76SQN History

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11 Jan 1960 – May 1961
76SQN Vampire taxing at Williamtown July 1960. ~ Photo via Paul Mason

76SQN reformed at Williamtown with the Vampire in 1960. The SQN was under the control of 81 Wing, but the vampires were only an interim measure until the Sabre entered service with the SQN.

  • Len Hoath,
  • E.R. Philp.

Vampire tail with ‘Black Panther’. ~ Photo via paul Mason.

May 1961 – Aug 1966

76SQN was the last SQN to re-equip with the Avon engined Sabre receiving their aircraft in May 1961. whilst they operated the Sabre for only a short time they managed to fly not one aerobatic team (as per the other SQNs) but two, the ‘Red Diamonds’ and the ‘Black Panthers’. The SQN made several trips to Darwin and Townsville during this period with the aerobatic teams performing at several airshows around the country.

  • Len Hoath,
  • Col Haley,
  • R.J. Raine,
  • E.R. Philp,
  • Steve Vizer,
  • R.W. Garbutt,
  • R.N. Fitzgerald,
  • Barry O’Meara,
  • M.R. Miller(FAB/WKR).

Black Panthers aerobatic team Sabre, version 2. ~ Photo Neill Groves.

Red Diamonds aerobatic team. ~ Photo RAAF.

Good shot of the Flying Equipment, Mk 8 Life Preservers, a couple of MK1A Helmets along with GENTEX HGU-2/P helmets, CSU-3/P G-Suits and G-Suits with external lacing and the American Parachute. ~ Photo RAAF.

Great shot of the Sabre flying gear. Three of the pilots have Mk1A British helmets whilst the fourth pilot has a GENTEX HGU-2/P with American mask. The life preservers are Mk 8’s, whilst the G-Suits have external lacing. The Sabre was the last Fighter in RAAF service to have a strap on parachute, later Martin-Baker ejection seats having the parachute fitted to the seat. ~ Photo 76SQN.

Aug 1966 – 24 Aug 1973
76SQN Mirage at Townsville. ~ Photo Neill Groves.

76SQN began operations with the Mach 2 Mirage IIIO in August 1966. The Mirages were at first left in their natural metal finish before receiving a silver painted finish to combat corrosion. With the fitment of Doppler to the Mirage and training in both air intercept and ground attack they were gradually painted in a camouflage finish.

The Mirage pilots used the EFA-ARZ type 30 partial pressure suit for high altitude operations along with the type 21 helmet. The type 21 was discarded for the M.L. Aviation model 12P after it was found that pilots were blacking out at high altitude due to a leak in the French helmets when the head ventilation system was connected. Eventually flights up to 70, 000ft were not carried out as often and pilots just wore the American GENTEX HGU-2/P and 2A/P helmets for normal flights. Other safety equipment was the MK8 life preserver which was replaced by the LPU-2/P and the CSU range of G-Suits.

1967 saw the last Fabric Workers at the SQN with Safety Equipos taking over completely at SQN level. A Government decision in 1973 saw the disbandment of 76SQN on the 24 August 1973.

  • Eddy Jacobs,
  • Max Drake,
  • Ray Appleby,
  • P.E. Dodd,
  • M. Konemann,
  • Brian Hasson,
  • Kevin Evans,
  • Brian Waters,
  • R.G. Morrison,
  • J.W. Mitchell,
  • Robert Jago,
  • Mick Harford,
  • Allan McDonald,
  • Al Murray,
  • Allan Powell,
  • Aurbrey Parsons,
  • John Raithby,
  • Ray Gant,
  • H.E. Wilson,
  • Peter Dor,
  • Neil Loggie,
  • Clarence Hangan,
  • Charlie Fox,
  • Keith Saal,
  • Peter Thompson,
  • Lindsay Tucker.
  • Nev Fry,
  • Neil Rothery,
  • A. Nicholls,
  • Kev Horton.

type-20-helmet partial-pressure-helmet
The two styles of high altitude helmets used in the Mirage. On the left the EFA-ARZ Type 20 Helmet, used by aircrew when flying from 40,000 to 70,000ft. It was of French design. On the right the ML Type 12P partial pressure helmet was purchased as a replacement for the French EFA helmet. Neither Helmet lasted long as flights to 75, 000 ft were deemed impractical. ~ Photos - right Bruce Adams, left via Paul Mason

76SQN Mirage aerobatic team. HGU-2A/P Helmets, P & Q Oxygen masks, LPU-2/P Life preservers and CSU G-suits. ~ Photo 76SQN.

76SQN Mirage IIIO high above the clouds. ~ Photo via Paul Mason.

Early Mirage flight equipment, HGU-2/P Helmet with P & Q Mask, Mk 8 Life Preserver and external lace up G-suit. ~ Photo 76SQN.

DISBANDED FROM 24 Aug 1973 TO 1 Jan 1989

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