Hobby Master 1-72 Air Power
HA1428 Douglas A-4C Skyhawk BuNo 149574, VA-153, USS Coral Sea, 1960s

Designed to replace the Douglas AD-1 Skyraider the Skyhawk first flew in 1954. Its small size was a radical departure from the normal “Big” thinking of the time. The USN first took delivery in late 1956 with the USMC receiving theirs 3 months later. Over the years many nicknames were used, “Tinker Toy”, “Heinemann’s Hotrod” (the designer was Ed Heinemann), with the E and F models labeled the “Camel” because of the electronics hump along the dorsal. Probably the most well known nickname used for the 2,960 A-4’s that were produced is “Scooter”.

In February 1965 A-4C 149574 was transferred from VA-144 to VA153 “Blue Tail Flies” onboard the USS Coral Sea. In Vietnam this aircraft made numerous sorties carrying ordnance such as Mk. 84 2,000 pounds and fuel tanks. On June 25, 1965 while on an armed reconnaissance flight 10 miles north of Thanh Hoa and piloted by CVW-15 CAG, ex-VA153 CO, Cdr. Peter Mongilardi, A-4C 149574 NL/306 was hit by 37mm flak and crashed killing the pilot. Mongilardi became the first CAG to be shot down in the Vietnam War.

Specifications McDonnell Douglas A-4C
Crew – 1 Pilot
Length – 40ft 3in Wingspan – 27ft 6in Height – 14ft 11in
Empty – 10,450 lbs Loaded – 18,300 lbs Gross – 24,500 lbs
Powerplant – 1 x Wright J-65-W-20 non-afterburning turbojet, 8,200 lbs. of thrust Maximum Speed – 673 mph Combat Radius – 1,000 miles Ferry Range – 2,130 miles Service Ceiling – 42,250 ft Maximum Rate of Climb – 8,440 ft/min