McDonnell Douglas A-4 "Skyhawk"
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McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk

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14.05.2024 21:25

Astigmatism Martyr, e-mail, 17.05.2024 17:33

I’ve an astigmatism in my right eye

Raymond Roberge, e-mail, 04.01.2021 22:03

I also was an Aircrew/Co-Pilot in the early 1970's and received my Wings at NARF Flight Test in Pensacola,Fl. A special thank's and honor to LCDR Longley for giving us this opportunity. He was truly one of the Navy's great pilot.

Alfredo, e-mail, 08.08.2017 07:24

I feel that any article on this plane cant be considered complete without a mention to its impressive tie against royal navy during falklands war in 1982.
Flying some of them that largely exceeded expected service life,argentine pilots sunk a considerale number of warships facing and sometimes sucsefully evading evading most modern AA systems of the day. Some of the planes were flown just no ore than 15 feet of altitude! many sustained awesome amount of battle damage , many returned literally "towed" by brave KC 130 refuelling crews.

Klaatu83, e-mail, 13.04.2016 00:20

I don't know why this is listed as a "McDonnell-Douglas" aircraft since McDonnell had nothing whatever to do with it. This aircraft was strictly a Douglas design. The two companies merged long after the Skyhawk was already in production.

Markos, e-mail, 15.03.2016 01:36


cristian, e-mail, 24.06.2015 08:55


GARY BEDINGER, 01.04.2015 07:08


"KC" Williams (Aggie), e-mail, 23.03.2015 18:01

I spent 5 years flying A-4J and A-4F as a fighter training instructor pilot with most time at 6-7 G's. I logged around 2,000 hours in the A-4 and absolutely loved every minute of my flying in this aircraft. Retired as a Lt. Commander after 22 years in 1991 having served in numerous other reserve squadrons and other aircraft -- but my time in the A-4 was the best of all.

Bob Gudmestad, e-mail, 22.02.2015 03:07

I was in VA-81 from 65-67 on USS Forrestal and USS Shangri-La. Surprised to see entries from VSF-1. I was stationed at Alameda from 74 - 78 with VR-55 and C-9B's and again in 81- 82 with VAK-308 and VA-303. No one at Alameda acknowledged VSF-1 existed. Was there again in 1995 as they were closing down the base and VSF-1 was not listed as a squadron assigned there. I worked with AT2 Dave O'Neil from VSF-1 at IMA fron 66-67.

Ralph Goff, e-mail, 19.01.2015 06:08

I went to almost every school on the A-4 after joining USMC in 1968. My entire 15 year career was on the A-4, in Beaufort, Memphis MARTD, Iwakuni, Nam Phong, Thailand, Philippines, (Cubi Pt. jet shop) and taught ADJ-A school in Memphis NAS. Was a 6022 (J-52) jet mech and test cell operator.

frank garrow, e-mail, 24.11.2014 01:24

Liked the ta4f all though had a bad experience with one
when I was in the backseat going for a ride and had a
electrical problem which caused smoke in the cocpit and
we just bearly stopped before take off, that was it for
me for flying in jets. I was a plane captain with va 45
from 1967 nov to 1968 nov.. cecil field florida

Stefan Löfgren, e-mail, 24.10.2014 00:08

No comment, just a request of help to get in touch with mister Dave Marshall.He posted a comment here in 2010, and I want to ask him about an event at Chu Lai in 1966 that he wrote about in another forum. How can I reach him?

Jim Zane, e-mail, 28.09.2014 12:08

hi everyone, my only exposure to this great aircraft was during my A-school days in Millington Tennessee. 1976 That being said, I'm a 3-D modeler now (JazAero designs) developing this aircraft for both the DCS flight simulator, A4-C, A4-M and X-plane 10 flight simulator A4-E . I have an extensive research library, but I'm always interested in gathering more research material especially in the area of technical drawings or blueprints. our goal is to create the highest fidelity model possible in a computer, and within DCS version we are striving for "mi spec". We are already three years into the project. The DCS release is due sometime next year. I would also like to contact any pilots who would like to validate our flight model when that time arises. if you would like to, contact me I would like to hear from you.

Jim Zane
JazAero designs

Marshall MICHEL, e-mail, 03.12.2013 12:15

Hi guys, I'm the author of "Clashes" and "The Eleven Days of Christmas: America's Last Viethan Battle" and former Air Attache to Israel. I'm trying to reach any of the IPs who trained (or anyone else who had contact with) the Isralis who came to the US in 1967 to check out in their first A-4s. Looking for good stories, etc. Cheers, Marshall Michel

mike, e-mail, 07.09.2013 03:07

anyone know anything about a A-4 that was used by a company called fightertown in Ca in the early 2000's

Ralph K, e-mail, 09.08.2013 23:41

Looking for any Attack Squadron patches, from the pre-1970 USNR and USMCR. I -(have)- patches from VA-741 JAX, VA-773 Los Alamitos, VA-831 Floyd Bennett, and VA-873, VA-876 and VA-879 Alameda and VA-912 South Weymouth. I have only one USMCR patch - VMA-131.

If you have a spare old patch, I would be happy to send you (up front), a new book that chronicles all of the pre-1970 USNR and USMCR A4D-1 and A4D-2 squadrons with a brief history of the unit and photos of the different early model Scooters in the pre-1970 USNR assigned to the individual NARTU.

If you have only one patch, I can reproduce the patch + send the new book. An embroidery shop with a loom, can spin an exact reproduction of the patch - same size, design and colors.

Thanks for your interest. Ralph

Dennis Hodgson, e-mail, 16.07.2013 04:07

I was stationed at El Toro and loaded ordnance on the A-4s for VMA-214 Blacksheep. Great times and great bunch of guys. I miss those days. Lt. Col. Underwood was our CO. Gunny Gaines was the shop HMFIC.

JOHN SKINNER, e-mail, 08.05.2013 18:39

Ref. Wally"s question' The hole in the nose is for equipment

cooling of the electronics package.

charles edwards, e-mail, 06.03.2013 22:28

i worked to install electrical harness in A-4 trainers from 1966 to 1969 for Israel & cost one million dollars each.

Wally, e-mail, 05.03.2013 22:57

The A4A at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo has a 2" hole in the nos. any one know what the hole is for? Cannon? Guns? Please let me know.

Allen Skwira, e-mail, 29.01.2013 18:14

I was in VSF-1 as an ADJ-4. Did the '68-'69 cruise, on the Independence, to the med plus the carrier quals. Cross decked to the USS Wasp in November of '68 with a detatchment of four birds. The squadron fulfilled it's mission by flying cover support for the the Wasp. Intercepted a couple of Russian Bombers. The A4's looked like fleas on a dog next to those bombers.

Dutchy Brauer, e-mail, 15.01.2013 06:07

My first Scooter as Plane Captain was A4G N13-154906 [885] in Jan68 on VF805 [RAN Fleet Air Arm, 03Apr64-08Apr88]. Since a thrust surge [FCU failure] induced Holdback Breakout in Oct80, she has sat 4000 Metres below the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka. I last walked away from an A4 Sqn. after RIMPAC78. Remember you well Charlie Rex, and so many others . 'Bravo Zulu' Ed Heinemann and your brilliant A4 Scooter. Many great flight deck memories.

Dennis D. Lund, e-mail, 04.12.2012 19:14

I received my Flight Physiology and Survival License in April of 1968 at NAS Lemoore, California. This license enabled me to fly backseat many times day and night with the pilots of VA-163 in an A4 Skyhawk 2 seat TA4-J Skyhawk. I was even able to enjoy a dog fight with my pilot over the Sierra Nevada mountains while returning to Lemoore from Fallon, Nevada after a bombing run there. Really miss those days! ;-)

Sid Seghers,AZ2, e-mail, 01.11.2012 04:14

VA-45 NAS Cecil Field(1966-Jan1968) Shared a hangar with VA-44. We had 20 TA-4Fs and 2 T-28s.No carrier quals,defective nose strut.Shared 2nd seat on flights to New Orleans. Best time of my life!

Victor Clark, e-mail, 14.07.2012 23:28

I had the honor of flying this aircraft as Enlisted Aircrew/Co-Pilot in the early 1970's and I got my Wings in them. LCDR Longley was the Officer in charge of Flight Test in Pensacola, Fl that gave me the opportunity and allowed me to have memories in flying to last a lifetime and tell to my Grandchildren!I eventually flew the T2 Buckeye,T28 Trojan, T39 Sabreliner, and the UH1H Heuy. A real honor to fly for the US Navy! Retired from the Naval Reserves in 2009.

david thompson, e-mail, 29.04.2012 23:28

e-mail correction

david thompson, e-mail, 29.04.2012 23:26

spent a lot hours working on the a-4 2 med cruses 1 vietnam
cruse on the us
Rosevelt cva-42 as a AE many good times

F. HUGH MAGEE, e-mail, 06.04.2012 10:06

For Bob Iserman: I was a LCDR IP in VA-44 at NAS Cecil in 1968-70'. Flew lots of our troops in the back seat of the TA-4J during my tour, maybe you were one of them? If so....we both survived. A-4s FOREVER!

Steven Key, e-mail, 01.03.2012 12:51

Avionics USMC 65-69 A-4s the whole time. A-4s were designed, as above stated, for a nuclear launch platform with two methods of launch.

Bob Isermann, e-mail, 06.02.2012 05:56

Well, I wasn't a pilot, but I did fly many times in the back sit of the A4. I was with VA44 in Cecil Field during 1967-69. Since we were a RAG squadron or planes had 2 sits. I took care of the pilots service records as they came to us for training. During that time period, we did lose a few planes and pilots. Very sad. They were great people. I can't believe not one comment on VA44.

Douglas M. (Mike) Brier, e-mail, 15.01.2012 08:22

I was a plank owner In VSF-1 when it was established at NAS
Alameda in 1965. I was an AZ2 in charge of logs and records
for the A4B's assigned to the squadron. Commander Waring was our CO. Would like to hear from anyone who served during 1965 through 1967. Thanks

uncle-mac, e-mail, 14.11.2011 03:08

For Larry Barber;:; Was VSF-1 the A4 fighter sguadren dreamed up at Alameda to go aboard the ASW Carriers to protect the ASW Aircraft? I almost went back to fly them but my butt to my knees was an inch too long so ejection was a no and Pan Am was not enthused.

Meredith W. "Pat" Patrick, e-mail, 25.09.2011 18:34

The information is interesting but not at all accurate. It shows the picture of an A4A, originally A4D-1, but gives the specs for an A4E. There were many models of the A4 - Current terminology A4A, B, C, E, F, M and several TA4s. The A4A as shown weighed 8200 pounds dry and had 7800 pounds of thrust, making it a true Heinemann's hot rod. The A and B models were very dangerous. I had four complete engine failures in them in five years. One ejection, one ditching when the ejection seat didn't work either (see back cover of APPROACH Magazine July 1959), and two flame out approaches. One to MCAS Yuma and one to NAS Lemoore. This is a great reference but it needs to be more accurate. Also the A4 series should be under Douglas, not McDonnell Douglas. Pat Patrick Captain USN (Ret)

Jeff Ahrstrom, e-mail, 21.09.2011 03:30

There is a reunion for VMAT-102 planned for the 2012 Yuma airshow in March. Search VMAT-102 on Facebook. See you in March jarhead!

Carson Camp, e-mail, 17.09.2011 07:26

We have just took possession of a A-4M for a static display at our Veterans Memorial # 158530 on canopy is the Col William C. Blalock "Scoundrel" on other side is Col. William F. Oehl "Frosty" pictures are available as it now is in Dunlap, Tennessee

Larry Barber, e-mail, 29.08.2011 05:07

Does anyone remember VSF-1, A4 Bs & Cs out of Alameda CA ? I did 2 med cruise Shang & Indy A4 great plane.

Allen Petersen, e-mail, 21.08.2011 19:31

I was a Navy Aviation Electricians Mate and loved taking care of the electrical systems on this aircraft ... 1968 - 1971, then moved to the Phantom II.

DAVID L. CLEVENGER, e-mail, 01.08.2011 02:20


Norman Wood, e-mail, 03.06.2011 21:14

Spent 2.5 years as plane capt. with VA-106 at Cecil Field. 2 med crusises then moved to NAS Lemoore for the remainder of my 4 years. I enjoyed working on the A4 for my entire 4 years. Easy to maintain and service.

Ken Rector, e-mail, 30.04.2011 21:48

Attached to VA-45 "Blackbirds" at Cecil Field in late 60's which flew the TA4F. Looking for a picture of a TA4F attached to VA45 if anyone has any suggestions. Thanks.

Nick Nickerson, e-mail, 11.04.2011 22:06

I flew the A4A and B with VA-741 at NAS JAX in the mid sixties.

Michael Langworthy, e-mail, 20.03.2011 05:58

What a great aircraft to fly. Cash is right it was originally designed to give the Navy a nuclear weapon platform.

Louis Roath, e-mail, 25.02.2011 16:02

I started with the A-4E with VMA-332 at Cherry Point (1965), from there to Vietnam joining VMA-214 flying the A-4C. Back to Cherry Point and the TA-4F with VMAT-203. I did fly an A-4A one time on a maintenance test flight in Pensacola. I once flew a "C Model" through a tree in Vietnam at 450 knots and it brought me home. Not only a fun airplane, but pretty dam tough.

Joe DeMarco, e-mail, 23.02.2011 16:10

Retiered Marine A4 Mechanic, VMA-133, H&HS-12, and VMA-134. I also had the honor of flying back seat in the TA4-J (300 hours). She was tough to work on but when she flew there was no better feeling.

uncle-mac, e-mail, 11.02.2011 22:31

Forgot, A4s from coast to coast in the ferry comand. A4As to Ds did not take off well on a hot day. A4Es were a diferent bird. A4 one day, F8 the nex, and a A1 the next, Any right seat the next and back to an A4 to get back to North Island

uncle-mac, e-mail, 11.02.2011 21:51

Flew the A4B/C at Pt Mugu along with the F8 and F1 and the T-bird. Most fun was taking Frank Mz out for practice before he became a Blue, #4 Where did he go? and where did class 7-57 go? This was in the early 60's.

Ron Bowden, e-mail, 24.01.2011 23:55

I worked on every model A4, from A thru E, at El Toro, Iwakuni, Viet Nam, and Los Alimitos. It was a good plane from a mechanical stand point - hydraulics was my MOS. After nine years in the Corps, I used that training in the civilian world as an industrial Hydraulics Mechanic.

Paul E,. Nichols, e-mail, 24.01.2011 07:56

McDonnell Aircraft or McDonnell Douglas never had anything to do with this aircraft. It should be in the Douglas File.
We often reffered to this aircraft as Ed Heineman's Hot Rod.
I attended a lecture given by William Balhouse and Ed Heineman discussing the optimazation of size for a fighter. Balhouse bragged how they were going to use a computer to do it. Heineman say they had done it already the old fashioned way. Thus the A-4 was born. That lecture was in 1954.

Greg "Bug" Stevenson, e-mail, 16.01.2011 09:03

USMC '79-'92. 1600 hours of mostly A-4 time: TA-4 Js and Fs, A-4 Fs,Super Fs, and Mikes, and the OA-4 at HAMS 12 in Iwakuni... VMAT-102, VMA-311, and VMA-133. Great Airplane! Second the thought about the little jet being designed primarily to carry an atomic weapon. Mr Heinemann
told us this personally at a squadron dinner in his honor in 1984. Best Blue Angel airshow bird, ever!

Gary D McMillan, e-mail, 16.12.2010 19:23

I worked on the TA4J at NAS Kingville with VT-21 in the mid 70's, Flew backseat on rescue flights to fix down a/c. In the late 80's at Nas Dallas, was asigned to OMD,we had 4 A4's. We went to Top Gun and played the bad guys. In 1990 we aquired 4 A4M's from the USMC and dehumped them and made them into the 'Mighty Mike', light and very fast.That was agreat time and agood place to retire.

AOC James F Shaw, e-mail, 12.12.2010 02:59

Worked with the TA4 at Nas Pensacola (VT-4) Great A/C for an Ordnanceman. Remember the great times we went to MCAS Yuma for Pilot Training on Weapons. 1979-81

Bill Doody, e-mail, 04.12.2010 19:33

Flew the A4D - 1 in VA - 12 out of Cecil Field in Jacksonville Florida.After flying the F7U - 3 Cutlass our squadron welcomed the Skyhawk in June 1957 with some wide smiles and relief.

We took the A4D aboard the USS Ranger CVA 61 in October of '57 and our Skipper Marshall " Pete" Deputy was the first pilot of an operational jet squadron to land aboard.Event celebrated with a big cake. CDR Deputy also was awared the Navy Cross in WW ll.

john D. Henry, USMC, Retired m, e-mail, 02.12.2010 17:47

I was fortunate to have served in Marine A4 squadrons from early 1962 on. I was in VMA-331 at MCAS, Beaufort and later aboard the USS Independence in 70-71. I was with VMA-223 at Chu Lai, South Viet Nam in 66-67. The A4 was a great ordnance platform and not too difficult to maintain. A real work horse airplane. It was the Marine Corps top air to ground attack aircraft during it's time. Marine Naval Aviators who were fortunate enough to log alot of time in this aircraft absolutely loved it. I am sure the A4 could be of great benefit again during the present war in the middle East. A4s forever. Semper Fi.

Mike Jindra ("Buzzard"), e-mail, 18.11.2010 04:35

Flew A-4s (TA-4J & F, A-4E & Fs &M, and the OA-4M) in VT-21, VMAT-102, VMA-331, and H&MS-32. To the best of my knowledge, H&MS-32 was the first squadron of OA-4Ms i the Corps. Got a chance to put my experience as a FAC / ALO / S-3Air for BLT 2/6 to good use as a "Fast FAC" / TAC(A) shortly after returning to 2nd MAW from 2nd MarDiv in the Med ... when H&MS-32 received its first OA-4Ms. Really miss flying "the fastest tricycle in the West". A-4s Forever! [Still have my T-shirt.] Ron Rhoads, I think we were at MCAS Yuma about the same time. Likewise, Steve Sanford. Semper Fi! to you both ... and to all the other aviators who slipped the surly bonds ... aviating, navigating, and communicating without a "helper". :-)

Old Corps, e-mail, 02.11.2010 06:22

Spent a tour in I Corps RVN with First Marines, underneath these fast movers and the Phantoms. They kept our butts from getting overrun several times. They were like our guardian angels, coming in hot overhead, laying 20mm and HEAT on Charles' party. A big oo-rah to the drivers - you saved a lot of Marines, for sure. Thanks much.
Semper Fi.

Bob Whitehurst, e-mail, 28.10.2010 00:50

The only jet that the pilot ever strapped on to his back rather than the other way around! 2000+ hours in the scooter, then lots of A7 time, but never lost total loyalty to the great A4!

Bear Hildebrandt, e-mail, 27.10.2010 22:19

The mighty SKYHAWK will always be my favorite aircraft.I was lucky enough to accumulate over 3600 hours flying the A-4 in fleet squadrons, as an instructor in the training command, as an instrument guy in VA-45 and as a station puke begging flights at VC-8 in Roosy Roads. What a great bird !

cash, e-mail, 26.10.2010 19:59

your design description wrong. ed heiemann designed the A4 over the weekend at his kitchen table to give the navy a true atomic weapon capibility, viz., for the A4 to carry the Mark 7 weapon. that's why the A4 had the high spindley landing gear to clear the MK 7 diameter.

Ted (Bear) Langworthy, e-mail, 25.10.2010 05:15

Made 3 full cruises,Saratoga(Med),Enterprise(Nam),America(Med),from 63-67. Over 1700 hrs. and the first Naval Aviator to make over 500 carrier traps in one squadron and one tour. I trusted my life to the "Scooter" and she never let me down. The only marriage,so far, that did not end with a divorce!!

Carl Volinski, e-mail, 22.10.2010 20:06

I flew the A-4 C,E,F,M and TA-4 over a seven year period and flew with VMA-211 out of Chu Lai. Was also in VMA-214, the Blacksheep squadron a couple different times and met Pappy Boyington and had him sign the book. What a great little aircraft it was.

DAVID L. CLEVENGER, e-mail, 18.10.2010 20:27


John Lyons, e-mail, 14.10.2010 04:23

Attached to VA-155 1960-1963 as an AE we had (A4D-2s at the time then the nomenclature to A4Es). Even though I had all the schools for AE I preferred the action on the Flight Deck (and Flight Line at Moffett and then one of the first at LeMoore). 2 full cruises on CVA 43, Coral Sea. Spent many happy hours on, in and around the scooters. Plane captain and crew leader. I think I actually was required to spend 2 months in the shop prior to ending my enlistment. hey wanted to get a few hours of work from me for all the schooling! After college I tried to get into Naval Aviation, passed everything but was 3 months too old. Was offered back seater type work (this was 1969. Back seat in a F4?? No way! Became Comm. Instr. CFI I later, but no fun compared to the A4 pilots!

Steve Fisher, e-mail, 05.10.2010 18:04

After a short career in AV-8As, in early 1986 I was lucky enough to get in a reserve squadron at Cecil (VMA-142 Gators) flying the A-4F. What a great airplane! From there, I did a short stint with VMA-131 flying A-4Es our of Willow Grove. The little birds were definitely showing their age through up through 1987. Semper Fi everyone!!!

Jerry T. Baxter, e-mail, 30.09.2010 22:42

VA-12 CECIL FIELD-JACKSONVILLE,FLA.1962-1964 AMS MECHANIC,USS F.D.R. A very easy plane to work on and keep flying. Anyone out there remember those days. Where did everyone go.

Milt Jines, e-mail, 25.09.2010 00:09

I was in the first A4 squadron (VA-72, Oceana, VA, 1957) when the first fleet A4s were "issued." I was the first to achieve 1,000 hours in the little bird (I was presented a nice mahogany plaque from McDonnell-Douglas acknowledging this. I sent the plaque to the Museum in Pensacola (their request) and on my next visit there I asked about it's whereabouts and was told it was "misplaced." The museum also gave credit to VA-83 (JAX) for being "first" and even had a (retired) model (in VA-83 "dress") hanging in the lobby declaring them Number-1. Someone suggested "good ole boy" politics was involved. So much for that museum's credibility! I haven't visited since. I made two full-length cruises (Randolph and Independence) and accumulated over 300 traps. It was a great little aircraft.

Don Ward, e-mail, 22.09.2010 11:22

Anyone here from AOC class 44-61 or 45-61? Don Ward Pattaya, Thailand ps last aircraft I flew was a P51-D WOW!!!!

Joan Heinemann, e-mail, 09.09.2010 05:47

"Heinemann's Hotrod", a great plane indeed! I also was designed by Ed Heinemann and he was a Great Father as well.

Martin shapiro, e-mail, 28.08.2010 03:46

I was an AE and serviced the A-4 electrical and electronic systems 1970-1976. I was assigned to VA209 and also the
Air Barons team while stationed at Glenview Naval Air Station in Glenview Illinois.

I also participated in carrier qualifications on the USS Independence air craft carrier....with VA209

I always had the respect of the pilots as I always told them "I don't fly in what I fix". We had an excellent squadron, as the group always enjoyed the cross training of skills and excellent rapport with the pilots. We also had a lot of fun!

Today the plane, carrier and myself are all retired!
My career after the NAVY was in medical electronics for 22 years

Cpt. Fucko, e-mail, 24.08.2010 22:34

Awesome little plane. I fly this one all the time on WoV simulator for the PC.

Cdr. John H.Hawkins, e-mail, 21.08.2010 19:33

I loved flying the scooter. The A-4F "Super Fox" the most.
I wasn't crazy about being on instructor pilot at VT-4, but the TA-4 "julient" made it bear able.

Rod Letchworth, e-mail, 20.08.2010 18:20

I flew 289 combat missions in Vietnam - 269 in the A4E and A4F. Most missions were Close Air Support during the TET offensive, releasing ordinance at 50 feet and 350 knots. This little bird never failed to get me back to base - sometimes with a load of North Vietnam lead aboard, but it always got me back to base. Wonderful Machine!

Ken Ehrenhofer, e-mail, 11.08.2010 17:42

I wa in the Naval Reserves in 65 to 72 with VA 727 and
VA 725 working on avionics at NAS Glenview. Sure wish I could have flown one of those beautiful birds you pilots looked like you had way to much fun!

Pete Meyer, e-mail, 10.08.2010 21:51

Who doesn't love the Scooter!! 2500 hrs of great memories in the A-4E/M, TA-4F/J and OA-4M. Miss those days.

Ken Langford, e-mail, 10.08.2010 02:40

I flew the A-4B, C, E, M, TA-4F, and J, with two Combat Cruises in the C and E and feel that this aircraft was as good as it gets for forward close air support. When 12.7 is whistling by your canopy, 20MM silences it mighty quick. It was as worthy as the F-8 Crusaders, and the F-4 Phantoms I flew, but my all time favorite combo, air to air/air to ground was the FJ-4. Air to air only was the greatest engine to airframe mate of my lifetime, the F-4. Unfortunately the F-4S was too late as I am sure it would have been the greatest of them all.

Stan Hockett, e-mail, 28.06.2010 06:44

I'm a retired USAF Technical Sergeant; thats SSGT pay grade to Marines and PO1 to sailors. I saw many A-4s at NS Roosevelt Roads during counterdrug AWACS deployments. I always wanted to get up close, never did. Unlike the nuke sub on the way to retirement. Kewl a/c!

Ron Rhoads, e-mail, 19.05.2010 19:02

As an instructor in both a Navy training command TA-4J squadron and the Marine Corps A-4 Advanced Training Squadron in Yuma, AZ, I got to see the inside of several versions of the "Scooter". I also got to deploy in the first A-4M squadron to take the new aircraft to Japan. The beginning of the evolution of the avionics in all A-4's began with the A-4M. As the Maintenance Officer of VMAT-102, I got to oversee the installation of ARC-159(V)radios in our small fleet of TA-4F and J models. That was the beginning of a whole new life for the avionics shop. No more fixing the radio after every flight. Ed Heinemann had my stubby body in mind when he designed the little beauty. I would not trade one day in the snug little gem. Do you all miss it as much as me?

Ta-183 Huckebein, 16.05.2010 16:25

Last time i flew a Skyhawk I shot down a MiG-19!
he just rolled in front of me so I just gave him a burst of my machine guns and he just RIPPED APART!

GARY, e-mail, 07.05.2010 18:58


Doug Hileman, e-mail, 04.05.2010 18:36

I see some names on this list I'd like to contact, but can't figure how to get the Email address. Somf, Pigdog,and anyone remembering my name, I'm at "A-4s Forever & Semper Fi"

José Roberto, e-mail, 02.04.2010 07:04

I was chief engineer at J52-P408 Brazilian Navy Shop.
I would like to know if someone could tell me the name of the A4-Skyhawk Pitot Tubes factory ?

Bill "Sonny" Caldwell, e-mail, 26.03.2010 23:24

I flew the A-4D1, 2, 2N and A4C between 1960 and 1962 with VA-43 (RAG) and then with VA-83 aboard USS Forrestal. Loved every minute, except one flight when I had a dusk launch and night recovery in the Mediterranean. Learned I had no radio or lights (interior of exterior)before recovery. Came down on Bob Mandeville's wing (Bob retired as a RADM)and had a bad case of vertigo. Caught the #1 wire, as I recall! The A-4 performed well----without lights!

Steve Sanford, e-mail, 18.03.2010 03:20

I recognize several names on the previous posts. I ended up with just shy of 4000 hours in the Skyhawk which included A4-C, A4-E, A4-F, A-4M(Y), TA-4F, and TA-4J. I could never figure out how all of us tall guys ended up in the A-4 and the shorter guys in the F-4---I always had to bottom the seat out and then raise it less than an inch and kept one hand's width clearance between my helmet and the canopy. It was truly strapping it on for me. Love that jet.

Eugene Williams, e-mail, 15.03.2010 22:31

It is my opinion it was the best built aircraft ever. I worked for Douglas Aircraft 1953/1957 and was a tool design for them. I designed tooling that built the A-4. Reading all this brought back a lot of memories

Richard "Dick" Deibert, e-mail, 13.03.2010 06:06

A call to all my buddies who flew with VC-7 back in 1963-1969. I am new to the internet thanks to my grandkids. Would love to say HELLO to any one left out there in cyber space. Here's hoping.

Hugh Magee, e-mail, 11.03.2010 05:31

I was fortunate to "bag" slightly over 4000 hrs. in A-4B/C/E/F & TA-4J/F. 5 (straight) tours in VAs-94/55/125/146/44. 2 combat tours in VA-146 in '66 & '67. Like Marv, one less landing than takeff (lucky gunner)! Navy sure got their $$$ worth from the 'Ol' Scooter!

Skip Lewis, e-mail, 27.02.2010 21:13

I flew a variety of A-4s, A-4C, A-4E, A-4F, A-4M, TA-4J, TA-4F. One A4-E survived a mid-air collision with two F-8 Crusaders. I managed to land it aboard the USS Hancock with the left side horizontal stabilizer hanging loose and extensive fuselage damage. It never flew again.

The Skyhawk was my favorite of all the aircraft I flew.

Max allowed speed, clean at sea level was about 625 KIAS, about 0.92 mach (this from TA-4F/TA-4J NATOPS manual). Mach slightly above 1.0 was allowed at higher altitudes but difficult to achieve in level flight. I managed 1.02 once in a clean A-4E in a very steep dive starting from above 30,000 ft. With the higher thrust of later models it might have been a little easier, but rarely flew clean aircraft.

I agree that it should be listed under Douglas. The merger of McDonnell and Douglas didn't occur until 1967, well into the lifespan of the Skyhawk. Besides it was Edward H. Heinemann's genius that created it and he never worked for McDonnell-Douglas.

Dave Marshall, e-mail, 17.02.2010 13:44

Flew the A-4B,C,E,TF, and S for over 3,500 hours in Skyhawks including a tour with the Marines at Chu Lai. Was the test pilot and close air support consultant for the Republic of Singapore 1982-84. We were converting A-4C's to S's by the addition of two weapons stations, a drag chute, rewiring and modern avionics and ecm. The most unusual A-4 that I ever flew was the A-4S-2. This beast was made by taking the cockpit out of a second A-4C and welding it behind another cockpit in the first A-4C. You could not even see the pilot in the other cockpit from either the front or the rear. All comm had to be done over an intercom. Don't want to even go into the ejection system which fortunately I never had to use.

George J. Hupp, e-mail, 07.02.2010 01:58

I was a DAC Flight Test (Testing Division) Electtrician on A4D Buno 813 No. 2 aircraft at the El Segundo plant and at at Edwards. Took it through the tail flutter program. Tried many fixes but finaly solved the problem by adding the tail cone "pickle" and the powered "tad pole rudder" My last assignment was on Buno 086. "A4's Forever"

Charlie Rex, e-mail, 04.02.2010 03:40

I flew the T/A4G in the RAN. Great fun and they even paid me to do it - what a bonus! We had a number of USN/USMC exchange IPs with us over the years and they mostly ended up on the training squadron. But one who got a few traps on our dear old HMAS Melbourne was heard to utter one of my favourite Naval aviation quotes. He said on his departure “.. that he was privileged to land on the only carrier that gets smaller as you get closer to it.” Thanks Tom. We loved the old girl despite being in danger of being hoisted as a sea boat by one of the big US carriers.

J. D. Riley, e-mail, 02.02.2010 00:34

I flew the A4 from 1962 (A4B)to my last flight in 1982 (A4M), for over 3,300 hours all together. The A4M was the best one by far, whether in the air to ground role or ACM.

Bill Gilchrist, e-mail, 24.01.2010 02:18

I flew the A4B, C, E, F, L and TA-4 and loved every minute of it. What a wonderful, reliable airplane and my number of landings is the same as my number of takeoffs.

O.J. Semmes, e-mail, 23.01.2010 18:35

White in VRF-31 got to ferry several A4H's from Palmdale factory to Norfolk for shipment to Israel. Had split spool turbine (J-51?), drogue chute. Only nav aid was UHF DF and two UHF tranceivers. FAA allowed us in APC with fligt following under special permissions. Tried to non-stop but never had enough tail wind. Consistently made Maxwell AFB. Used the drogue chute once to see how it worked...but stuffing it back disuaded me from ever doing so again.
A4 was great instrument aircraft.

Bob Pergler, e-mail, 07.01.2010 05:37

Over 1500 hours in the Scooter - loved every moment but the windshield wiper left alot to be desired - coming aboard in heavy rain wasn't easy.

Frog, e-mail, 04.01.2010 20:24

The only airspeed restriction I remember was .9 mach when carrying drop tanks. Without tanks the max was whatever you could get out of a steep dive, maybe 1.1.

sens, e-mail, 05.12.2009 10:17

Can some former pilot give the never exceed speed of the A4's?

paul scott, e-mail, 18.08.2009 19:34

A great classic aircraft no doubt. A diminutive bomber 'The Scooter'.

Dick Cook, e-mail, 22.03.2009 00:36

This was one solid flying machine on carrier approach. I remember in the Carribean in VA-172 on the FDR (CVA-42) when we lost Jim McKinney on a cat shot. His left slat stayed in after the bridal release and he rolled and went in. Turns out we weren't getting enough end speed to handle this. The comment about slat lubrication made me think about this. Never did understand why they designed it with a three track. Hello to all the "tinker toy" drivers out there.

Rob Renney, e-mail, 28.12.2008 04:36

My dad was attached to VC-10 in Gitmo Bay Cuba. I am looking to build him a model of the TA4J model he worked on while stationed there. Any pics would be helpful. Thanks for your help.

Dennis Crilly, e-mail, 18.12.2008 04:14

I have over 2000 hours in this bird. One time I was flying along and I smelled smoke in the cockpit. As I was returning back to the Tico I noticed I could not get my flaps down. We were blue water operations so I had to bring this bird back on the deck. With no flaps down it felt like I was going two times the speed of stink. I did catch the number three wire tho. When I went to the ready room after I landed all of my squadron mates kept saying I was the best stick on the boat, think I woud have to agree.

Milt Jines, e-mail, 25.07.2008 08:56

As a newly winged Ensign I was assigned to the first fleet squadron of A4s, VA-72, Quonset Point, RI, later Oceana, VA (Virginia Beach). In those days of the cold war our primary mission was nuclear delivery (we could loft the 1.2 megaton Mark-12 weapon). I spent four years in VA-72 and made 2 Mediterrain cruises, USS Randolph (CVA-19)(Centurian) and the maiden shake-down and Med cruise on USS Independence (CVA-61). I was the first to obtain 1,000 hours in the Skyhawk ... McDonnell Douglas gave me a nice walnut plaque acknowledging that fact. I sent the plaque to The Navy's Museum of Flight (Pensacola) but when I visited there later, I was told they "lost" it! They also had an A4 hanging in the lobby with VA-83 colors and the erronous claim that VA-83 was the Navy's first operational A4 squadron! So much for the credibility of the Navy Museum of Flight!

Larry Wood, e-mail, 22.05.2008 03:20

The best description of the A-4 I ever read was that it was the last military airplane you could fly without voting with a computer. I flew the TA-4F, A-4E, A-4C, TA-4J, A-4F, A-4B (before they went to Argentina), A-4M, OA-4M, and the A-4Y (never called that, but it was an M with the bigger landing gear.) The most fun a boy can have in 3300+ hours.

Pat McGirl, e-mail, 22.05.2008 03:06

Flew the A4A,B,C,E,L,KU,TA4F,TA4J. All great a/c. Had an Adversary sqdn. at Miramar NAS in the 70's. Not even the F-14s got close to beating us. A worthy adversary when flown with no external stores. Having flown the early F-86's, I insisted on proper slat lubrication to prevent rolling high "G" departures to an inverted spin. Never had one.
Don't believe the 1988 mile range. Max range as the F8, 1,000 NM.

Ken Langford, e-mail, 15.05.2008 03:04

I flew the A-4B,C,E,M and the TA-4F and J for over 2600 hours and the scooter was a great air to ground platform. Honest, realiable and trustworthy throughout it's combat history in SE Asia.

Bear Langworthy, e-mail, 13.05.2008 16:52

agree that the A-4 should be listed under Douglas a/c.

T Kapurch, e-mail, 12.05.2008 14:49

This would be more appropriately listed under Douglas A/C who developed it.

Marv Garrison, e-mail, 02.04.2008 19:53

I was lucky enough to command two squadrons of Skyhawks and two Air Groups with A4's assigned. I flew in this order A4C, TA4F, A4B,A4A, A4L,A4E, A4f, A4M, and TA4J. I have one less landing than take-offs.

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