The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk is a single engine subsonic single-seat attack fighter, aircraft carrier capable. It was used by the United States Navy (USN) and the United States Marine Corps (USMC) in the early 1950s.
Other users were by nearly every country in the Free World at that time period. This delta-winged aircraft was designed and produced by the Douglas Aircraft Company, later McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company. The A-4D which was the original USN pre-1962 designation as a lightweight fighter aircraft which had maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 24,500 pounds.
The aircraft had 5 hardpoints (hardpoints are holding points to hold bombs, missiles, and even nuclear devices). It had the capability of carrying as much ordnance as the World War II B-17 Flying Fortress although a much smaller aircraft. The first A-4s were powered by a Wright J65 turbojet but the “E” models and beyond used the Pratt & Whitney J52 turbojet.
They were produced from 1954 to 1979 and 2,960 Skyhawks were built.
Aviation Tales are a collection of true stories from the past, some had a happy ending some did not. But they should pique the interest of any aviation enthusiast and draw attention to any non-aviation enthusiasts.
The One-Degree Error
Many years ago at the beginning of the jet age, a jetliner was scheduled to fly from Australia to Honolulu. The technology of the day required a Navigator in the crew to plot the course as they flew.
As with many crew positions, a student Navigator was being trained by a veteran but the veteran Navigator got a little complacent like Captain Smith of the Titanic. The veteran crew member let the student do most of the work, periodically checking him. Unbeknownst to the veteran, the student had made a 1-degree error shortly after take-off.
After several hours it became apparent that the flight might be off course a little. They were off-course big-time with just a 1-degree error, so they ended having to land at Guam over 3,000 miles West of Honolulu.
While a 1-degree error did not seem like a big deal it sent the jet so far off-course that they had to land at an airport thousands of miles away from their destination.
The C-5 Galaxy by Lockheed is a large military transport aircraft which was originally designed by Lockheed. It provides the United Air force (USAF) with a heavy long ranged airlift capacity. The C-5 can carry oversized certified air cargo a great distance.
The C-5 Galaxy has many attributes to the small predecessor the Lockheed C-141 Starlifter and the later developed Boeing C-17 Globemaster III.such as high wing, rear (C-5 only: front opening doors for loading outsized cargo) opening aft doors for cargo loading, four engines, passenger/troop capability, and long distance flight. The C-5 Galaxy is among the largest military aircraft in the world.
The USAF has operated the C-5 Galaxy since 1969. During that time the aircraft has been supportive of U. S military operations in all major conflicts including Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and the Gulf Wars. It also aided in humanitarian disasters around the world. The C-5 supported the United States Space Shuttle program.
The A-3D Skywarrior was designed as a strategic bomber for the United States Navy (USN). However, it was used as a utility aircraft in the roles of an electronic recon aircraft and as aerial in-flight refueling tanker. It was the longest servicing and the heaviest aircraft used on an aircraft carrier.
The A-3D Skywarrior was one of three to be intended as an aircraft carrier strategic attack bomber. The other two were the North American AJ Savage and the North American A-5 Vigilante. the Douglas B-66 Destroyer was developed from the A-3D for the United States Air Force (USAF) as a tactical bomber, electronic warfare and recon aircraft in the early 1970s
The F-84 Thudnerjet was built by Republic Aircraft Company. It was one of the early jet fighter-bombers, first flying 28 February 1946. The United States Army AirForce (USAAF) sent a request for a “day fighter” in 1944 and Republic Aviation responded.
Although the Thunderjet entered the service in 1947, it failed to perform any of the required aspects of it’s intended mission. This was due to an engine and structural problems.
In 1948, the USAAF considered canceling the F-84 Thunderjet program. Now with the their “backs against the wall,” Republic came forth in 1949 with the F-84D model which kept the program alive.
The model “evolution” continued with the F-84G in 1951 In 1954, the swept wing F84F Thunderstreak along with the RF-84F Thunderflash, a recon aircraft.
The F-84 was the primary ground strike aircraft during the Korean War, destroying 60% of the assigned targets and flying 86,408 sorties. Although no match for the Soviet MiG 15, the Thunderjet did score 8 victories over the MiGs.
The Thunderjet was the StrategicAir command (SAC) primary aircraft from 1948 through 1957. The F-84 was the first production jet fighter to have in-flight refueling capabilities. It could carry the Mark 7 nuclear bomb.
The designation of F-84 could be a little confusing with the various models but to clarify the F-84A-F84E and F84Gmodels were straight winged and called the Thudnerjet. Models F-84F was sweptwing and called Thunderstreak. The RF-84F was also swept wing and called the Thunderflash. There was an experimental model XF-84H, a straight wing turboprop called the Thunderscreech.
The numeral designation of F-84 was retained as the difference of the swept and straight wing was a few parts difference. There were 7,524 of all models and variants produced.
Have you ever wondered about strange lights or images in the sky? Is it something explainable or is something that defies normal understanding or explanation. I know you can’t be bothered with that “sci-fi” stuff!
Just suppose you did see something that was highly unusual or even slightly frightening. What would you do? Keep to yourself for fear of ridicule? Tell an unsympathetic law officer?
Maybe you call the local newspaper reporter who acts like he really is too busy to be bothered with such nonsense? You figure the government isn’t interested either.
Before you question your sanity, you are not alone. There have been many people in this world who have seen very highly unusual sights in the sky.
What I want to address in this brief post, is that they saw something or thought they saw something.
Let us define and clarify what the term UFO means and doesn’t mean. First of all it not synonymous with an “alien spaceship,” that is strictly a Hollywood label.
In the 1950s when the USAF Project Blue Book was started, the Air Force coined the acronym UFO and it meant (still does, today) Unidentified Flying Object. Simply stated, the aerial object is UNKNOWN!!
In March of 1997, an unusual event occurred in the night skies of Arizona which have been dubbed the Phoenix Lights or the Incident at Phoenix. This mystery actually started in Southern Nevada over the town of Henderson, NV.Then reports of strange lights over the Arizona towns of Paulden, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Dewey, and Phoenix.
In all cases, the lights appeared to be in a “V” formation. with some variations in shape. The lights seem to be connected to a solid object as the stars were blocked out as it passed overhead. In nearly all observations the “object” was
On a stormy evening on 02 July 1947, a controversial event took place near Roswell New Mexico. William “Mac” Brazel, who was a foreman on the Foster cattle ranch when this event occurred, was waiting out the storm that night.
This was nothing new as the “monsoons” (thunderstorm season) were in full swing. The next day Mac went out to check the pastures to see where the most rain had fallen as he would then move the herd into the best pasture for feeding.
In those days (the 1940’s) it was common to move around the countryside on a horse. As Mac rode into one pasture he noticed it was littered with the debris of a substance that was not familiar to him.
This metallic material was unlike anything that he had ever seen. It was very light much like our present day aluminum foil but extremely strong and would pop back into its original shape if you crumpled it up.
You couldn’t cut or burn it, it seemed indestructible. There were also small solid girders that had strange hieroglyphics printed or embossed them. They too seemed to be very strong.
These pieces of aluminum-like foil were scattered over an area of several hundred yards like something had crashed or crash-landed there.
Mac was a rancher, not an aviator, but he did feel compelled to tell someone of authority about this. He contacted Sheriff Wilcox in Roswell on 07 July 1947. The Sheriff’s office didn’t have any clue as to what this “crash or crash landing” was, as there were no reports of any civil aircraft missing.
About 2 weeks earlier, the infamous story about Kenneth Arnold seeing a flight of strange aircraft traveling at a very high speed near Mt. Rainer in Washington state. Arnold said they looked like saucers skipping on a pond.
The media then dubbed the phrase “flying saucers”. Flying Saucer mania swept the country. So when Brazel spoke with Sheriff Wilcox, Mac asked if this might be one of those “Flying Saucers” that was scattered over the Foster Ranch? Mac wasn’t sure what it was.
The F-104 Starfighter was built by Lockheed as a single supersonic interceptor fighter and fighter-bomber originally for the United States Air Force (USAF). More than a dozen allied air forces of the world purchased this aircraft from Lockheed as 2,578 were built.
This first flight was on 17 February 1956 and the first Starfighter went on-line on 20 February 1958. One of the “Century Series” of fighter aircraft was designed by a Lockheed team led by Clarence “Kelly” Johnson who helped develop such Lockheed famous aircraft such as the civilian Constellation, the military P-38 Lighting, Electra 10A,C-130 Hercules and many other well-known aircraft.
Later Kelly Johnson, the chief engineer at “Skunk Works”, played a major part in developing a highly classified place called “Area 51” which has been used in the past (maybe the future) for testing of new, classified aircraft and other military gear.
The F-104 would set numerous speed and altitude records. Several variants were produced for Canada, Italy, and other nations.
The Starfighter advancement among nations was marred by a bribery scandal involving Lockheed and serval countries in Europe and Japan. This tainted the image of Lockheed’s management. The F-104 itself seemed to weather the storm as it was sold to many European and Asian countries.
The F-100 also called the Super Sabre Jet was built by North American Aviation. This aircraft was called the first of the “Century Series” of jet fighters that served in the United States Ari Force (USAF) from 1964-1971. The F-100 was a follow-on to the North American F-86 Sabre Jet with higher performance. It flew as a close air support aircraft in the Vietnam War. It also was used, besides USAF, the Turkish Air Force, Republic of China Air Force, French Air Force.
There were 2, 294 Super Sabres produced between 1953-1959 by North American Aviation. The nickname was the “Hun” for F-100.