Douglas Aircraft's El Segundo plant was awarded
the prototype contract for a new tactical attack jet for the U.S. Navy and the
Marine Corps in 1952 after chief engineer Ed Heinemann had conviced the Bureau
of Aeronautics his design would meet the challenging specification and yet
weight just half the suggested 30,000 lb (13,607 kg). The prototype flew in June
1954 and not only fully met the requirements but set a world speed record and
proved such a good basis for improvement that the A-4 remained in production for
The requirements were based on Korean experience and called for the
maximum payload/range and equipment for carrier operation, but not for all
weather avionics.the A-4 bristled with novel features intended to reduce weight
and complexity. The main gears, ,tall enough for large underwing clearance, fold
forward to lie under the main wing box without cutting into it.
The wing is a
curved-tip delta so small it does not need to fold, the entire box being an
integral tank and the leading edges having full span slats. The cockpit was put
high above the nose for good view, and in the final versions the canopy was
enlarged. There are large airbrakes on the rear fuselage, flight controls are
powered, ,and the unique rudder hastily redesigned to eliminate ?Buzz? by having
a single skin on the centerline with ribs on the outside remained in production
to the 2,960th and last aircraft in 1980.
Vol.4 has an updated flight model that simulates weights, and drag in a
more realistic fashion than in earlier version. Here are some of the changes.
The goal of the flight model was not to make it harder to fly, but to
give you a better feel for flying the real thing. Once you get use to flying
this model, you will find that you will be able to get more out of it. The main
thing to consider is the wing loading is almost 3 times the wing loading of the
Lear 45. Also there is almost no dihedral in the wing. As a whole this makes for
a pretty unstable aircraft. Instead of throwing out a bunch of techno-babble, I
will just give you the features and a few pointers in flying the models in Vol4.
Since the aircraft are very similar, all have the same confi gurable hardpoints
and fuel. Note: If you are familiar with Vol.1.2, Vol.2.2 or Vol.3, the flight
models are very similar except: Slightly more weight and drag. The power curve
has been adjusted, similar to the update to Vol.3, so this plane is a little