Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk

This TA-4J arrived at Estrella Warbirds Museum in May, 2010 from NAS Fallon under a long-term loan agreement with the Department of Defense. In case you've ever wonder about the condition of some aircraft when we receive them, this was a package deal, wrapped up in parts on a semi. The wings were remove the fastest way possible, but the sawzall used was not included in the accompaying tool kit. Of course one would think that instruction manuals are included - probably stuck with the sawzall. None to fear, we have the most wonderful, all volunteer restoration crew that always enjoys a good challenge.

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Manufacturer: Douglas
Year/Model: 1968 TA-4J Skyhawk
Tail Number: 158512
Power Plant: 8500 lb Wright J52-P-6 turbojet
Wingspan: 27 feet 6 inches
Length: 42 feet 7 inches
Height: 15 feet 3 inches
Gross Weight: 15,783 pounds
Maximum Speed: 660 mph
Maximum Range: 1,350 statute miles
Service Ceiling: 38,700 feet
Crew: 2
Status: Static Display
Owner: US Naval Air Museum, Pensacola, FL

TA-4J In Flight


Built from June 1969, the two-seat TA-4J became the longest serving of the Skyhawk's as the US Navy's standard advanced jet trainer until replaced in the early 1990's with the T-45A Goshawk. The TA-4J descended from the Navy and Marine Corps single-seat light attack aircraft which was the Navy's and Marines' standard light-attack fighter for nearly 20 years. Originally designated A4D-1 and first flown (as XA4D-1) on June 22, 1954. The basic role for the TA-4J is that of an Attack Plane with a modified mission as a trainer.

Armament consisted of two 20mm cannon in the wing roots, and three external racks carried either a weapons load of 5,000 pounds or drop-able tanks for a fuel supply of 800 gallons. The Skyhawk was one of the most successful attack aircraft in US Navy and Marine Corps service. Single-seat Skyhawks were much used by Navy and Marine Corps squadrons during the Vietnam War. Its low delta wing of 27 feet 6 inches was small enough not to require folding on aircraft carrier decks. During service, the Skyhawk acquired several nicknames including Mighty Mite, Scooter, Tinker Toy, Heinemann's Hot Rod, and Bantam Bomber.

The TA-4J was a dedicated trainer version based on A-4F, but lacking weapons systems, and with down-rated engine, 277 built new, and most TA-4Fs were later converted to this configuration.

Originally dubbed "Heinemann's Hot Rod" after chief design engineer Ed Heinemann, the A-4 Skyhawk is one of the best jet aircraft to have served with the US Navy and Marine Corp. Chosen to replace the A-1 Skyraider, the A-4's small design and light weight gave it the speed and power to exceed the Navy's expectations and fight on until today in air forces around the world. In 2002, the last TA-4Js were retired from US military service, however, there are still an unknown number flying with air forces in Brazil, Israel and Argentina. The Collings Foundation currently has a flying TA-4J as part of their Viet Nam Memorial flights.

Where has this plane been?

Produced in El Segundo
NAF Andrews, January 1980 (now Joint Base Andrews.
TW-3 training Wing 3 20 Jul 1987 - COMtrAWING-3 (C-425) - NAS Chase Field, TX
16 Oct 1991 – NASC FSO, MASDC – Davis-Monthan AFB, Tucson, AZ
To AMARC as 3A0616 on Oct 16, 1991

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