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Douglas Was Selling Every Skyhawk They Could Build When They Made This Film

Douglas Sold 2,960 “Mighty Midgets” and This Classic Film Helped Them Do It

Official US Navy Photograph

This film, produced by the Advertising Film Department of Douglas Aircraft Corporation during the early 1960s, highlights the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk light attack aircraft. The film has some great visuals (even if they aren’t exactly HD). It’s an obvious sales film for the Scooter, but it’s a good one and goes into details such as how Ed Heinemann’s design utilizes external cockpit strengthening as opposed to internal bracing, the integration of fuselage longerons for strong points, the main gear attachment points machined into the wing spars, the wet wing and other structure details, the new (at the time) buddy refueling tank description and attachment process, and J65 (later J-52) engine details and installation / removal. This one is more educational than your average early 1960s sales film.

The film was shot at the Douglas factory in Long Beach, California as well as aboard the aircraft carriers USS Hancock (CVA-19) and USS Forrestal (CVA-59). A4D-1 and A4D-2 Tinker Toys were filmed at several Naval Air Stations (NASs) and Marine Corps Air Stations (MCASs) as well as at what is now the Naval Air Weapons Station (NAWS) at China Lake in California. Skyhawks from Attack Squadron FIFTY SIX (VA-56) Champions, VA-76 Spirits, VA-83 Rampagers, VA-113 Stingers, VA-153 Blue Tail Flies, VA-192 Golden Dragons, VA-195 Dambusters, and Fleet Air Gunnery Unit Pacific (FAGUPAC) appear in the film.

Douglas A-4 production line.

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Written by Bill Walton

Bill Walton

Bill Walton is a life-long aviation enthusiast and expert in aircraft recognition. As a teenager Bill helped his engineer father build an award-winning T-18 homebuilt airplane in their Wisconsin basement. Bill is a freelance writer, an avid sailor, engineer, announcer, husband, father, uncle, mentor, coach, and Navy veteran. Bill lives north of Houston TX with his wife and son under the approach path to KDWH runway 17R, which means they get to look up at a lot of airplanes. A very good thing.

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