Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA1409 Douglas A-4F Skyhawk USN Blue Angels, #1

Designed to replace the antiquated, propeller-driven AD Skyraider, the A-4 Skyhawk was first flown on June 22, 1954. Douglas exceeded the original design requirements by delivering a carrier-capable aircraft that was only half the Navy's weight specification and so compact that it did not need folding wings. The A-4 was the first to use "buddy" air-to-air refueling (an A-4 could refuel other aircraft of the same type), which was helpful when operating in remote locations where dedicated tankers were impractical. The A-4 served the US Navy until 2003 and remained the preferred warplane for the Marine Corps until the 1980s, even after the introduction of the A-7 Corsair II.

In 1974 the Blue Angels downsized from the massive F-4J to the smaller more aeorbatic Douglas A-4F. Also this was during the oil crisis and the Skyhawk was more economical to operate, it was subsonic and more maneuverable which allowed for tighter displays and kept the performance in front of the audience. The pilots loved the A-4 because it was so easy to fly, it was simple to maintain and it had a very low accident rate. In 1986 the A-4 gave way to the newer F/A-18 Hornet.

Specifications Type Carrier based, single-seat attack bomber
Total number of “F” variant manufactured: 147
Length: 40 ft 1 in (12.22 m) Height: 15 ft 2 in (4.62 m) Wingspan: 27 ft 6 in (8.38 m) Wing area: 260 sq. ft (24.15 m2 )
Empty Weight: 9,853 lbs. (4,469.24 kg) Gross Weight: 16,216 lbs. (7,355.45 kg) Maximum Weight: 24,500 lbs. (11,113.013 kg)
Powerplant: 1 X Pratt & Whitney J52-P-408 Thrust-lb: 11,200 lbs. (5080.2345 kg)
Range: 2,000 miles (3,218.688 km) Max. Speed: 646 mph (1,039.6362 kph) Ceiling: 40,000 ft (1,2192 m)
Armament: 5 X hard points capable of carrying a maximum 10,000-lbs. 2 X 20mm cannon in wings with 100 rounds per gun.