MCDONNELL DOUGLAS A-4 SKYHAWK

MCDONNELL DOUGLAS A-4 SKYHAWK

The Blue Angel plane that is situated on the roof of Nauticus is a McDonnell Douglas A-4 Skyhawk. More specifically, it is A-4E Bureau Number 150058.

Douglas built 2,960 Skyhawks between 1954 and 1979. Built small to be cost effective and so that more would fit on a carrier, the light-weight, high-speed bombers were nicknamed "Heinemann's Hot Rod", after 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 on August 4, 1964. Later, during the Israeli Yom Kippur war in 1973, Sky-hawks provided much of the short-range strikes on the Sinai & Golan Heights fronts.

The Navy's Blue Angels demonstration squadron flew the A-4 Skyhawk II from 1974 to 1986. This A-4 was not flown by the Blue Angels. The Skyhawk was featured in some movies, most notably being the aggressor aircraft used by instructors in the movie Top Gun.

 

Here are the technical specs for the plane:

First Flight: June 22, 1954
Type: Carrier-based attack bomber
Accommodations: Pilot only
Power plant: One 11,200 lb s.t. Pratt & Whitney J52-P-408A turbojet.
Dimensions: Span, 27 ft 6 in; length (excluding refueling probe), 40 ft 3.75 in; height 15 ft 0 in; wing area, 260 sq ft.
Weights: Empty, 10,465 lb; gross, 24,500 lb
Performance: Max speed, 670 mph at sea level; initial rate of climb, 8,440 ft/min; tactical radius, with 4,000-lb bomb load, 340 miles.
Armament: 2 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannon, 100 rounds/gun. Up to 9,155 lb of ordinance externally on five strong points.

References:
Boeing
Skyhawk Association
The Blue Angels

Online Exhibit Archive