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Watch This Pristine A-4B “Scooter” Strut Its Stuff For An Illinois Airshow Crowd

The Story of This Aircraft and It’s History Reads Like a Who’s Who of Early-Model Skyhawk Operators

This video shows the Warbird Heritage Foundation’s Paul Wood flying their Douglas A-4B Skyhawk during the 2017 Northern Illinois Airshow at Waukegan in Illinois. The Scooter is painted as BuNo 148609, actually an A-4C model flown by Lieutenant Commander Ted “T.R.” Swartz of Attack Squadron SEVEN SIX (VA-76) Spirits operating from the carrier USS Bon Homme Richard (CVA-31) during the Vietnam War. LCDR Swartz used an unguided Zuni rocket to shoot down a MiG-17 FRESCO over North Vietnam on May 1st 1967. Swartz’s Zuni kill was the only air-to-air victory by a Skyhawk during the Vietnam War.

Thanks to our friends at AirshowStuffVideos for uploading this performance video.

The actual airframe flown in the video is A-4B BuNo 142112 (CN 11366). The aircraft was accepted by the Marine Corps at the Douglas factory in El Segundo California on September 30th 1957. While with the Marines the Scooter flew with VMA-211 Wake Island Avengers, VMA-224 Bengals, VMA-225 Vagabonds, VMA-533 Hawks, VMA-242 Bats, and H&MS-14- all between 1957 and 1961! The airframe was “chopped” to the Navy at Naval Air Station (NAS) Cecil Field in Florida in September of 1961.

In Navy service 142112 flew with VA-133 Blue Knights and VA-44 Hornets before being stored for three years between 1963 and 1966. After returning to service 142112 flew with VSF-3 Chessmen, VC-7 Tallyhoers (later Redtails), VC-3 Firebees, VC-1 Blue Alii, and was assigned as a base aircraft at NAS Los Alamitos in California. In 1970 the aircraft was stricken and placed in storage for ten years. Decommissioned in 1980, the aircraft made its way to a the Combat Jets Flying Museum in Houston and the EAA Museum in Oshkosh before being completely refurbished and returned to flight by the Warbird Heritage Foundation in December of 2009.

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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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