A-4 Skyhawk vs Mirage III

Cold war, Korea, Vietnam, and Desert Storm - up to and including for example the A-10, F-15, Mirage 200, MiG-29, and F-18.
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quicksilver

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Unread post29 Jun 2018, 19:02

Ref the general matter of gunsight still-images, (and frankly, to be generous about it) they very often don't convey the reality of circumstances by which they were attained. As they are but a moment in time in the midst of very dynamic maneuvering they are often what pilots know to be very low Pk shots. I would characterize the image with the SHAR pitot as an example; it is a high aspect shot, there is no apparent alignment of the shooter's plane of symmetry with the target's plane of motion, and unless the SHAR is sitting on the pivot point of the target's turn circle at very, very low speed the target is generating a substantial track-crossing-rate relative to where the shooter needs to be pointing for a valid shot (the slats are out on the A4). All of which means (at best) "very low Pk shot" and in reality, the kind of relative position that might occur in many fleeting moments during a BFM enagement and which may or may not say anything about who won or who lost, much less how good one jet is relative to another.

In other circumstances, they are from moments when one aircraft is simply doing a re-join on another aircraft after an engagement or during the RTB.

So, words to the wise -- be careful about what you choose to believe (or not) from still-images.

As a footnote, there is a reason the A4 remained in the adversary corral at TOPGUN for such a long time, and the 'Miracle' design later found new life as 'KFIR' (a rocket ship with a J79).
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spazsinbad

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Unread post29 Jun 2018, 22:46

Heheh. That is why I made a cartoon out of the SHAR v A4G photo (taken off Jervis Bay just east of NAS Nowra). A 'SHAR through deck cruiser' was visiting at the time with 'ex-A4G now SHAR pilots' onboard with 800NAS. BEWARE the PESTER POWER of fighter pilots and their fotos! A great time was had by all apparently, with this particular photo sent to the CMDR AIR of NAS Nowra who had earlier been the first 'A4G to SHAR' exchange pilot in the RN for several years earlier. 8)
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post02 Jul 2018, 11:35

A PM question asked about the trial GYRO Gunsight in May 1971 on VF-805. It was a Thomson (Ferranti) C.S.F. R22 Gyro Gunsight I was told it was in use on some F-4 Phantoms at that time. It had a gun camera also. My only 'test' flight was on the air to air banner where I scored 32% but not with a full ammo load because guns jammed - I cannot remember rounds fired at the time - just recorded percentage in logbook as seen. Being the most junior pilot that was all for me and I made a squadron linebook entry using film from the gun camera. As recorded elsewhere we did not proceed with a purchase because of bean counter belt tightening at the time. The original gunsight was deemed good enough for our role.

The original page was modified by me again for the 4.4Gb PDF so I guess I should take away the addons also - meanwhile the sight picture is seen top right hand corner replicated below. The amended almost PDF is attached with a JPG with similar almost original page. Chinese 'funni doggerel' propaganda was popular at the time. Thompson is my name - I think the THOMSON was deliberately misspelt at the time of the 'black hand' (upper left corner). Logbook page attached also.
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VFgyroGunsightLineBook.pdf
(438.21 KiB) Downloaded 262 times
A4GgyroGunsightPicture.jpg
VFgyroGunsightLineBookORIGINALalmostTIFed.jpg
VFgyroGunsightLineBookORIGINALalmost.pdf
(345.61 KiB) Downloaded 256 times
GyroGunsightTestLogBook.gif
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post06 Jul 2018, 04:50

Ex-A4G pilot (transferring to RAAF Mirages/Hornets) when RAN FAA fixed wing folded in 1984) Air Chief Marshall Mark Binskin retires today from Chief of Defence Force position. Accent places him from Western Suburbs of Sydney (a 'westie').

https://www.theage.com.au/politics/fede ... 4zpow.html

RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post20 Jul 2018, 23:05

Mark can tell a 'SKYHAWK A4G v MIRAGE IIIO' story better than anyone on this planet. PDF of GIF attached also:

http://www.defence.gov.au/Publications/ ... 2/6012.pdf (5.1Mb)
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BinskinFarewellRAAFnews12July2018.pdf
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biobin1.gif
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post07 Jan 2019, 17:45

A PMer inquired about the video here: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=53537&p=379204&hilit=lead#p379204 I had forgotten about it altogether - I guess the TOPGUN Skyhawks had a special camera for the gunsight film. Also recently saw pic in the eight page TOPGUN TURNS 50 article by Barrett Tillman in Aviation History Magazine Mar 2019 magazine attached below.
Caption: “An F-14A and A-4F make a close pass during a TOPGUN dogfight in 1982
&
VINTAGE FOE
“The Douglas A-4 Skyhawk represented subsonic dogfighters such as the MiG-17s encountered over North Vietnam. This
A-4F is carrying a pod that electronically transmitted details of air-to-air engagements for later review.”

VFC-12 Adversary TA-4F Gun Sight ACM REAR Tomcat F-14 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER6eUCLqkGA

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TOPGUN Aviation History Mar 2019 pp8.pdf
(10.08 MiB) Downloaded 199 times
F-14A & A-4 Aggressor DogFightPass.jpg
A-4FslickAggressorVFC-13.jpg
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post03 Aug 2019, 01:29

'Remembering USN Scooters TA-4J' Combat Aircraft Magazine Sep 2019 pp6 attached below.
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Remembering USN Scooters TA-4J Combat Aircraft Sep 2019 pp6.pdf
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RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post03 Aug 2019, 13:31

A fine read, many thanks for the article Spaz.
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Unread post14 Aug 2019, 00:47

Because this article spans several pages and has been concatenated into one page below which makes the text size small.

TA-4F/TA-4J USN NATOPS (1992 flight manual) PDF: https://www.scribd.com/document/3831720 ... a-4f-Ta-4j (34Mb)
A-4s! Forever
Art Nalls Aug 2019

"When I received my wings of gold in June, 1979, those bumper stickers were all over every U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps jet base, and for good reasons. By that time, the A-4 "Skyhawk" built by the Douglas Aircraft Corporation, had already been in service for nearly three decades, been to war, and was a workhorse of USN and USMC jet aviation. Known as the "Scooter" and "Heinemann's Hot Rod," all but a few jet aviators, who were provided advanced jet training by the USAF during Viet Nam, cut their teeth in A-4's. I carrier-qualified in a TA-4J, BuNo 158509 on May 2, 1979 with a whopping 250.2 hours of total flight time. That was the average flight time for Student Naval Aviators (SNA) making their second and final carrier qualification before being "winged" and was already fond of and comfortable with the "Skyhawk."

Many newly minted pilots, myself included, also flew A-4s at their next duty station, prior to transition training in their actual fleet jet. I flew the OA-4Ms, assigned to Headquarters and Maintenance Squadron (H&MS-32) at MCAS Cherry Point. This version was a highly modified TA-4J, designed specifically as a platform for Forward Air Controller (FAC) Airborne. These proficiency flights were to keep me current before my Harrier flight class convened and so I could become familiar with the local course rules. It was considered too much for students to learn new course rules and a completely new airplane such as the "Harrier," so we took baby steps. In my opinion, the multi-tone gray camo OA-4M, with its added hump back for the radios, and "MARINES" on the aft fuselage, was one of the best looking A-4s. It was just plain sexy. Flying it, however, was another story for another time, and its service with the Marines was short lived.

Cherry Point was also home to several A-4M squadrons. Together with the Harriers, we were the foundation of the Marine Corps close air support and light attack force. There was always a friendly rivalry between "Harrier" and "Scooter" pilots, all of whom were part of Marine Aircraft Group (MAG)-32. Eventually, all those A-4 pilots either transitioned to "Harriers" or went on to other things in the Marine Corps.

Besides a front-line-light attack jet, the A-4 was used by aggressor squadrons and still today fulfills that vital mission flown by government contractors. Its flying characteristics and small size make it the ideal adversary - difficult to see and difficult to shake once it's stuck on your six.

Dale Snodgrass, a retired Navy F-14 fighter pilot, is still flying as the chief pilot for Draken International, providing adversary support for multiple services. According to Dale, "It's the 90-percent solution for about 20 percent of the cost. It's still an awesome airplane and a bargain for the U.S. Government."

The USN's Blue Angels flew beautiful blue and gold A-4s with polished leading-edge slats, from 1974 until 1986, replacing the F-4 "Phantom" and prior to their current jet, the F/A-18 "Hornet." For those decades, the A-4's were literally all over the world, with multiple services and multiple countries.

When I was stationed at NAS Patuxent River, Md., I was fortunate to be the project test pilot for an upgraded engine. This required verifying the engine would re-light if the pilot had a flameout. My test plan was to intentionally shut down the engine at about 40,000 feet and glide down to below 20,000 feet and attempt a relight. Doing this flight test, I accumulated more than three hours of flight time in A-4s without the engine running. This was some of the most fun, and most dangerous, of flight testing, as we had to be prepared to land the airplane dead-stick, in case it did not relight. Fortunately, all the starts were successful.

So many aviators fell in love with the jet, the bumper stickers, T-shirts and hats were everywhere, probably in multiple foreign languages as well.

Almost everyone loved this jet and hoped they'd be in the inventory for years to come. It created a near-cult following, but nothing lasts forever. Eventually, they all retired to the bone yard to support our allies still flying the jets with spare parts.

Today, there are a precious few in civilian hands and flying, either for U.S. Government work or at airshows. Victor Miller owns the beauty on this month's cover and keeps it in a hangar at Old Perrin Air Force Base in Sherman, Texas. It 's been in his hands and flying since 1996, and at one time augmented Draken International's fleet as adversaries for the U.S. Government. For the past couple of years, it just sat idle in the barn, surrounded by his multiple single-seat models, engines, and spare parts.

But Victor wanted to get the airplane back in the air. Imagine my delight when, out of the blue (no pun intended), Victor called and invited me to be part of getting this airplane back into flying shape. I jumped at the opportunity. Who wouldn't?

I had a business trip scheduled for Dallas in April of this year, so I took my helmet and flight suit along with me. Victor could supply the rest of the gear I needed. So with a day off from business, my wife, Pat, and I headed to his airfield to meet Victor in person.

I must say, the photos, as brilliant as they are, do not do this airplane justice. It's downright gorgeous! A quick walkaround, and I was almost ready to hop in and go. I have a type rating, by virtue of past flight experience, and re-read the entire flight manual on the airline trip. Much of it came back instantly, but after an hour or so in the cockpit, I felt as comfortable as I had ever been. All the checks and emergency procedures came back like they'd never left.

One of the critical parts of the preflight, is checking the leading-edge slats. The A-4 has a tapered wing, and aerodynamically actuated leading-edge slats, to improve slow speed and high angle-of-attack lift and handling. They are simple but critical.

Adjusting the slats to get them perfect is more of an art rather than a science. They take correct lubrication and small shims to make sure they both come down and go up simultaneously. There is not an interconnect between the two. On a normal landing, they are partially out in the approach and fully extended when on-speed. [At Optimum Angle of Attack - not quite - between half & 3/4th extended] ("...Slats should be approximately one-half extended at approach speed, gear and flaps down...." physical page 86 TA-4F/TA-4J NATOPS) In air combat maneuvering, they also extend at slow speed or high AOA. Here's where the art comes in. If they are not perfect, one will extend before the other and cause a roll. There is also a possibility that one can get stuck, either full in or out. That becomes a handful quickly, especially if trying to stay on the enemy's tail. They need to be perfect.

When I did the walk around on Victor's jet, the first thing I did was test the slats. Admittedly, I expected them to need some "tune up," but they were perfect! I even repeated the tests to make sure. If the slats are fine, the rest of the airplane maintenance is usually fine as well The slats are the hard part.

Unfortunately, I did not bring my torso harness, which is what we use to strap into the ejection seats. Victor's supply didn't have the size I needed, so a flight was not going to happen. This was even more disappointing, since I had a perfect-fitting one, hanging in my office. There was no way to get it in time.

We quickly moved to our backup plan. We would start, go through all the checklists, taxi, and do a high-speed run down the runway. I was at least going to go that far.

Victor's cockpit is not stock. I don't think any civilian models are stock but have a combination of civilian gyros, navigation avionics, and civilian radios. I took some time to fully absorb the avionics and be ready to start.

Not to let the back seat go empty, and as a backup to my procedures, I was accompanied by David Lanham in the backseat. He's been studying the manuals and has taxied the airplane. He's working toward his type rating. He knows this particular airplane very well. With the engine started, checks complete, off we go to the runway.

The little jet certainly accelerated like a rocket because we were only about at half of the internal fuel load, and the drop tanks were empty. It would have leaped off the ground, I'm sure. But we planned to hit 80 knots, stop, and take it back to the barn.

Once back in the chocks, I passed a short list of "touch up" gripes to Victor. These were minor things that needed a little adjustment before we actually flew. He promised to get them all corrected, by the next time, and I certainly hope there is a next time.

As of this writing, I haven't been able to get back to Dallas. In the meantime, Victor has enlisted some other experts to go over the airplane and make sure it's safe and ready to get back in the air.

He wants to get the airplane back working for the U.S. Government. I'm still on the list to do some government flying and possibly some flight instruction.

I'm confident our schedules will align, sooner rather than later, and I'II get back in the cockpit and back in the saddle. I can't wait! I love this jet and truly hope to be flying A-4s forever, or as long as I can fool a flight surgeon."

Source: In Flight USA Magazine August 2019
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A-4s 4eva In Flight USA 08 2019 Forum.pdf
(1.98 MiB) Downloaded 36 times
RAN FAA A4G Skyhawk 1970s: https://www.faaaa.asn.au/spazsinbad-a4g/ AND https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwqC_s6gcCVvG7NOge3qfAQ/
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Unread post14 Aug 2019, 04:08

I recall one Tucson Guard drill weekend in the mid 70s when we had two VMFA-314 F-4s and two VMA-211 A-4s come in from El Toro to fly against our F-100s and A-7s (and for some free beer).

The A-4s' slats must have been 'artfully adjusted', credit USMC MX. The A-4s had considerable success overall, the drivers were excellent. Impressive machine.

The F-100 had the same airload slat system....I've observed others, and rode thru an occasional uncommanded snap roll myself when a momentarily hung slat would suddenly let loose.

(USMC MX sidebar: One of the 314 Phantoms landed at TUS with one flat nose tire. Crew said, "No problem, we air it up before each takeoff." :shock: They did.)
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Unread post14 Aug 2019, 17:58

outlaw162 wrote:(USMC MX sidebar: One of the 314 Phantoms landed at TUS with one flat nose tire. Crew said, "No problem, we air it up before each takeoff." :shock: They did.)

:lmao:
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