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Watch: Skyhawk 518 Will Make You Want to Throw Down For Your Own Scooter

This Gorgeous Jet is Actually Three Jets Flying in Very Close Formation. Three Skyhawks for the Price of One Anyone?

Image via Skyhawk518 Twitter account

Private A-4 Skyhawk aircraft are becoming more and more common these days. Several companies have stockpiled former boneyard resident jets and they’ve slowly been coming on the open market after meticulous restorations. The jet in these videos, registered as N518TA, is (at least in part) Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk Bureau Number (BuNo) 158486 (CN 14291). Skyhawk 518 is a perfect example of a veteran jet that’s been effectively zero-timed and upgraded/updated with partial electronic flight instrumentation system (EFIS) cockpit displays and modern communications. These two videos were uploaded to YouTube by Skyhawk518

The second video is a belly-cam shoot of some Skyhawk cloud dancing. Makes you want to throw down the cash for your very own Scooter, no? Below the video are the fascinating facts about the sum of Skyhawk 518’s parts.

TW-3 TA-4Js. US Navy photograph

Skyhawk 518 actually began life as not one, not even two, but three separate jets. TA-4J BuNo 158486 was accepted by the Navy in 1972 assigned to Navy Training Squadrons VT-24 Bobcats and VT-25 Cougars with Training Air Wing THREE (TW-3) at Naval Air Station (NAS) Chase Field in Texas. The jet went to VT-4 Warbucks with TW-6 at NAS Pensacola in Florida in 1974 and remained there for 9 years. The jet was stricken and stored in 1983 before lending its forward fuselage and data plate to N518TA.

VA-76 A4D-2N. US Navy photograph

A4D-2N Skyhawk BuNo 149540, which contributed its aft fuselage to Skyhawk 518, was accepted by the Navy in 1962. The jet served first with VA-113 Stingers, then with VA-144 Roadrunners, VA-22 Fighting Redcocks, VA-113 again, VA-76 Spirits, VA-36 Road Runners, and VA-304 Firebirds. In 1970 the jet was converted to an A-4L. From there the jet went to VMA-124 Checkerboards and then VC-12 Fighting Omars before going into storage in 1976. The aircraft also spent time with the Malaysian Air Force before coming back to the states in 1986 and gave up its aft fuselage and empennage to a good cause.

VSF-1 A-4C. US Navy photograph

A4D-2N Skyhawk BuNo 148602, which contributed its wings to Skyhawk 518, was accepted by the Navy in 1961. The jet served with VA-192 Golden Dragons, VA-144 Road Runners, VSF-1 Warhawks, VA-216 Black Diamonds, VA-44 Hornets, VA-36 Road Runners, and VMA-131 Diamondbacks. In 1970 the aircraft was converted to an A-4L. After conversion the jet served with VMA-124 Checkerboards until 1976 when it was put into storage. Sold to the Malaysian Air Force in 1983, the jet boomeranged back to the desert in 1986. From there the jet became the supporting cast for N518TA. Your very own path to ownership of N518TA might begin at Platinum Fighter Sales.

VA-305 A-4Cs. US Navy photograph

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Bill Walton

Written by 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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