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Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk
Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk
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The TA-4J Skyhawk model entered production in June 1969. It became the longest-serving of the Skyhawks 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 designed in the early 1950s by a team of Douglas Aircraft engineers lead by Ed Heinemann. The first Skyhawk prototype flew in June 1954.

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 (8.4m) was small enough not to require folding on aircraft carrier decks.

During service, the Skyhawk acquired several nicknames, including Heinemann's Hot Rod, Mighty Mite, Scooter, Tinker Toy, and Bantam Bomber.

This particular Skyhawk carries the name of its pilot, Lt. Jethro Flodin who flew "771", during its' service days, for about 800 hours. It last flew with Carrier Training Wing 1 (CTW-1), Training Squadron 7 (VT-7), at Naval Air Station Meridian, Mississippi. Its last flight was on October 7, 1999 when Navy Commander Erick “Gordo” Gerdes flew the Skyhawk from NAS Meridian to Forbes Field.

This aircraft is on loan from the National Museum of Naval Aviation, Pensacola, Florida.


McDonnell Douglas
Basic Role:
US Navy two-place, lightweight, high-performance trainer capable of operating from an aircraft carrier or shore base.
Instructor pilot and student pilot
One 8,500 lb (37.8kN) static thrust Pratt & Whitney J52-P-6B turbojet.
Max permissible speed @ 9,000 ft (2743m) pressure altitude:
702 mph (1,130km/hr)
Max speed @ Sea Level:
660 mph (1062km/hr)
Cruising Speed:
587 mph (945km/hr)
Range Normal:
1,350 miles (2,172km)
Max Range:
2,200 miles (3,541km)
Service Ceiling:
38,700 ft (11,796m)
27 ft 6 in (8.4m)
43 ft 7 in (13.3m)
15 ft. 7 in (4.75m)
Wing area:
260 sq ft (24.2sq. m)
Maximum field takeoff and catapult weight:
24,500 pounds (11,113kg).
Total operating weight:
12,273 lbs. (5,567kg)
Two 20mm guns, one in each wing root, and a variety of external stores could be installed on the TA-4J for Air Combat Maneuvering and Strike Warfare training.
Serial number:
US Navy BuNo 158716
Douglas TA-4J in flight Lt. Jethro Flodin and Squadron
Skyhawks in formation
Lt. Jethro Flodin & Skyhawk Squadron
Skyhawk 771 takes the lead
771 all by itself in the blue yonder
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