The A-4 Skyhawk

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Yellowhammer

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Greetings Friends,

I would like to start by saying that the A-4 Skyhawk is my favorite aircraft of all time. I cant get enough of the 'Scooter".

With all the talk about scale warbirds lately I have, for a long time, always wanted to create a replica A-4. Only recently has there been jet engines available that might could power a scaled down version. I know the Skyhawk is already considered a scaled down airframe due to it's small design size but I just love the pure delta wing, the roll rate, and the overall look of Skyhawk.

If anyone has an opinion or shares my passion for A-4 please feel free to post a comment.

However, my ultimate question is does anyone think a scaled down version could be done?


Thanks in advance for sharing.

Sincerely and Respectfully,

Yellowhammer
A-4's ForeverA-4.jpg
 

Will Aldridge

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First thing I would do is superimpose a BD 5J side view over the skyhawk side view and compare. That would at least give you an idea of how the proportions match up.
 

Vigilant1

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I don't know how anyone could not love the A-4. It helps to see one in real life to appreciate the small size, especially nose-on.

I'm afraid it would be a tough project with today's small jet engines. A to-scale A-4 would have a very short wingspan for its size, and that means that its climb on the low thrust of these small jet engines might be poor. Maybe it is doable, but probably harder than some other early jets.
 

BJC

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Thatone

plus, the cockpit of the full scale airplane is really small. Scale it down , and it would be difficult to accommodate a normal size pilot.

There was a privately owned A-4 at Sun n Fun a few years ago.


BJC
 

Angusnofangus

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An A-4 would be my choice if I could afford a jet warbird. Small, nimble, relatively simple and easy to maintain, and inexpensive (for a jet warbird) to operate. What more could you want?
 

Mad MAC

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Starting with one of the TA-4 might help, as it would give a larger canopy to start with or one of the Singaporean TA-4SU as they are actually longer.




If you kept the slats, one could go with manual slats to solve a heap of aerodynamic development issues.
 

plncraze

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Contact Magazine had an issue devoted to a small A-4 using a Corvette ZR-1 engine and a Q-Fan. It was an Embry Riddle class project.
 

TFF

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I have a friend who was the last Douglas A-4 tech rep. He has lots of stories.

Once they were removed from the US inventory, he would go abroad or work on secret stuff at Edwards with contract A-4s. Happened to come home on a vacation from Kuwait a couple of days before it was invaded. All the A-4s got out.

He was a Marine and first started working on them in 69. Lots of stories and he had about 1000 hours in the back seat of the TA-4 as an “observer”. Since the autopilots were disabled on all A-4s he would be the autopilot for whoever was PIC. He always wanted to go super sonic and the TA-4 just had too much extra drag to break through. He said they would do split s from 30,000 ft trying but it would never go through.
 

wktaylor

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I presume You are aware of the A-4 Skyhawk [lovers] association! Home Page | The Skyhawk Association

USN/USMC A-4 'Tinker Toy', 'Heinneman's* Hot-Rod' is my absolute second most favorite military Jet.

*After Ed Heinemann retired from Douglas LB-CA, he went to work at GD Ft Worth TX... as the structures design-lead for the F-16 prototype! We all know something about that little single-engine jet project...

Problem with scale is that the A-4 wings are short span for carrier 'packing'... and scaling the jet down would make for teeny-tiny wings. The A-4 had to use generous [complex] leading-edge flaps for low-speed lift/controllability. The horizontal stabilizer is another issue... simple/complex movement. For a single engine jet of it's era... this was one tough mudder!

The tall landing gear is also another issue.

And those huge inlets would have to be carefully scaled to fit what ever TJE or TFE was to be installed.

The USAF Cessna A-37 is 'my #1 baby'. A-37 Association, Inc [lifetime member]
 

Yellowhammer

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The best formation aerial display I ever saw was in Abbotsford BC way back with the Blue Angels flying A-4s. Very low, very tight turns. Nothing like the shows flown today.

I wish I could have seen the Blue's in the A-4's. I have seen them so many times and every time they have been in the F-18 of course. At least we will get to see them upgrade to the Super Hornet next year.

I grew up in Baldwin Country (Daphne-Fairhope), Alabama I would see the Angels practicing almost everyday when they were back home at NAS Pensacola.
 

Yellowhammer

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I presume You are aware of the A-4 Skyhawk [lovers] association! Home Page | The Skyhawk Association

USN/USMC A-4 'Tinker Toy', 'Heinneman's* Hot-Rod' is my absolute second most favorite military Jet.

*After Ed Heinemann retired from Douglas LB-CA, he went to work at GD Ft Worth TX... as the structures design-lead for the F-16 prototype! We all know something about that little single-engine jet project...

Problem with scale is that the A-4 wings are short span for carrier 'packing'... and scaling the jet down would make for teeny-tiny wings. The A-4 had to use generous [complex] leading-edge flaps for low-speed lift/controllability. The horizontal stabilizer is another issue... simple/complex movement. For a single engine jet of it's era... this was one tough mudder!

The tall landing gear is also another issue.

And those huge inlets would have to be carefully scaled to fit what ever TJE or TFE was to be installed.

The USAF Cessna A-37 is 'my #1 baby'. A-37 Association, Inc [lifetime member]

Yes sir I am aware of the Skyhawk lovers organization.

Each of your points regarding the design of the A-4 in regards to scale I have considered. One thing that I keep going back to is how the design of the pure delta wing configuration.

In my humble opinion, I feel that this was the heart and soul of the A-4 allowing it to carry massive amounts of payload while still maintaining its maneuverability. Also, I think it helps in the slower flight envelope as it proved to on the real plane.

Thank for your input sir!!
 

Yellowhammer

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Born In Alabama, reside: Louisiana (unfortunately)
I presume You are aware of the A-4 Skyhawk [lovers] association! Home Page | The Skyhawk Association

USN/USMC A-4 'Tinker Toy', 'Heinneman's* Hot-Rod' is my absolute second most favorite military Jet.

*After Ed Heinemann retired from Douglas LB-CA, he went to work at GD Ft Worth TX... as the structures design-lead for the F-16 prototype! We all know something about that little single-engine jet project...

Problem with scale is that the A-4 wings are short span for carrier 'packing'... and scaling the jet down would make for teeny-tiny wings. The A-4 had to use generous [complex] leading-edge flaps for low-speed lift/controllability. The horizontal stabilizer is another issue... simple/complex movement. For a single engine jet of it's era... this was one tough mudder!

The tall landing gear is also another issue.

And those huge inlets would have to be carefully scaled to fit what ever TJE or TFE was to be installed.

The USAF Cessna A-37 is 'my #1 baby'. A-37 Association, Inc [lifetime member]

The A-37 is an awesome airplane. I got about two hours total of simulator time in the T-37 at Columbus Air Force Base in Mississippi years ago. The simulators the military are using today are vastly different than back then. This was in 1995 when I passed through there.
 

RJW

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Saw the Blue Angels in A4s when I was in the navy around 1983. Very fun to watch. One of them hit a seagull which knocked a pretty big hole in the leading edge of the port wing root. They patched it up quickly and it was back in the show. I had to "guard" the planes that night. Don't know what I would've done had something happened. I was a 120lb kid with no weapons and no way to communicate with anybody. I guess I would have just hollered a bit.

I sat in an A4 a couple years ago. I'm 5'10" and 175lbs. Don't know how anybody fit in them. A Bf 109 would be more comfortable.

Rob
 

REVAN

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My recommendation is to not attempt a scaled down A-4. The A-4 was a great plane because it was designed to get the job done with the most simple and minimal aircraft and expense. You would do better to scale the design philosophy rather than scale the airframe. Look into an A-4 inspired design. Many of the A-4's aesthetics can be transferred to the new design. It won't look like a small clone of the A-4, but it will be obvious that it shares a lot of design DNA with your favorite aircraft.
 
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