Friday, September 27, 2019 (3:25 pm)

Skyhawk aircraft arrives at Heroes Hall

A Vietnam-era A-4M Skyhawk aircraft has been relocated from the Santa Ana Civic Center to Heroes Hall. 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 was transported to OC Fair & Event Center overnight and was lifted onto its new display pedestal, which is surrounded by hardscape and seating areas, this morning.

Heroes Hall will host a Salute to Veterans event on Nov. 9, at which time the Skyhawk will be officially unveiled. 

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.