Squadron Common


Squadron specific radio frequency



"Chatter on Common" from Association Members & Friends


 "Youthly Puresome" web site.


Skyhawk's Gun POD  (APR, 2020)
Any one remember the gun pod designation?  I just remember it jammed on first shot or so  and I brought it back at least 3 times....POS!

 We, VSF-3, got them during workups off Florida for 1967 deployment. Think I had a couple of good shoots with it Impressive; like putting speed brakes out. Course, that was the exception As Pete says, reliability was terrible. Added glitch was if you didn’t fire out, it was too heavy to bring back aboard which is why they got foisted off on the Marines. Sure Hughes kept trying as this patch from 1969 shows.
Part of my tie clip cis a MK-4 Wore it a lot cuz so unique. The tiny barrels would snag on stuff.

We claimed success by tying a LCPL to each gun pod- his to own and maintain.  Standing threat was you will not jettison- 2 full MK-4 weighed about 2800# total- and there were many 2 pop recoveries (1 round out of each pod!).

It was very similar to the scream bomb- a Marine in hack tied to the front of a MK-82!

Did that add a high drag factor? Did you use rope or chain to tie the Lance Corporal‘s to the gun pod?

Since we are drifting from true TINS let me share one about the MK-4.  Turned out to be a life lesson that one collects when young, inexperienced and having joined the legions of young warriors that as always where more ignorant than smart.

The MK-4 had a well deserved reputation of being a reason to practice low fuel traps when it failed to perform - shoot!

But I wanted one of those flights and the thought of ripping off that much 20mm into the enemies on the ground during the 72 invasion was pure joy.

So I drifted down to the hanger bay to try and find out more about this fantasy and maybe to determine if there was some clever way to ensure I came back Winchester.  As luck would have it I found not only a gun pod on an aircraft but the ordy was working on it.   The covers off and the mass of that machine exposed with an dash of electrical connections but mostly just heavy oily steel with hard to understand gears and adjustment nuts and bolts.  So I ask this sailor whose dungarees pretty much matched the MK-4 coated in powder, oil and grease residue what he was up too?    

He was clearly busy doing something or several somethings to the machine of my query.  When I asked him if he could help me understand how to take care of this so it would work when I got a chance to use it.  He turned to me with a heavy West Virginian accent plain stated that was the whole issue we didn't use them enough.  There was noth'n wrong with his machine besides it was not respected and got no exercise.

It turns out that this young man reading skills was so low he could not complete his courses to make PO.  However his upbringing in WV made him a outstanding mechanic and he loved that machine and when he got done it worked.

That lead to the life's lesson "if you don't use it you will lose it".  Also never under estimate someone based on their education accomplishments and skills.  We all have a brain and discovering where that brain fits in the world and life is one the most pure and important joys in life.

35 years later I ended up taking on the Phalanx business because no one else wanted to mess with it.  Given it was known in the fleet as "Christ It Won't Shoot" who would want to try and fix that business?  The surface Navy did not understand what every Naval Aviator learned about their machines.  Let them set unused for a month and you will have a lot of glitches to sort out.  The fleet did not shoot them regularly and let them set for months during ship maintenance.   However when you needed CIWS you had less than minuet to get it done.  Long story short it got to the Army with sailors manning and taking care of the beast.  Last I knew destroyed over a 100 rockets and mortar rounds that would have impacted the troops  7/24.

Truth is stranger than fiction:  (TINS?)

About the time of Greg Boyington’s VMA-214 USO Chu Lai visit there was the Top Secret GREEN VMA-214 Chu Lai self aiming MMM-50 Skyhawk modification project.

The MMM-50 (Marine Mobile Mounted 50 caliber) modification was to Duck Tape a GnySgt w/ a self aiming 50 caliber MG on a pylon under each wing.

Several illegal test flights were made with a Gunny strapped under each wing.  Gunny’s blasted away at real and imagined air and ground targets of opportunity. There were no jammed MG during the flight tests. Gunny’s were well able to cope with the -2 and +6 G VGN envelope.

On return from flight tests Gunnys were immediately placed in a beer storage shed to help cool the ale for the happy hour.

This project resulted in a true weapon of mass destruction.  BUT before MMM-50 could be fully implemented and added to NATOPS the project vanished.

The MMM-50 Operation was scrapped when the GNYSGTS demanded flight pay and a new MMM flight designator.  A little later Lyndon vetoed the Top Tecret GREEN project on recommendations from McNamara’s deep thought think tank.

And so it goes

That is all . . .

I was a comfortably ignorant Crusader AV/WEPS when it was decided to move the Naval Reservistas out of the slightly improved Sopwith Camel age and into successively more modern airplanes and augment the mission to include……BOMBING!  We received bushel baskets of old, rotting wiring harnesses from Miramar Crusader squadrons that had percussively sublimated up to Fantoomery, and we got wing pylons nearly the size of the vertical fin to hang bomb stuff.

The Horror!  Despite the best efforts of my ordies, aircraft on jacks were still blowing off bomb racks, etc, during hangar testing.  The first bunch of Reservistas had just been sent home from Fallon with Frabb You—Strong Letters to Follow, and, now it was our turn.  Oy vay was us.

As expected, the wing pylons put the turn performance into the turd bucket arena, and bomb racks with MK-76’s didn’t help.  Grong smiled on us, and we dinna blow off racks into UHT’s.  We got to do night bombing under flares, too.  Wot did you hit?  Possible land.  You had to imagine where 110 mils (or wotever) was on the fixed gunsight lines after all the gyrating was done.  I guess it built character…

But:  since Dennis mentioned the WV ordie successfully tinkering with gun pod guts, I must mention one of my young plane captains when I had the Line Division in VA-86.  Kid was strong as two bulls, and he wanted to be a BB Stacker in the worst way.  Now, we had a full hangar deck, and our A-4E’s had the ammo cans loaded.  My kid decided he’d help out (?) by cycling a round into the ready.  Guess who was a step behind the ordies?  He cycled a round into an already positioned round, and it went BANG!  Blew off most of his hand, went thru a soft part of another Scoot, into the Hangar Bay bulkhead, richoche'd back and into least another Scoot.

Of course, this was not an encouraged or sanctioned action, so they decided I dinna have to be strung up and sent to WESTPAC—I was already there.

They never said it would be easy, and there was that character building thing again.

It all goes for Twenty.


Skyhawk's Negative "G" Limit (MARCH 2020)
Hey.....while you guys are on, who's got a Natops handy for the Foxtrot.  What did it show for G limits, both positive and negative....we're doing some discussions at the Blue Angel Association concerning our negative G and outside maneuvers we did about the factory limits for the bolts that held the wing on.  

Denny- nothing official but 2 sites talking about the A-4 in general (history perspective) both say +8 and -3. I always thought it was +7!  Don’t have a NATOPs other than TPG and checklists and no G lims mentioned. Our ready room info has nothing on G but lots on the Mongoose. Wiki spread:  wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_A-4_Skyhawk (with the +8, -3).

Denny,  I’ve got an E/F book.  As I suspected, they’re their the same, +7/-2 in symmetrical flight at 12,300#.  If any Scoot model is different, it’ll most likely be the Mike.
Just checked the B/C/L book says the same.

All.....thanks for the inputs.  The solo's from our mid 70's have been talking about how we developed the negative g stuff....red eyeballs and all.  And our maintenance officer had quite a bit to say.....damn solos!!


Don’t think +6 was ever a number.  Here’s the C/L chart and I just checked the B book also…all the same, +7/-2.
 Of course, Denny only cares about the F negative number.  Bottom line is no A-4 ever lost a wing, but the slats have been yanked off around +12G.

I never lost a slat or a wing, though not for trying..  better you Blue Chaps than me for the Negative G stuff!

The worst thing that ever happened to me was counting accelerometers.  How can you respect a plane that can pull less G than thee?  I had to start plugging in my G-Suit on Hi, so if it started to cut me in half, it was time to look at the g-meter.

Possibly this attitude contributed to my senior citizen creakiness.

A-4F P408 chart maneuverability (not Marine proof- have to know something to use this- always avoided that part of the NATOPS manual)
A-4M P408 G diagrams (Marine proof!)

Speaking of slats, in May of ’75, a call went out to all takers to show up and put up- you vs some bad guys in a lonely desert somewhere.  3rd MAW was tasked to provide an A-4M presentation after some gentle VX-4 scrubbing.  VMA-214 was ready to rock but the Jedi Warriors in MAWTUPac (predecessor to MAWTS) went high order- no raggedy assed attack pilot was going to take on the threat.  So, after discussions, fights, drinks, etal, an F-4 jock from MAWTU got the task.  He allowed he probably needed some warm up so out to W291 for his first ACM in the A-4M= one turn, locked slat, ejection!!  Some of the people, some of the time- aaaah, fighter pilots never change.  If there is  more to this story from the 214 side- would love to hear it.


I had not realized they put the 408 in the Foxtrot as early as 1970.  I thought they were first put in in 1973 for the '74 team.  Thanks for the chart.  One of the tales we were discussing with my teammates was that in '75 winter training in El Centro, Vance Parker (as #5 lead solo) split the wing spar doing vertical rolls.  And then the next day he went out with a new airplane and did it again.  Wow...that surprised all of us and Douglas also.  Turns out that he could find the perfect zero g point in doing the 7 vertical rolls so that fuel would hydraulic to the outboard wing...splitting the main wing spar.  Didn't pop rivets.  I noticed the fuel leak when joining on him as we headed back to the field.  Consequently, we would start the show with 3600 fuel for the solos (5400 for the diamond) and by the time we did vertical rolls in the show sequence, the wing was near empty.


One little nit pick.  Indeed, if one reads the E/F or M model chart 1-60 (and has no gas at 12,300 #'ish (F w/P-408 op gross empty weight chart 11-1 attached), you better land soon!  Practically, I'd rather have a little more gas when pulling g's, which quickly drives you below  +6.  Ok remove the drop tanks at ~ 400 #.  My NATOPS chart 1-59 at sea level limits to +6 (probably 14500#, but does not say).

However all are based on A-4C data or modeling.......so be the judge.

I remember (maybe) we used 12500# as a rule of thumb for an empty weight Super Fox.  So with a arresting wt limit of 14500...so, 2000# of gas on the ball minus what was still attached.  The ext gun pod that jammed wt was 1000# and a bitch!!
The G limit chart is in Part 4/Operating Limitations P 137 in my E/F book, which has also been accommodated for the G manual.


Y2016: [Webmaster note: What do Naval Aviators talk about when they exchange emails? This conversation is edited just a little so non-aviators will not be ... ah .. never-mind. The a/c image below is an EA-3B Skywarrior. This electronic version increased the 'All 3 Dead' to 'All 7 dead'. But the conversation is about tail hook height above the deck as a landing Skywarrior crosses the stern of a the older carriers back in the day - the "27Charlies". The Douglas A-3 Skywarrior was the Navy's largest carrier deployed a/c while the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was the smallest. ]


Ah yes, the 27C, I remember it well.

After Training Command initial qualifying day traps on Antietam and Lexington, all other decks looked absolutely humongous.

So after several years of little airplanes and dawdling in the Training Command it was time to qual in a Whale.  The first decks available were the O-boat and the Hancock.  No worries, but I thought our LSO seemed a bit "nervous."  He did tell us there was (about) a spacious 4 feet hook to ramp clearance - maybe he gave the distance in inches, say 48 inches to make the distance seem bigger. Well, 48 is bigger than 4.

During the DAY Qual line period I got some touch 'n go bounces, a couple of wave offs and a trap and a cat.  Not too bad.  I was surprised that in the groove I could see the mirror, but the boat had disappeared under the nose. Well, no chance of spotting the deck. On the other hand it was a little spooky to be landing at sea where you couldn't see where you were landing.

We had an Air Force B-66 exchange pilot that had gone through the RAG  with us - He flew his Whale out to the boat, circled, and went back to Miramar and the Air Farce.

Fortunately I think the Ship's Captain Chicken and his terrified LSOs thought they should be somewhere else and left us to qual another day (and nights) on Connie and Midway.

But that's another story . . .


FOUR feet hook to ramp?

I thought ten feet on the Crusader was skosh.

Better theeeee than meeee.


Let me push back from the libation bar and seek ye goode booke. . . VAH-123 CQ Briefing Manual.

Ye distance could have possibly decreased with my repeated spinning's. Alas I have no alibi - not even dementia or goode rhum.

When I find ye manual I shall put forth ye gospel according to Max Otto ye grande olde Whale LSO & Wizard.  I remember Max escorting we young studs to the boat rear end and he pointing out "bad dents" in the round down.  The little itt-bitty ones being Crash-aders .... and the BIG bold ones from All-3-Dead mis-adventures.  Nothing like leaving your mark.

I think I'll go to bed and dream about OK-3 passes and find ye olde booke in the morning.






And the answer is!  My grandson Noah is in high school - I asked him:


I can't remember high school Trig.  I need some help - maybe you can ask your math teacher for some help?
We carrier pilots are discussing how high (in feet or inches) the bottom of our A-3D aircraft was,  as we flew over the round-down to trap aboard - - (back of the ship.)
Given:  A two degree glide slope.  The landing wire is 97 feet from the back end of the ship.  How high are we as we fly over the back end of the ship?
It's a right triangle with:  2 degree, 90 degree and 88 degree angles and one side is 97 feet.  I forgot how to solve the height. . .  Dang!  Thanks, Bud"

Ta-daah: = 3.387 feet

BUT I do not think any right-minded LSO would fly a 2 degree glide slope on a 27C - bet he was looking at 4 degrees,  which would pound the boat and A/C.  Still that height wasn't much more than 4 feet and think of a pitching deck.


I'd always heard the hook to ramp clearance was the same at any boat, adjusting the GS angle for each airplane.  The general clearance was about 10' at a small boat and 15 at the big decks.  I went to the web and found this.  I knew Jim Matheney at Cecil and later from his job in NY as a VP with Atlas.  Hide

     "The 27C boats used a 4.0 degree basic angle for glide slope. This yielded a 10.8 ft. hook to ramp clearance for all aircraft. The larger
     boats, CV-63 and subsequent, used a 3.5 degree basic angle that yielded a 14.5 ft. hook to ramp for all aircraft types. Believe the
     Forrestal class used a 3.5 degree glide slope with about a 12 foot hook to ramp clearance. Not sure about the Midway class. Hook to eye
     values for the different aircraft were adjusted for by changing lens roll angle. The effective glide slope is a factor of wind over the
     deck. For example, on the 27C, with zero wind over the deck, the effective glide slope was 4 degrees, while with 25 knots of wind over
     the deck, the effective glide slope was 3.75 degrees. With high wind over deck, say 40 knots or more, I used 4.0 degrees on the larger
     boats to yield an effective glide slope similar to that experienced with 25 to 30 knots of wind."


     "The 27C's (Shang for me) used a 4 degree slope to get the hook to ramp clearance up to (thought it was 9.8' on center-line, on speed, headed for a target 3 wire). The big boats, including Coral Sea and Midway used a 3.5 degree slope and still had good hook to ramp while bringing the power up a bit for safety. When the wind was high the big boats went to a 4 degree slope because the power was up and the higher slope got you above the burble a bit. No, I was not an LSO but I studied it a lot and was later an Air Boss."


"The Midway glide slope was set at 3.5 or 3.25 for F-8 recoveries to snatch the #3 wire, which gave you a ten foot hook to ramp clearance on a perfect pass. The only 4 degree glide slope I ever used was for the A3D while a deck was a little unsteady which was most of the time."

 What Tank wrote is correct. 27c used a 4.0 degree slope because anything lower would make the hook to ramp number below minimum required. I remember that number as 10.5 feet minimum for any boat. Could be wrong. The glide-slope was created by tilting the box between the datum lights fore and aft. Since all aircraft didn't have the same attitude, that variable had to have compensation to meet required hook to ramp. That compensation is the lens roll angle which is determined by the individual aircraft hook to eye value in an "on speed" condition. Roll angle was set by rotating the lens box clockwise or counter-clockwise. This allowed the glide-slope to remain the same for all aircraft but raised or lowered each aircraft hook to ramp to meet the required hook to ramp number. 27c used 10.5 hook to ramp as mentioned. Forrestal class was 12.5 as I remember. The Midway class were all different. As Tank said, the Midway and Coral Sea used 3.5 degree slopes but the Roosevelt had to use 4.0 and just barely made minimum hook to ramp. I was the CAG LSO on the Roosey Rue. The bigger boats now days are up to 18 feet hook to ramp I believe, but I wouldn't bet my ass on that one. The roll angle did create one anomaly which most pilots didn't know. The glideslope was accurate only on center-line. So, for instance, if you picked up the ball at the 45 and it was centered, you were actually a little high or low depending on the roll angle setting on the lens. Now that everyone is very confused, I'll retire.

 I recall 9.5 ft hook to ramp on speed centered ball 4.0 deg Glideslope with the hook landing halfway between two and three wire. OK No Comment on this pass.

 All engineering is done based on hook altitude above the ramp and hook touchdown point.  The lens system itself makes changes to it's display to compensate for the pilot's eye altitude above the hook altitude (called hook to eye value).  Smallest HTE is a T2 or T28.  Largest is an A3 or A5.

 The 27C wires are thirty feet apart, and the one wire is 90 feet forward of the ramp.  Each foot of hook to ramp change on a 4.0 degree glide-slope equates to fifteen feet of hook touchdown forward (high) or aft (low).  So in order to hit a one wire exactly the hook must be three feet low.  The red cell in the lens shows when the pilots eye is four feet low at the ramp, and the top cell shows when four feet high.  All this also assumes an on speed attitude and a steady descent rate and steady deck.  The lens system is also gimbaled so it compensates for deck pitch.  So you can only actually hit a one wire with a centered ball on a moving deck, never otherwise.  To actually hit a one wire, you either need an actually low GS, or a slow cocked-up attitude (hook is now lower relative to pilot's eye) or a high descent rate in close or at the ramp.  

 We do depress the glide-slope shown by the lens for a barricade engagement to 2.0 or 2.5 degrees.  We also brief the pilot about that hoping to ensure he very carefully flies a centered ball pass.  The intent is to minimize a high condition which is not good going into the barricade.  We prefer a steady flat approach.

 Finally when the guilty pilot cries "I had a centered ball!  How the heck could I get a one wire?!?!", he really means "The last time I looked at the ball, it was in the center.  I don't know what happened after that."

 Power Power Don't Climb Now Fly The Ball!


Mar 14, 2015, Tom wrote:

Dear Sir:
I am a former Marine who was a member of H&MS-12, MAG-12, 1st MAW in Chu Lai, S. Vietnam/Iwakuni, Japan from July ’69 – June ‘70. I was an Aviation storekeeper (MOS 3071). MAG-12 consisted mainly of A4E aircraft.
My boss was A4E pilot Captain Michael Kelley, USMC. He was a CPA and designated as Fiscal Officer for the Group.
I am currently engaging Factory Direct Models (FDM) to craft an A4E model of the H&MS-12 “Outlaws”. Though I have read the Marine Skyhawk Ordnance Loads on your web page can you furnish me with which load would have been most typical for this squadron to best represent the squadron on my model (I’m not an ordnance expert)? I’m inclined to select Option #1 which seems to include 12 each MK82 500lb Snake-Eye Retarded bombs inboard, 2 each 500lb Napalm outboard with a single 300gl center-line fuel tank. Does this make sense?
Also, where is the likely placement on the fuselage for the H&MS-12 insignia (picture attached)?
Finally, is it possible that then Captain Mike Kelley is a member of your organization? If so, is there any way for me to contact him?
Thank you for your attention in this matter.
Respectfully submitted,
Sgt. “Tom” USMC 1967-1971

I have some info that might be of interest. Our records show that H&MS-12 at Chu Lai had 5 TA-4F assigned over the period of 7 Sept 67 until 7 Nov 69. These aircraft were used for tactical air control airborne (TACA), training and support. There was one TA-4F lost on 29 Sept 67, 153499, piloted by a Maj Starnes who was killed in a landing accident at Chu Lai. The rear seat was occupied by a Capt Pool and he was a medivac state-side. The other 4 TA-4F were eventually transferred to H&MS-11 at Da Nang by 7 Nov 69. H&MS-12 did not possess any single seat aircraft but MAG-12 had 3-5 A-4 squadrons at any one time which flew either the A-4C or A-4E. If you model is a TA-4F with H&MS 12 markings- tail code WA (photo attached), it would probably be best configured with 2 drop tanks, one each on the inboard wing stations, and a 4 pack of zuni rockets on each outside wing station- this would give the aircraft endurance with extra fuel to hunt for targets and forward firing ordnance to mark targets for other aircraft. If you model is a single seat A-4E, a typical load out would be a center-line drop tank with 3 MK-82 500lb snakeyes on each inboard wing station on a multiple bomb rack and 1 500lb MK-77 napalm on the outboard wing stations. For your tour at Chu Lai, the A-4E gun squadrons in MAG-12 at that time were VMA-211 (CF), VMA-223 (WP) and VMA-311 (WL). Regarding the insignia, the H&MS birds normally did not have an insignia on them in country. Also, I was unable to find a Michael Kelley in our database or in the Marine Corps Aviation Association database. Hope this helps.
Skyhawk Association

APR 2013: A recent series of emails pointed out the confusion that sometimes surrounds the term "Skyhawk II".
Ref: In a photo of the Douglas "advertisement" for the Skyhawk based on the A-4N - for Israel, the a/c is painted with Skyhawk II.
"I believe that is the source of the II designation and over time, it was added (by who?) to the A-4M. The Jan 4, 1977 Douglas "Main Differences Table" only has I and II in the box labeled A-4N which makes sense based on the attached photo (out of Tommy Thomason's SCOOTER as provided by the National Naval Aviation Museum)." Bill.

FEB 2013: To make this discussion (control sticks) even more interesting, see this image of the stick grip used on the Blue Angel A-4Fs. Denny wrote:
"I am sending a picture of the control stick we had in the Blue's jets. The troops presented them to us when we left the team. The coolie hat is the stabilizer trim button and the slide button that replaced the bomb release is to mechanically increase the feel of the stabilizer by increasing stick pressure to around 18-20 pounds. The call for this was to "roll in the feel" prior to formation flight so we always had positive stick pressure. I think the gun/rocket trigger switch then controlled the nose gear steering as all the bomb racks and guns were removed from the aircraft. We retained a centerline station for the external drop tank used for cross-country flights and it could be pickled off using the jettison handle."

08 DEC 2012:
In 1970-72' I was an Instructor in VT-23 flying TA-4's at NAS Kingsville,TX.Coors beer had just become available in northTexas and was a premium commodity in south Texas. Since the TA-4 had no radar installed,the hinged,upward opening radome was empty. The space inside would accommodate about six cases of beer. Shepard AFB,in Wichita Falls,TX, a source location of the coveted Coors, became a favorite destination for out- and- back student instrument cross countries. So,in search of this nectar, I took a student up to Shepard in the back seat, under the hood. After parking on the transient line, I requested transportation to the O Club. When asked my reason for going there, I replied,"for Coors,of course. "Transportation was denied by order of the base commander, so I asked "will you take us there for lunch?" and it was done. At the club, we had lunch, went into the liquor store, bought two cases each and called a base taxi. When the taxi arrived,the driver saw the beer and refused to transport us. We carried our beer about a mile back to the transient line. The explanation was this: a couple of months before our visit, a TA-4 loaded with beer commenced takeoff at Shepard. At about eighty knots,the nose cone came unlatched and flew open, obscuring the pilot's vision. He promptly aborted take-off, commenced heavy braking and spewed six cases of Coors onto the only runway, fouling it and closing the field for about two hours. Base flight training was secured and several studs had to be diverted to other bases - which is a BIG deal to the USAF Training Command! About three years ago, I spent a night at Shepard and met the Commanding Officer, a BG, at Happy Hour. He got a real kick out of this story.

Jack was in VF-74 aboard the Forrestal when I was there in VA-46. He spent a lot of time pulling bodies out of burned out compartments and helping with fire hoses. I have a lot of respect for what he did while I was down in sick bay, Ward II. Many years later, he relieved me as CO of VA-203...reserves at Cecil.
I've heard a lot of his stories, but never this one....funny.

As I recall, you could get about 6 cases of Coors in an F-9 if you broke them down and stashed them around the guns and other non essential equipment. The Coors run to Shepard was very popular in the late 60s out of Beeville and if you did it right, you could salute the tower with a wing fold while taxiing! The beer run was not appreciated by Lone Star.

18 APR 2012
Q: ..is the scooter an all aluminum skin and frame jet?

Ans: All aluminum except for the nose cone. (from a former metal bender).

All aluminum. Some bits and pieces are steel and stainless steel. Some nose cones are honeycomb fiberglass. The rudder has some honeycomb in it. All in all it is a 7075 T6 aluminum airplane.

The A-4A, B, C aircraft all are essentially the same aluminum 2024-T, 6061-T and 7075-T alclad skin panels. There are some small areas of titanium alloy and steel panels but for the most part its an aluminum alloy skin.

JAN 2012
Filipino Spaghetti: 1/2 Kils ground pork or ground beef, (or mystery meat), Carrot chop or brunuei, Cellery chop, Onion chop, Garlic chop, (hot dog - chop [some do - sort of a bonus), Catsup, Tomato sauce, Sugar, Cheddar cheese.
Saute ground beef or pork - strain out of grease. set aside, Saute garlic & onion til golden brown, Add Carrots, until they are cooked too, Add the cooked meat - saute and then add hotdog and warm, Mix in the catsup, tomato sauce - add sugar, salt, pepper to taste, Mix in some cheese. When cooked pour into a hot-dish pot and put some cheese on top. Cook the Spaghetti a dente and put some on plate and put the mystery stuff on-top.
Buds' notes - You can substitute monkey meat or dog or cat or rat for ground beef & when in doubt throw in a well aged baloute or an old rotten duck egg. It helps to have several San Magoos b-4 eating.

01 JUL 2011:
Bill "Jigger" Egan of the Skyhawk Association presents Margaret “Warrior Princess” Bone, with a instrument of appreciation for her contributions to the success of the Skyhawk Association Journal. Margaret has retired, but her influence on our journal will remain.


20 JUN 2011:
Q: I am avid modeler of naval aviation subjects and have finished converting a Fujimi A-4C in 1/72 scale into a A-4L flown by my local unit, VA-205. The pictures on your site proved very helpful towards building an accurate A-4L from 1974. I am now working on a late model A-4M that has an angle rate bombing system in the nose and I wanted to hang some ordinance that would be unique to this version. According to "Naval Fighter 55, McDonnell Douglas A-4M Skyhawk" by Steve Ginter, the angle rate bombing system allowed the Skyhawk to use Maverick and other laser guided bombs. As the subject of my model is a A-4M from VMA-214 during the eighties when they were painted in a low viz scheme, I wanted to hang something other than the usual run of the mill unguided bombs, rockets, Walleye, and napalm. Thus my question, if I go with Mavericks, what should be hanging from the weapon stations, the same with Paveway series laser guided bombs. While the book is a good research help for the later model scooter, it doesn't have much in way of proper weapons load-outs. Also, most of the pictures I have of Skyhawks carrying war loads date back to Vietnam and show earlier varients. I look forward to any help you might give.

A: You asked the Skyhawk Association for information about laser guided bomb (LGB) and Laser Maverick missile (LMAV) load outs on the A-4M. Your message got forwarded to me for response.
From 1979-80, I was a Project Pilot for Laser Maverick at NWC China Lake, and from 1980-83 I was an Operational Test Director at VX-5 where I planned, conducted, and reported on the LMAV’s Operational Evaluation (OPEVAL). Here’s what I know in answer to your questions.
LGBs (Laser Guided Bombs) went on all five weapons stations on MERs/TERs.
LMAVs (Laser Mavericks) went on LAU-117 rail launchers mounted only on A-4M wing stations—see picture of VX-5 A-4M with max LMAV load out of four.
Closer view of an LMAV test missile (telemetry warhead) and LAU-117 launcher on A-4M station 4.
Last A-4M produced (160264) on the catapult on USS Constellation (CV-64) with LMAV on station 4 during the Laser Maverick missile’s OPEVAL.
View of the LAU-117 launcher and LMAV being loaded onto an F/A-18.

FYI—LMAV was integrated only into A-4M aircraft reworked with the Angle Rate Bombing System (ARBS). The ARBS incorporated a dual-mode target tracker in the aircraft’s nose; a pilot move-able electro-optical imaging (television) tracker and a Laser Spot Tracker (LST) which tracked a coded airborne or ground laser-designated target. The pilot entered the laser designator’s laser code for the LST as well as the LMAV. The laser code was a four-digit number displayed at the bottom of cockpit’s Walleye video monitor. Once a coded laser-designated target was acquired, the both the LST and LMAV locked-on to and continuously tracked the target, and the Head-Up Display (HUD) LST symbol stopped, fixed on the target. The pilot then had visual verification of the target for both the LST and the LMAV by looking through the HUD’s LST symbol.

03 JUN 2011
Q: Anyone have the recipe for the great Filipino Spaghetti they served in the Cafetera at Cubi Point Officers Club?

A: Thank you Bud for the Recipe.

Although I can tell it is not the same as what was served at the "Cafeteria" at Cubi Point, it does indeed look interesting and I may still try it. Good piece of humor you added too...

I would also like to thank all of you gentlemen in regards to trying to help me out in finding the recipe I am looking for.

If any of you have not had this style of spaghetti... I highly recommend you at least try it sometime! It is "Not" the same as what most Americans eat out of a jar or box, and of course also not the same as what we classically know as "Italian" style.

Just this Sunday, after the Indy 500 race, I attended a Filipino Birthday party for a family friend. They had Filipino spaghetti there too. And in actuality... one of the better ones I've ever had (although still not the specific recipe I'm looking for). Have tried to weasel it out of them but so far, don't appear they wish to share the recipe.

In actuality... some of the problem of being able to duplicate the real taste of Filipino spaghetti... is finding the ingredients.
First... the "hot-dogs" they put in it, are "Manila" style hot-dogs. Actually quite different than American hot-dogs, and you would also notice when seeing them, that they are a very bright red color, not to mention taste much different.
There is also a mixture of Pork and Beef, but not sure to as what proportions.
Last... (of course based only on what I've learned over time and via other Filipinos whom have let me try their recipes)... another ingredient is "Banana Ketchup".
Yes... if never heard of it, it does indeed exist, and is NOT made with tomatoes, but instead... Bananas. A very unique taste, but still with a slight taste of what we also know as ketchup.

Anyway... If I should obtain the recipe of this last dish I tried... I will be glad to share it with you gents. Again... it was one of the better ones I've had over the last 10 years.
As for Cubi Point... if you have never been there... you've also missed out on a great place to visit and see! The scenic view from the top of the hill is breath taking and the countryside something else! (Just watch out for snakes... and don't piss off the Monkeys! LOL)

As for any other Philippine dishes you gents should try.. I recommend the following:
Pancit (Bihon)
Pancit (Canton)
Pan de Sol (bread)
Filipino BBQ

Again gents... Thanks so much for all your help and responses!

10 MAY 2010:
Q: "...the bent probe was necessitated by a Shrike mission avionics change and the incidents of fuel ingestion during inflight refueling caused it to have wider application. However, nobody has yet identified the specific antenna change or AN system number associated with that different blob under the nose or I missed it (SIDS and TIAS/TAIS have been mentioned).
A: Not sure I am on the right track, but the best knowledge I have was that with installation of the APR-23 inside the nose cone, functionality was inhibited to some degree by the straight probe. We had the APR-23 in some of our birds in VMA-121 in Chu Lai- A-4Es. They were supposed to help with target location for Shrike use. I believe this is what is probably attributed to TIAS- Target Identification and Acquisition System (this is an opinion!) There were also some A-4Fs in Navy squadrons that were modified with Laser Spot Trackers and the probe may have interfered as well with that field of view/scan--?? Later with the incorporation of the Angle Rate Bombing System, the field of view and scan were greatly increased and the probe would have been a problem had it not been "bent". During the engineering flight tests of the first A-4M with ARBs (I was the pilot for those tests), the chins blisters around the ARBs dome included 2 ALR-45 receivers on either side and ALQ-126 active jammer mid and low band antennas underneath the ARBs. A fully functional ALQ-126 in a jamming mode put out enough energy to cause the ARBs tracker to break lock and/or slew to one side un-commanded. This resulted in many hand made modifications to the RF screening around the ARBs cables in the dome- eventually leading to an ECP for the program to satisfactorily perform as required. Now, what was the question?

27 MAY 2010:
Q: Flying the TA-4J, need know the differences between it and the A-4L.

A: If it still has the J65-W-20, military power gives approximately 104%RPM and 8,400# of thrust on the single spool engine. The engine will vibrate over 100%, but that's normal.
It has a total loss oil system, with oil venting from the #2 and #3 main bearing cavities, leaving oil on both sides of the airplane...should blow out 2 qts per hour. There is no pressure oiling on the J-65, so oil is added by the quart on the top of the fuselage. The J-65 requires an external starter probe.
Maximun time at military power is 30 minutes. Start temp limit is 720 degrees/military temp is 695/normal power EGT is 640/Acceleration limit EGT is 720.
FOOT STOMPER: The J-65 has been known to run for 30 minutes with no oil pressure, but only if the power is set at 87% and not moved till time to land. As I discovered, this also could apply to any thrust surges, which might indicate impending main engine bearing failure...cost me a punch out in '68.
The L has ground spoilers...but I guess the T does too...armed for TO/Lnding. ...no nose gear steering, so differential braking only.


JUN 2009:
Q: "Hello there, I am an italian engineering student, and a fan of the great Bantamweight Bomber. Your site is beautiful and plenty of useful informations, so I thought I could ask you for a little technical problem, which arose in my Skyhawk research. The electic system of the Skyhawk consisted in a 20 kVA alternator for AC 115 V. For emergency, there is an external Ram Air Turbine (RAT), but for the sake of reducing weight, the Skyhawk has no battery. And this is the big problem: how is possible to start the engine without any battery? It is possible that a front-line attack aircraft like the A-4 required always a Groud Power Unit (GPU) just to start the engine? I'm quite sure that this little aircraft either had no space for an APU... It would be awesome if anyone collaborating in your website has an answer, from technical experts to ex-USN and USMC pilots (who surely remember the starting procedures).
Thanks a lot for any answer and for your beautiful website"
Daniel Vergnano

Ans: "Buon Giorno Daniel,
All US Skyhawks with the exception of the A-4M required an external start cart in order to start the engine. Some of the earliest models also were required to carry a starter probe in the rear "hell hole" which was a gear mechanism that was placed in the right wing root in order to turn the engine before adding fuel and then re-stowed after start. Multiple airplanes could share the same starter. The A-4M had its own starter along with a very small pump handle that had to be attached to the JFS (Jet Fuel Starter) and hand pumped whenever the start was not successful on the first attempt. Some of us had "borrowed" F-16 starter handles that were longer and easier to use.
You have to remember that when the Skyhawk was developed, there was plenty of money for the military, start carts were very common on the first jet aircraft and adding a self start capability always adds a lot of weight, which is a bad idea in any airplane. The decision is always a trade off between convenience, performance, cost and function.

27 OCT 2008
My trip to Subic...what a disappointment! While the trip to/from was no prob (beautiful, high speed toll way...through Angeles City and Clark), when I got to Subic, I was shocked. When I crossed shit river, I literally didn't know whether I was coming or going. Olongapo looked the same on both sides. There were two RPN ships in port, so I was able to ID where the waterfront was. My trip to Cubi NAS was no different. I struggled, but finally found the Cubi O Club. The front doors had a steel bar through them, preventing entrance. I walked around back, to find a Philippino family living in the club! Roosters were clucking among the weeds, where the nice lawn overlooking the RW and the bay used to be. The Ready Room bar was still there, but all sadly in need of paint. At the BOQ, Philippino families were living in the rooms. The BOQ swimming pool was partially filled with green fetid water...disease and bugs growing among the trash that had sunk to the bottom. The two Navy exchanges (Cubi/Subic) were very poor copies of Kmart. Fedex was operating out of the old air wing hangar. No paint had been applied since the USN moved out. The only bright spot was the Binictican Valley golf course...now called the Subic Bay Golf Course. It was in great shape. Only three foursomes were on the course (Sat afternoon). Apparently the last touch-up work really accomplished on the base was in 1996, when the RP hosted an APEC summit at Cubi. Eight private homes were built just above the runways, but below the O Club...one home for each world leader. They are now privately owned...but are starting to show wear/tear so common in this harsh environment. Everything else was overgrown, buildings slowly receding back into the jungle. No lawns were without thigh-high weeds. Fences falling over, parking lots empty and chained off, with weeds growing among the cracks. I'll not go back. Sad.

09 SEP 2008:
Brent: Re: your question as to the height beyond which a pilot might have trouble flying the A-4.

I can't give you a figure. But I've known some pretty long Scooter Drivers!
Early on in the late fifties to mid-sixties, there was a rule put into effect(?) by the human engineering types that limited the height of A-4 pilots(Largely ignored in the real world of the A-4). It was not from a problem of flying the plane. Rather, the height limit was put at about 6' 4" or thereabout - which corresponded to a hip-knee length beyond which a pilot was expected to have trouble were he to have to eject from the a/c.
The measure of his hip-to-knee length was the important criteria. If one was too long in that dimension, upon ejecting from the aircraft, the legs would be thrown forward and there was a great likelihood that toes, feet, or whatever would not clear the instrument panel and would be rather summarily chopped off .... or so it was feared! (all of which would quickly reduce the pilot to the proper measurements.)
I only knew one chap who ran afoul of that rule. He was Skipper of VA-44, the A-4 RAG in Jacksonville, FL. When he flew the A-4, he lowered his seat all the way to the bottom, extended rudder peddles to maximum, closed the canopy and cocked his head to one side or the other. He was just too tall to sit upright. His head rested tightly against the canopy.
The folks from above dictated that he was too tall & invoked the proscription against his flying the A-4. He routinely saluted, closed the canopy and, on a regular basis, took off! He was Cdr. Damon 'Hutch' Cooper, ..... later to be an admiral.
I don't recall ever reading of any A-4 ejection in which the dreadful "missing toes" occurred.

Stars and Bars

From: Jim
Sent: April 09, 2008 11:44 AM
Subject: A4 Markings
Do you remember any data on the placement of the Star on the A4's? I have seen graphics that place the Star on the E's up front at the cockpit area like I remember, and have seen on all A4-A through C models.
I recently purchased the "US Navy & Marine Corps A-4 Skyhawk Units of The Vietnam War", and they show an A4-E BuNo 151105 of VA-93 in the Artists Color Plates, pages 65-72 with the Star forward.
I thought that when the E model came out, with the engine change along, with the added length to the nose of the aircraft, they moved the Star to the rear at the speed brake area. Following up grades kept the Star in the rear area.
Evergreen's E model replica of John McCain's #416 from VA-46 is with the Star forward, but pictures of VA-46 E models show it to the rear.
VA-23 1964-1967

From: Dave
Sent: April 09, 2008 12:57 PM
To: Jim
Subject: RE: A4 Markings
The Evergreen replica is correct. The only A-4E in VA-46 on the ’67 WESTPAC cruise to have the stars and bars on the tail just happened to be the airplane I was in during the Forrestal fire, 150129. The paint scheme change for the Echo was taking place that year, and as the airplanes got new paint at O&R, the stars and bars moved to the rear. Around the same time, new airplanes coming from Douglas started showing the new paint scheme. In the photos from our ’67 cruise, you can see the change. In VA-46 paint, it caused us to paint only one plaid strip on the tail, as “NAVY” and the BUNO was in the way.

From: Bill
To: Jim
Sent: April 09, 2008 10:23 AM
Subject: A4 Markings
Jim - all A-4's powered by the J-65 engine (A/B/C/L) had the star forward because the I-65 emitted oil from a vent on the starboard side of the fuselage aft and the oi would eat the star off - all others had the star aft since the J-52 did not spit out oil - that's how I remember it.



The "S" after the BuNo.

I'm pretty sure that the letter after the BuNo indicates what manufacturing block the airplane was built in. It wasn't a common practice but I've seen it occasionally.

That "S" is a, from what I have been told, a modification program designator. Which modification program it would be I have no idea. From what I know it seems that no one has a record of them.

I don't know when block identification became a sometime practice, but I know it predates 1962. That's not to say that a BuNo suffix couldn't have been used to denote a mod program as well.

I got it out of the F3H flight handbook, of all places.
It was there because of variations in configuration between manufacturing blocks, e.g. whether the primary dc bus or the utility bus provided electrical power to the engine fuel shutoff valve.

10 SEP 08 - Production Blocks:
In the immediate postwar years, like the USAF, the US Navy/Marine Corps often used a production block system to keep track of minor production line changes that were not deemed sufficiently drastic as to call for a new aircraft configuration sequence number. This system continued after the adoption of the unified designation system in 1962. Just like the Air Force, the Navy/Marine Corps did not use production block designations for all of their aircraft, and there was considerable variation in the systems used from one aircraft type to another.
Block Numbers normally progressed in increments of 5 starting with -1, then -5, -10 and so on. Intermediate numbers were reserved to denote field modifications carried out after the aircraft's delivery, although the use of these seems to be exclusive to the USAF, and there is no known record of any USN aircraft having such intermediate numbers. Exceptions to the 'plus 5' rule of progression were fairly frequent, the prime examples being the McDonnell Banshee, Demon, and Phantom and the LTV Corsair II, whose Block Numbers progressed in single increments -1. -2, -3 and so on. In addition to Block Numbers. the Navy also often used Block Letters to denote different production standards. although these don't seem to be related to any USAF-style designation. . There were various letter styles and combination of letters that were used. The differing styles appear to have no particular significance and probably existed because of the lack of any firm USN directive on the subject. Sometimes the sequence started with the letter 'A' or 'a", with the first change in production standard being denoted by 'B', then 'C', etc, until 'Z' was reached. If letters beyond 'Z' were required, it sometimes happened that the letters are started over from 'A', but on other occasions the next change was denoted by 'AA' to 'ZZ' . In order to avoid confusion with the number zero, the letter 'O' is skipped.


To summarize some recent traffic concerning a modelers question:

Can, and would you, place a MARK 84 2000lb bomb on Stations 2 and/or 4?
Weight limits not a problem.
Clearance a problem? Would you use, or have to use, a MER or TER?
Has anyone seen a MARK 84 loaded on Stations 2 and/or 4?
So far we have:
After checking with some Marines I found they did carry them on the center line - Station 3. The in-boards 2 and 4 had a clearance problem but it was between the hooks on the rack.
And that in the :..... A-4 section from the USMC fixed wing aircraft: description, planning specifics and utilization planning factors manual....
Page 7 shows the various load-outs on the wing stations and shows the Mk-84 on #3 only.
David found that:
I found researching that: MER uses two suspension lugs 14 inches apart (MK 84 lugs are 30 inches apart) and TER suspension hooks space 14 inches apart (MK84 lugs are 30 inches apart).
The Mark 84 2000lb bomb had suspension lugs 30 inches apart, and only the center-line rack on the Skyhawk could accommodate that configuration.


Heard that Rahn used to explain the reason the slats on the A4 were not interconnected was expense. It would have cost $70 on an airplane then worth 900 grand apiece.


Early A-4s

The early A-4 from an F-8 driver.
The first fleet squadron to get the A4D-1 was VA-72 (CAG 7). I flew my first A4 flight on 19 December 56. We had transitioned from the F9F-5 Panther. The Squadron insignia was a hawk, with the word "Skyhawk" along the lower margin. We had had that insignia long before we got the A4. But sometime after we got the plane, Douglas Aircraft Co. said we couldn't use the name "SKYHAWK" because they had it as a trademark? copyright?, or whatever they called it. Letters went back and forth from squadron to Douglas, but they remained chicken-shit to the end. Ended up keeping the hawk insignia, but with the "SKYHAWK" deleted.

It was a good bird, but couldn't be trimmed for "hands -off" flying. And it was cheap, even for those days, something like $250,000 a copy. With the added mission of "special weapons delivery", we got to do a lot of legal flathatting on low level flights. After passing over a herd of cattle or horses at 50 feet, you'd look back and see them scattering like chickens. There were also a few incidents of turkey flock kills, and those flights were hell on mink farms. Had to make some route changes after awhile. Had to chuckle several years later when I started flying the F8 with VF-74, and those hot fighter jocks thought a "low level" flight meant that they had to get all the way down to a 1000 feet and still not get lost! I always did think that Mach .98 at 50 feet was a lot more fun than 1.75 at 40,000 feet. Would have liked to make it to P-Cola for that A4 retirement, but not possible. Maybe some other VA-72 ers will make it.

Harry's comment

I read the comments by Bill Buc with interest and enjoyed them. It is always good to hear from people that were there.
Bill’s statement regarding Douglas objection to VA-72 using the name Skyhawk is interesting. I was very junior with the company at that time so do not have any insight on that. However, I later wrote a memo to the company lawyer protesting Cessna using Skyhawk and Skymaster names on their aircraft, both Douglas trademarks. I do not believe any action was taken on this by Douglas so Cessna continued to use these names.
The comment about the original cost of $250,000 per aircraft is a little low. The fly-away costs for the 165 A4D-1 aircraft averaged about $700,000 (excluding the GSE) which was still a bargain at the time compared to other military aircraft prices. The total cost of the XA4D-1 ran to about 8.4 mil on a CPFF development contract. As I remember off the top of my head, the last Skyhawks built ran somewhere in the vicinity of 5 mil apiece. Figuring the "costs" of military aircraft is not an exact science. It all depends on the basic inputs. I was in the business for 42 years and still cannot fully explain the costing in a few distinct terms. Maybe someone else could throw some learned opinions.
Harry Gann



Murphy's Law

There is some debate about the origins of the term "Murphy's Law". Find here what we believe is the the straight skinny, not scuttlebutt!. Murphy's Law and Captain J.N. Murphy, USN

Murphy's Law
04 APR 2007
I have been searching for information regarding Captain J.N. Murphy, USN. I keep bumping into him linked somehow to the Skyhawk Organization. That may be because he was C.O. of Pt. Mugu back in 1950, when the A4 was in early development. I believe he was also C.O. at China Lake back in those days.
He retired as a Rear Admiral and I believe his final tour was as Bureau of Aeronautics General Representative - Central District (BAGR-CD) at Wright-Patterson AFB. Admiral Murphy was a Naval Aviator and designated as an Aeronautical Engineering Duty Officer (AEDO). I served under him at BAGR-CD at WPAFB. in '56-57.
My interest in him stems from the fact that I strongly believe that he deserves recognition for being the originator of "Murphy's Law". A USNA graduate, probably somewhere in the late 1930, he soon won his wings and was sent to MIT for graduate studies in aeronautical engineering, which lead to his designation as an AEDO. Pearl Harbor found him assigned to a fighter squadron aboard one of our Pacific Fleet carriers where he soon became one of our first aviators to gain combat experience against Japanese aircraft. Before long he was ordered back to BuAer in Washington where his combat experience could be utilized in the specifications for new fleet aircraft. In that role, he traveled about visiting our aircraft factories, consulting with their engineers on the design of new aircraft to help make them superior to the Japanese aircraft.
Our fleet aircraft were being maintained by boys barely out of high school, and one of the lessons Murphy constantly hammered on was, "If a part can be installed incorrectly, it will be installed incorrectly" or words to this effect. It was vital, he maintained, that engineers actually design parts so they could not be installed incorrectly. This became known in the aircraft manufacturing plants of WW II as "Murphy's Law".
I suspect Murphy's Law was incorporated in the design of the Skyhawk, and possibly even earlier in the AD and later SBDs produced by DAC, and most other post '41 designs of all WW II aircraft. Admiral J. N. Murphy deserves credit as the author. My research into the origins of Murphy's Law discloses that credit is generally going to some USAF engineer involved in the sleds used in ejection seat tests at a later date. Wikepedia does contain a brief mention possibly attributing it to a Commander J. Murphy who was a naval aircraft procurement officer in the '30s. This, I believe, may be a partially accurate clue, but they still give the credit to the USAF's Murphy.

How can we make this right? Rear Admiral Murphy was one of the finest Naval Officers I ever knew.

Allyn E. "Al" Rowley, CDR, Supply Corps, USN (Retired)
San Juan Capistrano, CA

Webmaster's Note: I support the above assessment of the origins of "Murphy's Law". It's entirely possible that later another Murphy coined the jest of the law, perhaps based upon what he was exposed to, or had heard, earlier in his career. Or someone who worked around him remembered a past reference to a Murphy's Law and revitalized the term.
Perhaps someone who worked in the aircraft plants of WWII, or has related historical documentation of that environment, can verify that "Murphy's Law" existed in their environment.


"Trader Jons"

November 04, 2003
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (edited for briefness)
Changes in culture and lifestyle have caught up with Trader Jon's, a ramshackle waterfront bar, filled with naval aviation memorabilia, that for a half-century catered to military personnel from raw recruits to generals and admirals.
The famed bar, which also attracted astronauts, politicians, royalty and movie stars, including John Wayne, Bob Hope, Elizabeth Taylor, Prince Andrew and Brooke Shields, will close this weekend, owner Matt Heckemeyer said Tuesday.

Heckemeyer bought the bar from the estate of Martin``Trader Jon'' Weissman, who died in 2000. Weissman opened the bar in 1952 and ran it until he suffered a stroke in 1997. About 10,000 items, including photographs, crash helmets, flight suits, model airplanes and assorted aircraft parts, will be acquired by a law firm that then will donate them to the museum foundation. Blue Angels photographs collected by Weissman over the years will be used in a future display about the Navy precision flying team at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola Naval Air Station. The last event at Trader Jon's will be a Blue Angels party Saturday after the Pensacola-based team finishes its season-ending homecoming show. ``It was the social heart of the Pensacola naval aviation community,'' said retired Capt. Bob Stumpf, a former Blue Angels leader. ``It's going to be missed. There's no replacement for it.''


Cubi Point Revisted

(Subic Bay, Cubi Point, SAT image)

Bud Taylor wrote an article (see below) about his visit to PI. Titled "The Budman's 1999 Cubi Point Visit".
I would like to reply to him with the following:
Check out the web site at www.subicbaypi.com
Photo Galleries of Off-Base Girls of Olongapo: in the 1960's section. Five of the pictures belong to VA-163 folks. Lots of other good photo's in this web site.
Mister Ed, VA-163 Saints SDO

The Budman's 1999 Cubi Point Visit Since the Navy left Cubi Point, Philippines in the early 90's, two factors have greatly influenced the area:

First, the Taiwanese have invested heavily in the building of computer component manufacturing and production facilities in the Subic area. It has included factories, resorts with casino's, yacht club with condominiums and improved recreational facilities.

Second, FDX has utilized the airport area as a major Far East hub for time-definite delivery to that part of the world. As such, let's start at the airport.

The area, previously known as VC-5, VRC-50 and Flag spaces, is now all FDX, which has numerous Airbus, DC-10 and MD-11 aircraft transiting Cubi on a daily/nightly basis. The runway is the same, and pilots have to be mindful of the mountain to the west and the terrain to the east.

The area toward the bay, known as 'The Air Wing Maintenance Hanger' is now deserted. There is a small racetrack in the lower aircraft parking area and a restaurant adjacent to Leyte pier. Not much activity down in that area.

Around to the south is the old ammo pier which is also deserted; however, the dungaree beach areas are still active for tourists, such as the Taiwanese. At the east side of the runway, there is now a commercial international airline terminal with 6 or so gates. That's about it for the airpatch.

Next, Cubi Point, and it's probably most fitting to start with the O'club. It is now an office building; no more club, however-the Catapult room is still functioning and is now known as the 'Flight Deck' with a disco.

I walked completely around the O'club and still marvel at the beautiful view of the bay and surrounding area. There are benches there for those inclined to rest and reminisce. Now, as I walked around the club, I did find a few old shoes, khaki shirts and smelly socks and if I was real quiet, I could here some sounds from the pass-like somebody calling "Main Gate" or something about a "Klondike" game. I also found an old pair of dogtags; but the name was hardly legible-there was a J, an e and a Sat or something. Anyway, it's not the same, boys. OK-as you come out of the club, in your mind eye and to the right would be the gym and bowling alley. There are now restaurants and stores. Facing up the hill toward the BOQ, you'll notice a new casino hotel and resort right in the area that used to be barracks.

That is some of that Taiwanese $. On up past the chapel, the BOQ is now a hotel with another hotel across the street between the Q and the A-5 which is still there.

I went into the Q and looked for a barber shop, and inquired about a Cubi Dog and San Maguil at the back bar. Also, wanted to buy some belt buckles and patches. Boy's (weep), it's all gone. Listening real hard, I could hear some splashes out back, pool is now part of the resort and, well-it's just not the same. By the way, the Cubi exchange with Martinez model shop is all closed and deserted. You can still, however, visit JEST; which still has a zoo, run by the Negrito's including a camp-out, if you so desire.

Well, that's 'bout it for Cubi-in many respects, it a ghost town. Some activity; but most of the activity is down toward Subic side; which will be the subject of page 2, later. Hope you enjoyed the tour, I did. I still in my mind's eye, see the carrier arriving pierside with transportation waiting-the exodus from the ship and the high speed pass to the club and BOQ and the aviator's blowing off some steam.

Bodies crawlin' around the jungle, tomorrow's duty officer meandering back to the ship, the XO wanting to know where everybody is and has ANYBODY read the message board in the last week. And, of course, the Skipper's leading the charge. "Binictican come in-Main Gate" Later, gentleman, the Budman.

PS. Maybe someone has a famous story about the "aaaaatttttddddmmminn car" or whatever to pass along.

Bud Taylor

Cubi...'Being There' I've been enjoying your travelogue of Subic and I've been meaning to add some of my own experiences for the guys who don't get out much but who remember those days of our Great Adventure. So here are a few words from the Turtle:

I spent a great day in Subic about two weeks ago having some great regression moments. Although I've flown through there a few times with Tigers and FedEx since my Navy days, this was my first actual layover in Subic since my last overnight there sometime in May 1973! So, naturally, sleeping took second place to the urge to revisit the scenes of the crimes.

I was raring to go up and have a look around Cubi. I had two choices, as always: Walk 5 miles up the hill in 900 degrees and 400% humidity (no damn way). Or take de bus. I took de bus. I hopped dis bus pull ob billipilos and blasted up the hill the Cubi Club and the old BOQ. On de bus, de radio was blasting and the air conditioner on de roof was roaring with the condensate dripping right on my head! It was great to be back!

As you go around the bay toward Cubi, right at the split in the road where you either go up the hill to the O'club or down to the pier, there is still that F-8 sitting there, painted sort of a dark Air Force blue from the tip of the pilot tube to the back of the tailpipe. Reminded me of the time when our beach Det was supposed to paint one of our F-8s (in full squadron colors, of course) but decided to hit the Po-town instead and pay the joes to paint the aircraft (no doubt the payoff was two cases of beer or some such). When they got back, the entire aircraft was painted all right, It was gray from pitot tube to titanium tailpipe, including the canopy, the wheel wells and the tires. All gray. Lots of yellin' and snortin' about that as I recall. Glad I wasn't working in Maintenance at the time.

Going up the hill takes you through lots of jungle trees and big bushes as always. It's very quiet up around the old Cubi club but the buildings are about the same with some actual improvements. They've built a few new structures (no high-rises, though) and added some nice features that make it like a tropical hotel/resort deal. There are some walking/sitting areas with views where there was once only jungle down below the O'Club.

You can meander around the grounds and enjoy the heat and the view. (The view is still terrific.) I walked past the Chapel (funny, I don't remember the Chapel at all) over to the BOQ. It's also a hotel/resort but not much in the way of guests. We walked through the place where the old barbershop and massage rooms were (they're gone-turned back into hotel rooms) and out back to the pool. Even though it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, there was not one soul at the pool. I stood there remembering that I never saw that pool with less than 300 guys laying around it. But it looks exactly the same. The cabanas (with grass underneath) by the pool are still there where we got out of the sun and asked the girls to bring us another cold one. The diving boards are low ones now, but I remember colossal buffooneries on a high diving board by many a star athlete/nasal radiator augmented by a few (more than a few...) beers.

The old O'Club is not in daily use now. But it's been maintained and is used on an as-needed basis for conference meetings and presentation meetings. The main dining room is set up with chairs and a big projection screen on the same stage where the Marines used to enhance the floor shows with their "Mushroom soup" routines or the F-8 guys used to give impromptu renditions of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," complete with raunchy gestures. Just writing this is making me laugh so hard, my eyes are watering and I can't see to type! I turned left inside the front door to go have a Cuba Libre at the bar, but, as we all know, the bar is GONE! It's in the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola.

As luck would have it, only 10 days earlier, I was having a Cubi Dog at the actual Cubi Bar in the Museum with 400 other F-8 pilots during our annual reunion. Having a Cubi Dog in Pensacola and nothing but a sweat burger in Cubi was a little strange. It was a quiet moment to stand there and think about the flow of incredible talent, wit and humor that flowed through that building. It was slightly sad to see all the touchstones of the past (the big tall windows were not as tall as I remember 'em, the club itself is not as big as I remember it being, and the slot machines are gone) but the place is the same place, just very quiet.

I stood out in the parking lot, remembering that we only had about two highly stylized cars/trucks per squadron and as JOs we were always stealing the Skipper's truck and blaming it on the XO from the other squadron as we piled in for the trip to the main gate. I walked to the right outside and remembered that facade of dark stone, perfectly fitted together on the face of the club. It's still there. If there was ever a stirring testament to the fact that PEOPLE make the difference in any enterprise, there it was. A building and no people --- nothing. Well, I slapped myself out of my trance and realized that, of course, no trip to Subic is complete without a trip into the 'ville.

So back on de bus to Po wit de billipino beoples, past the huge new Acer computer factory to pick up about a million Bilipino girls who assemble your computers and on to de "Men Gate." The liber (as in that well-known rock song: "Lolling on de Liber") is just as disgusting as ever, but no boys diving for coins. Big wall on the bridge to prevent you from even seeing the liber unless you work at it. On the other side, lots of jeepneys, dust, little shops selling electronics, pizzas, other stuff. No juke joints, dives, bimbos, guys with machine guns or other fun stuff. Just a grubby little third-world town. They did have a huge flea-market set up there, with lots of cheap stuff and the all-time BEST selection of flip-flops I've ever seen. And I've traveled over the years to some big-time flip-flop wearing cultures. This was the worldwide best. Well, what the hell did I expect?

It was so damn hot, I finally had to get the hell out of there, but it wasn't without a moment of serious reflection on what we all enjoyed there. All of us flying F-8s, F-4s, Vigies, Spads, A-4s, A-6s, Whales, and all the rest. The incredible effort of the ships, the squadrons, the shore effort, the beach dets, the liberty fun. Hell, once there were so many ships in port in Subic including two other carriers, we had to "anchor out" with the Oriskany and ride the Higgins boats to the liberty pier. It was a huge effort.. an incredible expenditure of the nation's capital.

As I sat in the MD-11, flying back across the Pacific, I looked out the window at the water and the clouds and thought about all those people, those places and those great days. We all miss 'em, but those days set us on the road to becoming effective people, they made us feel like true agents for our country and they taught us how to do big things in the world and not just root around in the pine trees of our little home-towns, ........ As we get older, my friends on this list, you guys who were there with me, are the most valuable things in my life. We were huge, weren't we? Don't worry, Cubi lives.
Rich Reddit/Turtle

"Boards Out" Reason for flying with speed-brakes out.
From: Richard
To: Tom
Sir, I am a Skyhawk pilot in an Asian country and which I have been
posted this question. What is the REAL reason with flying with the
boards out?

According to the NavAir, with a failure in speed-brakes, pilots are
advised to raise their approach speed by 10kts.

Is it a US Navy tradition to ensure there's enough power for waveoff?
Or is it because of the lift drag curve?

Thanks a lot Richard

From: Tom
To: Richard

The real reason for originally flying the A-4 with speed-brakes out,
back in the 1950s, was to raise the power setting of the engine during
landing approach. The J-65 had a "flat spot" around 85% and was
sometimes slow to accelerate through that power setting. Remember that
the A4D-1 original basic weight (dry and clean) was only about 8950#,
as I recall.

Some squadrons landed SB out while others landed SB in. Therefore when
the A-4 training squadron (VA-125) got started on the West Coast at
Moffett Field we had some instructors landing SB in (e.g. me), while
others landed SB out. This was confusing to the Fleet Replacement Plots
(FRPS). When NATOPS came along in around 1960 the landing procedure was
standardized to SB out. Subsequently the J-52 engine came along and the
"flat spot" went away

One had to remember to bring the SBs in upon waveoff or else the
advantage of the higher power setting was negated. Of course flying
with SB out in the pattern costs a tad more fuel per pass. Wind over
the deck, gross weight, and a/c configuration are additional
considerations. Personally, I practiced both ways until I switched over
to the A-7 in 1970.
Hope this helps explain how we got where we are with our little lady.
With best wishes, A-4s Forever, Tom.

Note from Bud Southworth:
After NATOPs it became standard to put speedbrakes out on all jet
aircraft approaches to landing --- field and carrier. There were many
benefits to this and only wear and tear and higher fuel consumption as

As you intercept the ball on the boat you put the SB out to immediately
enter a standard rate of descent that approximately holds the
glide-slope to the wires.

On a bolter you have a higher initial power setting and the SB coming
in as the engine accelerates -- the total effect is quicker
acceleration on the missed arrestment.

As you intercept the ILS, ASR, CCA or GCA glide slope you put the SB
out to immediately enter a standard rate of descent that approximately
holds the glideslope.

“According to the NavAir, with a failure in speedbrakes, pilots are
advised to raise their approach speed by 10kts.”

Oh my, that sounds like a stupid Air Farce pussy response. Please
consider that SB out or in has nothing to do with AOA (angle of attack)
or stall speed -- its just drag. Remember that the whole point is
landing --- and the faster you land the more chance you have of
something bad happening ( hydroplaning down the runway, blowing a tire,
overheating the brakes ) to name a few. Fly AOA L/Dmax, land on the
numbers and you’ll be better of.


Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer