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The A-4 Skyhawk

The McDonnell-Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was the smallest operational jet to have ever served with the U.S. Navy's aircraft carriers. It was introduced in 1955 and remained in operational service in the U.S. for almost twenty years (N.Z. still used them until recently when the RNZAF fighter arm was disbanded). Production finally ceased in 1979. the A4 was a very successful aircraft because it achieved good performace due to its light weight and could be upgraded with new avionics as they became available. Around 3,000 were built.

The Skyhawk has a length of 39' 4" (12m) and a height of 15' (4.57m). The wingspan is 27' 6" (8.4m) and the wing area is 260 sq ft (24 sq m). The empty weight is 8400 lbs (3810 kg), the gross weight 14875 lbs (6746 kg) and the maximum weight 20000 lbs (9070 kg). Propulsion comes from 1 Wright J65-2-4 engine of 7700 pounds (3492 kgs) thrust giving a maximum speed of 664 mph (1069.00 km/h or 578 knots).

Update: According to a contact with RNZAF, their aircraft have updated Pratt and Whitney J52 P8B engines producing 9300lbs thrust and giving a top speed of 670 mph at sea level, a cieling of 49,000 feet and a loaded range of 920 miles. Thanks for the correction.

Use the controller above to watch the A4 fly past (this requires Quicktime, and is a moderately large movie). I apologise for the poor quality of this movie but it was originally encoded in the "early days" of internet video!


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