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Scooters Forever (A-4 Skyhawk Tribute Thread)

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
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Super Moderator
Contributor
After reading the Jan-Feb 2004 edition of Naval Aviation News (http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/nhcorg5.htm), I just found out they have retired the A-4 Skyhawk (Scooter). What a great aircraft.

Here's a brief history from Boeing (http://www.boeing.com/history/mdc/skyhawk.htm)

Douglas built 2,960 Skyhawks between 1954 and 1979. Built small to be cost effective and so that more could be accommodated on a carrier, the lightweight, high-speed bombers were affectionately nicknamed "Heinemann's Hot Rod" (after Douglas designer Ed Heinemann), the Bantam Bomber, Mighty Mite and Scooter. Skyhawks provided the U.S. Navy and Marines and friendly nations with maneuverable, yet powerful, attack bombers that had great altitude and range capabilities, plus an unusual flexibility in armament capacity.

The Skyhawk A4D was roughly half the empty weight of its contemporaries and could fly at 677 mph at sea level. After 1956, it had provisions for in-flight refueling, and it carried anti-radar missiles on its wing racks. After 1966, it included a hump-like avionics pod. Upgraded models had improved engines and a drogue parachute, new avionics displays, larger cockpit canopies, and more ammunition for the two cannons. Two-seat trainer versions included the TA-4F, TA-4J and the TA-4K Series.

Its combat career began with the first American carrier-launched raids on North Vietnam, Aug. 4, 1964. Later, during Israel's Yom Kippur war in 1973, Skyhawks provided much of the short-range striking power on the Sinai and Golan Heights fronts. The Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron flew the A-4 Skyhawk II from 1974 to 1986. Skyhawks were also used by the armed forces of Argentina, Australia, Israel, Kuwait, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand, and they remained active with several air services into the 2000s.


First flight: June 22, 1954
Model number: A-4M
Wingspan: 27 feet 6 inches
Length: 41 feet 4 inches
Height: 15 feet
Ceiling: 40,600 feet
Weight: 19,833 pounds
Power plant: One 11,187-pound-thrust P&W J52-P408 engine
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
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I met a flight surgeon once who once flew A-4s. He told me a couple funny things about them. He was a fairly big broad-shouldered guy, and apparently he had to turn himself sideways in the cockpit to close the canopy! Apparently a clean A-4 had a positive thrust-to-weight ratio - without an afterburner installed. Sounds like fun!
 

04Hopeful

EA3 -> IS3 -> Intel O1(hopefully)
Hey Nittany,

Just being nit picky here but I would hope any aircraft worth flying(besides gliders) has a positive thrust-to-weight ratio ;-) only a few aircraft have a ratio greater then 1 i.e. it accelerates in vertical flight :))) Unfortunately, according to ea6bflyer above, the ratio is still less then 1 for the A-4, but you're right, I also heard that the pilots who flew them loved them!
 

nittany03

FUBIJAR
pilot
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
Oops. That's what I meant but I wasn't paying attention.
Right thought, wrong term. Thanks 04.
 

Frumby

Super *********
pilot
Super Moderator
I loved flying the A-4! Rather see that airplane again vice the Super Bug. There is a whole squadron of A-4's at Williams Gateway Airport in Phoenix flying for a company called WTSI. Private company who is trying to win contracts from the Navy as a private "VC" squadron but also trains approved Arab nationals to fly. Last I heard they had about 19 aircraft flying. Frumby
 

EODDave

The pastures are greener!
pilot
Super Moderator
There is also a civilian TA-4 out of Cecil Field. It is coming to Meridian for some work. I think it will be at the Meridian airshow in April. One of our sim instructors, and author of Boondogle ,flies it around.

Frumby,

Long time no hear. How's it been going? Oh well, back to the books got a check ride tmrw.

Dave
 

Frumby

Super *********
pilot
Super Moderator
Thanks Dave,
Last few months of my wife's pregnancy had me as busy as a one armed paper hanger. On Christmas Eve, my wife pickled off a 7lb 14oz baby girl. I thought I was busy before, HOLY SMOKES!!! Mom and daughter are doing well.
Everyone who has PM'd me or Emailed me.....please give me time to respond. I will get to you between breastfeedings, diaper changing and moments of relative calm. Haven't had a lot of the relative calm but we are getting there. Semper Fly, Frumby
 

EA-6B1

PLC Jrs 1st Inc. Kilo-3
Great news, Frumby. I'll be the first to congratulate you on your Christmas gift. I'm sure the measures of fatherhood are immense. Good to hear you're still alive and kicking.
 

beau

Registered User
ah, an A-4 with a single EA-6B J-52 engine......sounds great. BTW, my father would give his Left nut and leg for that matter to fly an A-4 again. Says the jet trims absoluly perfectly and aerobatics is like a dream (think about a maunuver and the jet flys it), because of the abajaba (like a Aditude indicator). Will be missed.
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
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The only time I've ever thought about ejecting was in the TA-4....we went OCF at 19K and I was calling off altitudes...hoping not to hit 10K....Thank God she recovered nicely at about 12K....Whew.

Frumby CONGRATS!!

ea6bflyr
 

FlyingDoc

Registered User
A-4 Skyhawk

On Saturday I was landing my Cessna at the local airport, and I spotted an A-4 Skyhawk taxiing to the runway. I wasn't quite sure if I had seen it correctly, but it took off as I was taxiing back to the ramp, definatly an A-4. I did not see the markings on it, but it was green and possibly painted in a cammo scheme. Has anyone heard of civilian A-4s?
 

squeeze

Harrier Dude
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
Well, the US Navy has retired the last of their Scooters. The last squadron to stand them down was VRC-30 at Rosey Roads. I believe they made the last flight last year sometime. The training commands retired them in '94 I believe.

It's very possible that there are some civilian ones out there. Every so often someone with too much money buys up an older modern fighter. I've seen F-104s, F-86s, FJ4s, MiG 15s, 17s, and 21s. Haven't seen or heard of a civilian Skyhawk, but that surely doesn't mean there aren't any out there.
 

VetteMuscle427

is out to lunch.
None
My airport has a MiG 15, and a MiG21. If I were oh-so-rich, I could see buying a Skyhawk.... what a neet little aircraft.

I just looked up on the net, last US Skyhawks went out of service in 99.
 

Fly Navy

...Great Job!
pilot
Super Moderator
Contributor
VetteMuscle427 said:
My airport has a MiG 15, and a MiG21. If I were oh-so-rich, I could see buying a Skyhawk.... what a neet little aircraft.

I just looked up on the net, last US Skyhawks went out of service in 99.
Can't beat a 720 degree/second roll rate.
 

ea6bflyr

Working Class Bum
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I think it was VC-8 not VRC-30....I was in VRC-30 and all we flew were C-2A(R)'s and C-12's (at one time we had T-39's)....out of San Diego.

I flew in a TA-4 at VT-7 in Meridian in the fall of 1997. So, it had to be after '98.

Here's the original post I made when they retired the Scooter:
http://www.airwarriors.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5319&highlight=Scooter

And here are a bunch of scooter stories from Naval Aviation News:
http://www.history.navy.mil/nan/backissues/2000s/2004/jf/jf04.htm

ea6bflyr

squeeze said:
Well, the US Navy has retired the last of their Scooters. The last squadron to stand them down was VRC-30 at Rosey Roads. I believe they made the last flight last year sometime. The training commands retired them in '94 I believe.
 
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