Episode 127 – WOA – Terry Hetherington of the Fleet Air Arm Museum

Guest: Terry Hetherington, Manager of the Australian Fleet Air Arm Museum

Hosts: Dave Homewood and James Kightly

Recorded: 26th of November 2015

Duration: 1 hour  21 minutes 15 seconds

In this penultimate episode in the Wings Over Australia sub-series, Dave and James visited the Fleet Air Arm Museum of Australia at HMAS Albatross, Nowra, south of Sydney. There they met with the Museum Manager Terry Hetherington.

They discuss the history of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm and the history of the museum. Terry covers the the RAN Fleet Air Arm’s establishment after WWII, its service in the Korean War, and the introduction of  helicopters to the FAA, their uses and the lineage of different types through the decades. Also discussed are the various fixed wing aircraft and the Navy’s entry into the jet era. Terry covers the hangar fire that destroyed nine of the Navy’s Grumman Trackers, the sale of the McDonnell Douglas Skyhawks to the Royal New Zealand Air Force, and their return to Nowra. And he talks about his own career with the Museum, plus a lot more.

The opening music heard in this episode is “Diga Diga Doo”, by Bob Crosby and his Orchestra, provided by Matt Austin via his original 1930’s portable gramophone. The closing music is “Wings Over The Navy” by Lew Stone and his Orchestra

Quick Links:

•  The Fleet Air Arm Museum of Australia

Above and below: Terry Hetherington and Dave Homewood during the interview, photographed by James Kightly

Note: A huge thanks to Peter Costigan for his great assistance and company as the driver for Dave and James on the day. He’s seen in the photo below with Dave admiring a Sycamore (Photo James Kightly)

Photos by Dave Homewood, unless otherwise attributed to James Kightly

The Fairey Firefly

The Hawker Sea Fury

The MiG 15

The de Havilland Sea Venom

The Fairey Gannet

The 6 inch Gun From HMAS Melbourne and Sopwith Pup replica

Above: Dave with the naval gun (Photo James Kightly)

Jets – de Havilland Vampire, Aermacchi MB326 and McDonnell Douglas Skyhawks

The Prototype Winjeel

Douglas C-47 Dakota

Bristol Sycamores


Westland Scout

Grumman Tracker

Bell Sioux

Bell Uh-1 Iroquois (Hueys)

Westland Sea King

Westland Wessex

General Dynamics F-111 Aardvark nose



Dave got very excited by a survival equipment display, as this was part of his old trade in the RNZAF (Photo above by James Kightly, below by Dave Homewood)


A painting of the story Terry told of the downed Firefly crew in Korea

The right hand photo above is by James Kightly

Terry with his absolute favourite exhibit, Robert Little’s flying helmet as told in the interview, and a closer look below of the helmet (Photos James Kightly)

Portraits of the founders of the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. Left: Flight Commander Robert A Little, DSO & Bar, DSC & Bar, RNAS. Right: Flight Commander Roderick S Dallas, DSO, DSC, RNAS.

Miscellaneous Photos


4 comments to Episode 127 – WOA – Terry Hetherington of the Fleet Air Arm Museum

  • Danny Goldfarb

    Great work guys I was ther stationed at albatross for 6 years when the museum was taking form a credit to all who helped getting the museum where it is today can you please tell me what aircraft are in flying condition and which ones are still capable of flight regards Danny

  • […] hear more about the museum and the history it has to offer, listen to the Wings over New Zealand Show Aviation Podcast, which features Museum Manager Terence Hetherington and an array of images showcasing the historic […]

  • Kevin Arditto

    A question that Dave might have asked Terry H is why Firefly Mk 6 WD826 was transferred to the Museum from the HF which meant it did not get swept up to fly again with the HARS organisation. Instead it seems destined to feature in a full-size diorama at the AWM to depict the dramatic rescue of a Firefly crew in Korea. The engine and propeller, overhauled at taxpayer expense, is to be sent to an overseas project I am told. Goodbye to the one remaining chance Australia had to operate a Firefly. I think the Museum did not do the right thing by this aeroplane.

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