SEEING Skyhawk 880 on display at the Fleet Air Arm Museum at HAMS Albatross on Thursday bought back vivid memories for retired Commodore John Da Costa.
Commodore Da Costa was, in fact, the first commanding officer of the then 724 squadron which flew the Skyhawks.
He was also the first Australian to fly a Skyhawk in Australia.
The 880 aircraft was the first Skyhawk to fly in Australia and Commodore Da Costa was at the controls.
“It was an exciting time and a great honour to undertake the first flight,” he said.
He didn’t remember much about that first flight out of Albatross, being “a little busy at the time”.
“I do remember Lieutenant Jim Lamb was the first air engineer officer and Reg Elphick the first air electrical officer,” he said.
“We spent a lot of time in the United States working up to the point where we could come back here and put these aircraft together and get them in the air.
“It was an honour to be associated with the aircraft and an honour to serve with those at that time.”
The 880 aircraft was also the last Skyhawk in the RAN colours to fly in Australia, with the commodore also given the honour of undertaking the plane’s final flight in Australia.
“The then CO, Lieutenant Commander John Hamilton, did me the courtesy of inviting me to fly in the backseat of that particular flight, which was on June 30, 1984,” he said.