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A-4 Skyhawk (Gray)
<<< Aircraft Wiki
photo courtesy of Chris Emory
Douglas A-4C Skyhawk 147715
was developed as a jet-powered attack aircraft to replace the propeller-driven
AD or A-1 Skyraider
. Once designed, the aircraft weighed only half of the Navy's specification and it’s small wing did not have to be folded for carrier stowage. The small Skyhawk soon received nicknames like "Scooter", "Kiddiecar", "Bantam Bomber", and "Tinker Toy Bomber." Each of these was a misnomer for this powerful aircraft.
The A-4 pioneered the concept of "buddy" air-to-air refueling allowing the aircraft to supply others of the same type, eliminating the need of dedicated tanker aircraft. The A-4 could also make an emergency landing on two drop tanks which put the aircraft out of service for a few hours.
The first prototype first flew in 1954 and deliveries began in 1956. The aircraft had a long life and remained in production until 1979, with 2,960 aircraft built, including 555 two-seat trainers. The A-4 was chosen for the
flight demonstration team.
The A-4 was used extensively in the
. The two-seat trainer version, the TA-4J, replaced the
until it was replaced by the
. They were retired from front line squadrons in 1978. The Marines began retiring them in the mid-1980s and were complete by 1994. The US Navy retired their last aircraft in 2003.
40 feet, 3 inches
26 feet, 6 inches
Max. Takeoff Weight
24,500 lb (11,136 kg)
1 × Curtiss-Wright J65 turbojet
Rate of Climb
The Fort Worth Aviation Museum's Douglas A4D-2N Skyhawk was accepted by the Navy on April 29, 1960. It carries Navy Bureau of Aeronautics Number 147715, c/n 12479, and was redesignated as an A-4C in 1962. The aircraft was assigned to
Attack Squadron NINETY-THREE, VA-93
, “Blue Blazers” from 09 Sep 1960 to 07 Aug 1961 at
, California. On 11 October 1961, the A-4 joined
Attack Squadron ONE TWENTY FIVE, VA-125
, “Rough Riders” at
, California. On 04 Jan 1967, the aircraft was assigned to NARF at NAS Alameda, CA. On 25 Jun 1967, the aircraft joined
Attack Squadron ONE TWELVE, VA-112
, “Broncos”, at
, CA. On 05 Oct 1967, the A-4 returned to VA-125 at
The aircraft joined
Attack Squadron EIGHT SEVENTY THREE, VA-873
, CA, on 18 May 1968, it returned to VA-125 on August 19, 1968, and then to
Fleet Composite Squadron SEVEN, VC-7
on April 7, 1969, and stayed until March 1973. It was administratively stricken from the record in
on July 13, 1973. The plane was used for ground training in Memphis and was seen there during 1975. Although it wore
colors, it was never a Blue Angels aircraft. In June-July 2007, the plane was disassembled by a small crew from our museum and was moved to Fort Worth. This Skyhawk is on loan from the
National Naval Aviation Museum (NNAM)
Locally, A-4s of this type were operated by the US Navy in the Naval Air Reserve Unit at NAS Dallas from 1958 through 1982 for proficiency flying and
air combat maneuvering (ACM)
training. The A-4M was also operated by the Operations Maintenance Detachment (OMD) in an adversary role based at
, Texas for the Naval Air Reserve. Many of the aviators that flew the four jets were attached to NAS Dallas, including the Commanding Officer of the air station. The aircraft were instrumental in training and development of Air Combat Maneuvers (ACM) for Naval Air Reserve fighter squadrons
F-4 Phantom II
and later the
Grumman F-14 Tomcat
. The unit also completed several missions involving target towing to
NAS Key West
, Texas, and deployments to
, California and
, Nevada for adversary support. The detachment was under the operational command of the Commander Fleet Logistics Support Wing (CFLSW), also based at NAS Dallas.
Mr. John Paul Rogers is a significant sponsor of this aircraft. He flew A-4Bs and A-4Cs in the Anti-Submarine Warfare Fighter Squadron ONE, VSF-1, “Warhawks” detachment aboard the USS Shangri-La in the Mediterranean. Amazingly, he flew our A-4C in August 1967. Details on the aircraft were painted in his honor in 2014. Below is an image from his logbook documenting his flight in this same aircraft.
Our A-4 (upper right) while serving with VC-7.
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