Sunday, August 14, 2016

Skyhawk!

The F-18 gate guardian wasn't the only bird observed at Belle Chasse the other day. I found this A-4 Skyhawk there, too.
This one, 147750, is an A-4C that was one of the 100 airframes upgraded to an L version with the addition of the avionics hump.
These versatile little warbirds were used by American and allied forced for a long time. The first ones came into service in 1956 and the last ones were retired from VC-8 in 2003. The Israeli Air Force, the largest foreign operator of the A-4, just retired their last ones in December, 2015. And there are still a few countries using them today along with a host of private operators.
This was the smallest fighter capable of carrying nuclear weapons back in it's day. It was so small that it could be operated from carriers without the need for folding wings. John McCain flew one of these over Vietnam and was shot down in one. And the Blue Angels flew them for a while, too. I saw them perform with these a few times and they could d amazing things that they don't try with the F-18s today. They were seriously maneuverable, which is why they were used as adversary aircraft by TOP GUN and other training units.
I want one of these now. Pity my work car didn't have a trailer hitch.

8 comments:

  1. Now there's a fine looking bird!

    gfa

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  2. Gotta love the Hot Rod

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  3. Yep, straight IFR probe is a Charlie. 720 degree per second roll rate too! :-)

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  4. "Heineman's Hot Rod"!

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  5. I knew a guy who was a Scooter driver. He told me that he was given an attack route with a nuc into a Far East Asian Soviet base. He did say that the attack plan was really light on the subject of "and then what."

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  6. First sketch was on a grocery bag...LOL

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  7. I heard a talk from former POW Paul Galanti. He stated it was the last aircraft that cost under 1 million dollars adopted by the government and the last without a computer. It was certainly the last he flew in the decade of the 1960s.

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  8. Thanks for sharing these birds pictures and stories

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