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 backseat fisheye view of a demo flight. 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.
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.
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.
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. The jet was purchased so it’s no longer for sale, but most of the time you can find a Scooter of your very own online.