Press Release

Skyhawk to be transported to Heroes Hall at OC Fair & Event Center on Sept. 26

COSTA MESA (Sept. 16, 2019) – The Vietnam-era A-4M Skyhawk aircraft will be relocated from the Santa Ana Civic Center to Heroes Hall late on Sept. 26. The plane has been a part of Civic Center Plaza for more than a decade, but has to be moved due to construction plans.

The aircraft will be transported to OC Fair & Event Center overnight and will be lifted onto its new display pedestal which is surrounded by hardscape and seating areas. The Skyhawk will be officially unveiled at the annual Salute to Veterans event on Nov. 9.

Preparations for the move will begin at 8 p.m. as the plane is detached and removed from its current mounting and loaded for transport. The aircraft will begin its move from the Civic Center at approx. 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 26. Bragg Crane and Rigging will carry the Skyhawk north on Broadway, then down Civic Center Drive to Fairview Road, and on to the fairgrounds at 88 Fair Drive in Costa Mesa.

The California Highway Patrol will escort the plane on the approx. 15-mile journey to its new place of honor at Heroes Hall. The move is expected to be completed by 5:30 a.m. or earlier on Sept. 27.

The aircraft is on loan from the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla.


Plane specifications:

  • Wing Span: 27’ 5”
  • Length: 41’ 4”
  • Height: 15’
  • Max speed: 690 MPH
  • Range: 1,856 nautical miles

History and details:

  • The A-4 Skyhawk is an attack aircraft developed for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps in the early 1950s to provide close air support for Marines while flying from expeditionary airfields and aircraft carriers.
  • Skyhawk planes first flew in 1954 and entered service with the Marine Corps at MCAS El Toro in September 1956. The aircraft played a major role during the Cold War and the Vietnam War.
  • The A-4M Skyhawk that will be on display at Heroes Hall first flew in April 1970. The M model was the last production series of the Skyhawk.
  • The aircraft was designed by legendary engineer Ed Heinemann and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company and later by McDonnel Douglas.
  • The first 500 produced cost an average of $860,000 each, less than the Navy’s $1 million maximum.
  • A total of 2,960 were built in El Segundo and Long Beach, California, either as single-seat attack aircraft or as dual-seated advanced trainers that were also used in forward air control missions.
  • The A-4 Skyhawk has wings so compact that they did not need to be folded for carrier stowage.
  • The aircraft was capable of carrying a variety of missiles, bombs and other munitions. Its bomb load capacity was equivalent to that of a World War II-era B-17 bomber and it was able to deliver nuclear weapons using a low-altitude bombing system.
  • The aircraft received many nicknames including “Scooter,” “Kiddiecar,” “Bantam Bomber,” “Tinker Toy Bomber,” and “Heinemann’s Hot-Rod.”
  • Notable naval aviators who flew the Skyhawk include Lt. Commanders Everette Alvarez, Jr., John McCain, and Commander James Stockdale.