Our A-4C Skyhawk Bu No. 145072
HISTORY OF THIS AIRCRAFT
The A-4D2N (A-4C) on display was built in El Segundo CA in 1959. It was delivered to the US Navy at Patuxent Naval Air Station in Maryland and was flight tested there on November 11, 1959. It remained at Pax River until March 22, 1961 when it was transferred to NAS Norfolk Virginia.
AVM volunteers spent countless hours disassembling the aircraft at Dalgren VA. It was then loaded on two trucks and shipped to the Museum. The aircraft was in poor condition and our volunteers spent over 5000 hours refurbishing and painting the aircraft.
The McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was originally designed to provide the US Navy and Marine Corps with a simple, low cost, lightweight attack aircraft. The first prototype flew in June 1954. Later versions included a two-seat design for training and for sale to Singapore. Advanced versions were sold to Israel, Argentina and New Zealand.
First flying in 1954 and entering service in 1956 the A-4 Skyhawk has seen service until this very day. Picking up nick names like Scooter, Heinemman's Hot Rod, Ford and Tinker Toy, the Skyhawk came to be known as a classic aircraft. In June of 1952, the Navy awarded Douglas a contract for development of a light weight attack aircraft. In addition to light weight, the contract stipulated the requirement that the aircraft be capable of delivering Conventional or 'Special' weapons. (Pentagon-ese for nuclear weapons.) The aircraft also had to be able to defend itself in a hostile air environment, where superiority had not been achieved. The Douglas design team, led by Ed Heinemann, went work on the project, and by that Fall had come up with a design and built a mockup. The sturdy little jet was designed with the philosophy of "take the best jet engine, put a saddle for the jockey on it, put a wing under it and leave out everything else. Their efforts were approved by the Navy and on June 22, 1954, Test Pilot Bob Pahn made the first flight. Two years of test flights followed in the course of these tests, the Skyhawk became the first attack aircraft to hold the 500 kilometer closed course speed record, flashing around the course at an average speed of 695 mph, 300 feet above the ground. The two basic features of the Skyhawk design which contributed to the setting of this record were quick control response and structural integrity. This would enable the A-4 to hold on to the record for years to come.