airman - Mechanic (Airframes and Engines) Ray R. (Dutchy) Brauer R63182, VF 805 Sqn Douglas A4G Skyhawk. Dressed for Captain's Divisions HMAS Melbourne R21 RIMPAC 73.
"Just another day on the flight deck with 805 Squadron for RIMPAC78, my last Navy cruise' by Ray (Dutchy) Brauer on Wednesday, 25 May 2011 at 09:49."
"It was RIMPAC78, during an otherwise glorious Hawaiian Pacific sundown phase, and I was relishing the prospect of a dhoby, a hot meal, a cold beer on the Starboard Forward 60/40 Bofors Gun Sponson, enjoying the flying fish and dolphins seemingly at play in the fading light of day when, out of the blue, as was usually the case, my 'dream bubble' exploded when I was tasked by the CAA, Jim DaSilva (see note below), with replacing the CSD(CONSTANT SPEED DRIVE)/(AC)Generator unit in one of VF805's A4G Skyhawk's (which were affectionately nicknamed 'scooters') so that it WOULD be serviceable and ready to take it's necessary place in tomorrows' 0600 'Dawn Strike' Launch after the Armourers had hung as many pods of Zuni Rockets and Bombs as possible, perhaps a Sidewinder Missile or 2 and, of course, a full magazine in both of the 20mm Cannon. NOTE: A Constant Speed Drive Unit is a step-up/step-down, infinitely variable ratio step-less transmission which maintains the AC/Generator in a desirable RPM range irrespective of Engine RPM such that sufficient 115V/AC power is always available to operate all of the equipment which relies upon it. These CSD/(AC)GENERATOR units had a combined weight of about 60Lb and were attached to the front of the engine compressor casing and thus,with the power plant 'in-situ' (installed situation), very difficult to access within the confines of the bifurcated engine air intake, and only by removing the outer Starboard (STBD) air intake access panel then reaching through to unlatch a panel about the size of my computer monitor on the inner wall of the intake which exposed the CSD/Gen unit housed within a compartment barely larger than they were and attached to each other with a marmon clamp, pre-stressed by a rather hefty coil spring between the front of the generator and the fuselage and the CSD to the engine by a bayonet connection/clamp arrangement (as I recall). They had to be removed separately by first removing the marmon clamp then forcing the alternator forward against the spring to then remove it rear end first. The CSD could then be disconnected and removed by a twist and release latch removed. Now came the challenge with the replacement units having to be installed by lifting their considerable weight from the flight deck through the under-wing access panel, the intake outer door and manoeuvreing them, with great difficulty, through the barely large enough opening presented by the hinged intake inner door, securely connected, clamped, torque loaded, lock wired and the Intake panels refitted but please don't imagine the process was quite as simple as that. Remember, this was all achieved by way of the rather cramped conditions INSIDE the STBD intake and was also a one man job so there was no-one to hand up tools or help in any way, even when my arms felt likely to fall off. So here I was on the flight deck devoid of any company with the exception of the few rambling ships company seamen and clerical/stores assistants, whose 9-5 days spent driving desks were a comparative pleasure cruise, and who were out for a leisurely evening stroll with their beer issue as though promenading along a seaside boardwalk. The sun was rapidly setting after which I would be likely unable to complete the task under the extreme duress of a dark and windy flight deck and the 'bird' might not then be available for the next morning's dawn strike for which it had been tasked on the day's Fly/Pro, which would surely have landed this little duck in murky waters. As was VF805's unofficial motto, which we had borrowed from the Armourers, 'Get the bloody job done', the now 'serviceable kite' was armed with pods of Zuni Rockets and Bombs, cannons loaded and pre-flighted just a few hours later and not one of the well rested 'scooter drivers' would comprehend or appreciate the unrelenting expended in completing this daunting task, which this sole, home-sick, tired and hungry Petty Officer had been allocated at the end of a day of frenetic flight deck activity when I should otherwise have been afforded the comfort of my bunk with it's kapok (coconut husk) mattress barely wider than me and 3 inches thick which I hadn't seen since rising for breakfast, perhaps a few games of Mah-Jong, the beer in my shattered dream, some welcome sleep and the less than welcome prospect of an 0400 'Too Damned Early' shake next morning to prepare 8 scooters for the CO's precious Dawn Strike followed by a day chasing the sun for you oh! so privileged 'scooter drivers'! Foot Note: Jim DaSilva as CAA in '78,held the rank of "Chief Mechanic (Airframes and Engines) which I was promoted to the very next year ('79). To reach the Chief's Mess in 15 years and a few months of service was not all too common an occurrence and was precipitated by my having been selected for accelerated promotion in '74. My reward for having taken First Place on my 12 month Petty Officer's Promotion Course that year, in the same year as my 10th Naval anniversary." Ray R. (Dutchy) Brauer.

The Evans with CVA-33. CVA-31

CVA-33
HMAS Melbourne
Procedure Alpha
HMAS Melbourne and CVN-65
HMAS Melbourne with supply ship. Ray R. (Dutchy) Brauer

AUG 1973: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawks in formation. Top to bottom: BuNo 154907, #886; BuNo 155055, #872; BuNo 155062, #875; and BuNo 155069, #877.

AUG 1973: Royal Australian Navy SkyhawkBuNo 155063, #876, as she makes a right-hand bank over the rugged deep sandstone plateaus just south-west of NAS Nowra, NSW, Australia.

May 1974: BuNo 155062, #875, parked on the flight line. Gary Verver Collection

May 1974: TA-4G BuNo 154912, #881. Gary Verver Collection

Date unknown: A-4G over the ramp. David Ramsay

1974: Sparks fly during the launch of A-4G Skyhawk BuNo 155063 #876 from the HMAS Melbourne. . NOTE: "...."CAG" acronym on the tail as it was the nominal 'CAG bird' flown by Carrier Air Group Commander. The shower of sparks caused by a loose bolt in the catapult track. David Ramsay

1975: VF-805 "Checkmates"

1975: Mixed RAN and RNZAF formation by Mt Egmont. Top to bottom looks like 154906 RAN 885, unknown RNZAF, 155063 RAN 876 & RNZAF 157904 NZ6201. RNZAF Official via Don Simms and Phil Thompson.

157908 NZ6205 in flight with 154906 RAN 885 during Tasman exercise. RNZAF Official via Don Simms and Phil Thompson.

Date unknown: RAN Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887, approaches the HMAS Melbourne for an arrested landing. Photo by Peter Cleaver via Corné Rodenburg.
RAN Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887, touches down for an arrested landing aboard the HMAS Melbourne. Photo by Peter Cleaver via Corn; Rodenburg.
RAN Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887, forward of the arresting gear after an arrested landing aboard the HMAS Melbourne. Photo by Peter Cleaver via Corné Rodenburg.

RAN 887 trapping aboard HMAS Melbourne. John Bartels.

RAN 877 on deck HMAS Melbourne.

BuNo 15406, RAN-885, on deck of HMAS Melbourne. Gary Verver Collection.

1976-77: VF-805 pilots (R to L) MIDN MIchael Maher, SBLT Colin Tomlinson, LEUT Peter Greenfield. Taken outside Hanger "J", NAS Nowra, NSW. They are group OFS No.11. Photo from Phil Thompson

26 June 1977: BuNo 155051, #870, parked on the flight line with a centerline tank and Sidewinder missiles. Gary Verver Collection.

JUN77: BuNo 154907, RAN-886, tied down on deck. Gary Verver Collection.

JUN77: BuNo 155052, RAN-871, tied down on deck.  Pic2 about same time. Gary Verver Collection.

1977: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawks BuNo 155051, #870, at right, and BuNo 155061, #874, at left. RAN Photo

1977: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154907, #886, configured as a tanker, makes a low pass with the gear & hook down and speed brakes out over Greenham Common, UK. RAN photo.

AUG77: BuNo 155051, RAN-870 tied down aboard ship. Gary Verver Collection.

Date unknown: BuNo 155051, RAN-870 tied down for  open house. Gary Verver Collection.

1978: BuNo 155052, RAN-871, parked on the line. Gary Verver Collection.

1978: VF-805 Skyhawk BuNo 155052, #871, as she as she taxis by the photographer during an air-show at the Royal Australian Naval Air Station, Nowra, NSW. Photo from Steve McDonald.

1978: BuNo 155062, #875 as she taxies by the photographer during an air-show at the Royal Australian Naval Air Station, Nowra, NSW. Photo from Steve McDonald.

22 MAY 1978: head-on view of Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887,on a pair of crunched drop tanks following a wheels-up landing, after losing a wheel during a touch and go on HMAS Melbourne. RAN

22 MAY1978: right side view of Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154908, #887, on a pair of crunched drop tanks following a wheels-up landing, after losing a wheel during a touch and go on HMAS Melbourne. RAN

887-wheelsup-raff-amberley.jpg

1979: BuNo 154908, #887, aboard the HMAS Melbourne. RAN photo.

MAR79: BuNo 154906, RAN-885, undergoing some maintenance work. Gary Verver Collection.

23 MAY 1979: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154909 #888, and pilot USN LCDR K.P. Finan go into the water after he ejected following an arresting wire failure while trapping aboard the HMAS Melbourne.
Pilot and plane in the water
Skyhawk on its back before sinking.

RAN images from Phillip Thompson, former RAN Skyhawk Driver.

Sept 1979: BuNo 154907, #886 rolled off the deck of the HMAS Melbourne in a storm 355km off east Australian coast on 09/79. Gary Verver Collection

Date unknown: BuNo 155051, #870, parked on the flight deck. Gary Verver Collection

Date unknown: Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154907, #886, parked on the ramp with MK-76 practice bombs on a PMBR and drop tanks. Gary Verver Collection

RAN A-4G Most probably 882 or 872. John Bartels.

RAN rocket pods.

1979: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154906, #887, topside on the HMAS Melbourne as another VF-805 Skyhawk launches. RAN

22 NOV 1979: VF-805 unit photo.

1980s: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154904, #883, as she taxis back to the flight-line. RAN

1980s: Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 155069, #877, as she fires a load of FFAR's on Beecroft Range, Jervis Bay near NAS Nowra. RAN Photo

Early 1980s photos below from John Bartels: RAN 880 TA-4 BuNo 154911 taxi.

RAN 881 BuNo 154912 Pic1; RAN 881 Pic2; RAN 881 Pic3; RAN 881 Pic4

RAN 871 and 881 taxi Pic1. ; RAN 871 and 881 taxi Pic2.

RAN 871 landing.

RAN 871 undergoing maintenance.

RAN 876, 883 and 882 on the ramp.
Early 1980s photos above from John Bartels.

1981: Royal Australian Navy SkyhawkBuNo 155063, #876, as the Squadron personnel pose for a group photo. Laurie Hillier.

1981-82: LEUT John Bartels and group photo of VF-805 pilots. Top photo is Stumpf in 1993. Second Photo is VF-805 group photo courtesy of RAN, and Stumpf with RAN in 1981-82.

JUN 1982: Skyhawk formation, top to bottom: BuNo 154904, #883; BuNo 154911, #880 and BuNo 154908, #887. John Bartels.

1978: BuNo 155052, RAN-871, parked on the line. Gary Verver Collection.

MAY81: BuNo 155061, 874, taxi on the ramp. Gary Verver Collection.

1982: BuNo 154908, RAN-887, A-4G tie downs on ramp. Gary Verver Collection.

JUN 1982: in-flight view of Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 154904, #883. John Bartels

JUN 1982: L-R: LEUT John Bartels; LCDR Gary Northern, CO; MAJ Chuck Smith USMC; LCDR Peter Clark, SP; LEUT Gary Osmond, SPLT Dave Baddams & SBLT Paul Kalade pose in front of BuNo 154908, #887. The last VF-805 pilots. RAN photo.

Two A-4G Skyhawks on a rocket run. Ray Brauer

BuNo 155063, 876. A mixed flight of four, two in RAN colors and two in RNZAF colors. Ray Brauer

A-4G launch. Ray Brauer

Date unknown: BuNo 154904, RAN-883, parked. BuNo 154905, RAN-884.  Gary Verver Collection.

10 NOV 1982: A Navy A-4E Skyhawk aircraft pilot arrives at Pearce Royal Australian AFB, Australia for Exercise Sandgroper 82.
A Royal Australian Air Force member checks a United States Navy A-4E Skyhawk aircraft during Exercise Sandgroper 82. Photographer unknown, from Gary Verver.

27 AUG 1984: RAN A-4G 876, to be changed to RNZAF A-4K NZ6217; right front view of former Royal Australian Navy Skyhawk BuNo 155063, #876, parked on the ramp next to RNZAF BuNo 157908, NZ-6205. This former A-4G has recently arrived from NAS Nowra, Australia with a "backwards" "Kiwi" roundel applied in error. R.A. London

1984: The ASU (Aircraft Support Unit) outside "B" Hangar at Nowra.
In the background are A-4G 874 and 882, BuNos 155061 and 154903. From Don Simms via Phil Thompson.

1984: RAN 871 taxing at Nowra.

30 JUN 1984: Final pair of RAN A-4Gs take-off from Nowra to be transferred to the RNZAF. BuNo 154905, RAN 884, is one of them - piloted by Dave Coote. The other is BuNo 154904, 883. From Phil Thompson.

Date Unknown: An A-4G Skyhawk of the Royal Australian Navy makes a "low" pass along port side of HMAS Melbourne.

1988: TA-4G BuNo 154912 RAN-881 under going maintenance. Gary Verver Collection.

NOV 1999: Fleet Air Arm Museum, Nowra Australia, display of an A-4G built from an A-4B (142871).

Phil Thompson: I first saw a US carrier (maybe USS Coral Sea) as a young teenager civilian, when she visited Sydney (going home - early Vietnam perhaps?) about 1964-5. I recall some of the aircraft were cocooned on deck (F4 Phantoms) and I remember the size. Geez Louise. It was alongside at our Naval Base Garden Island. The larger carriers stayed in the Harbour itself whenever they visited. I joined the Navy in 1966 and started to fly - beginning of 1968 - with the Royal Australian Air Force as the Fleet Air Arm did not have a Basic Flying Training capacity. So by the beginning of 1969 I was back at NAS Nowra south of Sydney to rejoin the Fleet Air Arm as a jet pilot. We had just received the A-4G the year before (when flying operations with them began) and the pace for old pilots to convert and then to deck qualify - once HMAS Melbourne became available in 1969 - was hectic. I had to wait for conversion to the A-4G until the beginning of 1971.
In the meantime I flew the Navy version of the Vampire dual seat (side-by-side) RAAF jet trainer and the Sea Venom (a larger Naval jet fighter) that was obsolete and no longer carrier enabled. The Venom was a larger version of the Vampire while it had a radar that when operated by the Obsever in the right hand seat allowed interceptions at night particularly.
I was lucky enough to do a ground course (non flying) as a Photo Interpreter (prelude to the A-4G getting a mini pan recon capability) at the USAF school in Denver and then a month at NAS Miramar with VFP-63 from about November 1972 to Feb 73. Everyone offered to let me fly their squadron aircraft but I was strictly forbidden as I had no "insurance" (government to government indemnity) against any USN aircraft loss. So I had to let the Tomcat stay on the ramp. Could not even go up as a passenger.
My point is that the hospitality shown to me by the USN was outstanding, even better than the excellent "care" of the USAF ground schools. I think the USAF really didn't know what to make of me. I always wore a beard (cut short for the oxygen mask) but let it grow longer when I was in ground school in US. So they had no idea who or what I was. It was fun to be in Denver over Xmas in the snow and blizzards - quite a change from usual Australian weather. San Diego was more to my liking.
We disembarked in Hawaii during my cruise at end of 1971 [Oct/Nov]. The photo shows me in front of a repair hangar with 2 junior A-4 pilots from VC-1. At our back on the right (of photo) is an A-4G having the undercarriage repaired. Another pilot (not me) had "lowered" the undercarriage at the end of a practice bomb run at Kahoolawe range (probably by bumping the faulty handle which allowed the gear to lower with catastrophic results). He did an empty drop tank arrested landing back at Barbers Point on a foamed runway. The A-4G was repaired within a week or two and flown back aboard before we departed for home after/during a RIMPAC exercise."

John Bartels


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