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A-4 Skyhawk / Cockpit-Size  
User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 9 hours ago) and read 7826 times:

Why did the A-4 have such a TINY cockpit? It was the most cramped, tiny cockpit known to man, and since it was used as a trainer it set all sorts of leg-length and height restrictions on Navy pilots for decades...

Andrea Kent

46 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineTexfly101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 351 posts, RR: 0
Reply 1, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 8 hours ago) and read 7807 times:

Ed Heinemannm set out to design the smallest airframe possible without folding wings around the J65 to accomplish the mission. Its really as simple as that. The fact that it survived in active service as long as it did and was tasked with as many missions as it was, is proof that his design as as efficient a design as could be, particularly at that time of slide rules and engineering judgement

User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 2, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7765 times:

Don't know about the cockpit, but the canopy was enlarged on the later versions (A-4M and up).


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 3, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 7751 times:

It also seemed to have a reputation for punishing ejections, although I do know at least one person who has ejected from one with no apparent ill effects.

There was a story that a pilot once had his Mae West inflate in the cockpit and it pinned both arms against the sidewalls leaving him unable to reach the controls including the black-and-yellow ones. After that, I'm told, they installed a spring-covered pin on the sidewalls to deflate the vest should this happen again. Anyone know more about that?



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 7698 times:

I'm still quite amazed they couldn't have increased the cockpit size a little. I mean the TA-45 Goshawk managed to do just fine and was around the same size right?

Andrea Kent


User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 5, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7670 times:

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 4):
I'm still quite amazed they couldn't have increased the cockpit size a little. I mean the TA-45 Goshawk managed to do just fine and was around the same size right?

The Hawk wasn't developed in the 50's (people were a little smaller back then  Wink ).

But seriously, if it was an important enough issue they would have made the cockpit bigger (by making the fuselage slightly wider, at the expense of weight and drag penalties on an aircraft that never suffered from a significant excess of power or endurance to begin with). But clearly it wasn't.


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineGunsontheroof From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 3509 posts, RR: 9
Reply 6, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 1 hour ago) and read 7667 times:

Quoting LY744 (Reply 5):

The Hawk wasn't developed in the 50's (people were a little smaller back then Wink ).

Not to mention that fighter pilots aren't generally big people! I know I've felt stuffed in every fighter cockpit I ever sat in! (6'3")



Next Flight: 9/17 BFI-BFI
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 7, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 23 hours ago) and read 7633 times:

Quoting Gunsontheroof (Reply 6):
Not to mention that fighter pilots aren't generally big people!

 rotfl 

There was a John Glenn space suit prominently displayed in the Smithsonian Air & Space museum. It is obviously custom tailored for someone slightly larger than a Ken doll, like maybe 5'4" and 130 lbs. Apparently the docents had been asked many times just how small a guy John Glenn is. There was a placard explaining that the suit is on a small manikin so as not to stretch it.

 rotfl  rotfl  rotfl  rotfl 

I'd always heard that medieval armor will surprise this generation because the warriors of four hundred years ago - presumably the larger men of the time - were all very petite by today's standards. So the first suit I ever see in Europe is one belonging to who? Henry VIII. The guy was pretty big and it did not look like all fat either. So maybe one day, three hundred years hence the museum staff will be explaining that even though we were the warriors of our time we rarely were more than 6'4" and they will be telling this to astonished seven foot tall 5th graders.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineStealthZ From Australia, joined Feb 2005, 5743 posts, RR: 44
Reply 8, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 7568 times:
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Quoting Gunsontheroof (Reply 6):
Not to mention that fighter pilots aren't generally big people!

Like many youngsters I had dreams of becoming a fighter pilot, a few things got in the way (likely lack of commitment on my part was a big factor).
The RAAF frontline fighter at that time was the Mirage III-C, many years later I found that would not have been an option anyway.
I sat in one and with the assistance of the museum staff we moved the seat and made all possible adjustments, at just over 6ft there is no possible seating position that would have enabled an ejection without the bottom inst. panel crossmember neatly machining about 3 inches off each knee.



If your camera sends text messages, that could explain why your photos are rubbish!
User currently offlineL-188 From United States of America, joined Jul 1999, 29832 posts, RR: 58
Reply 9, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 7459 times:

Quoting Gunsontheroof (Reply 6):
Not to mention that fighter pilots aren't generally big people!

The heart doesn't have to pump blood as far to reach the brain with short people. So the general rule the short you are the better you can handle high G conditions.


And is one of the reasons they are saying now that women are better built to be fighter pilots......sudder



OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 7389 times:

Sounds great, I'm a woman -- but I'm between 6-2 and 6-3... :O

Andrea Kent


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (7 years 3 months 3 weeks ago) and read 7376 times:

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 10):
Sounds great, I'm a woman -- but I'm between 6-2 and 6-3... :O

Really? I thought you were a lot closer to like 6'10 - 6'11?

-UH60


User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 7304 times:

When did the Navy start using the A-4 Skyhawk as a military trainer?

Andrea Kent


User currently offlineAAR90 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 3494 posts, RR: 46
Reply 13, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 7233 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 3):
Anyone know more about that?

Never heard the story and no TA-4J had "pins" in the cockpit. While a "tight" fit, the cockpit was very comfortable once I got seated and the canopy closed. 6'0" 180lbs at the time. Not cramped at all. Getting in/out was a little tight.



*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 14, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7182 times:

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 12):
When did the Navy start using the A-4 Skyhawk as a military trainer?

When one says "trainer" in connection with this aircraft you shouldn't think in terms of T-34 substitute. It's not like you'd have had your first solo in a TA-4F. That said, let me add:

1. First flight of a TA-4E on 30 June 1965. (Hey! I was still a civilian!) It was soon redesignated TA-4F.
2. First deployment of TA-4F on 01 May 1966.
3. These forums are a poor substitute for Google proficiency.

Most single seaters had a T-version added to the lineup. The F-102 had a two seater (TF-102A) with side-by-side seating, sometimes called a "tub" where the TF-106 with, essentially the same fuselage, used fore-and-aft two seaters.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 15, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7176 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 14):
When one says "trainer" in connection with this aircraft you shouldn't think in terms of T-34 substitute. It's not like you'd have had your first solo in a TA-4F.

Although it wasn't practiced, it wouldn't have been too much of a stretch. In Soviet flight academies the trainees' first plane was the L-29 or L-39. The A-4 can't be that much harder to survive.  Wink


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 16, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7169 times:

Quoting LY744 (Reply 15):
The A-4 can't be that much harder to survive.

Right. There was a generation of USAF pilots who had their first solo in a T-37 which is actually two-engined (or almost two)

A guy with forty hours of C-152 time would probably be freaked at the idea of soloing a jet that towers over their plane as the A-4 does. But I don't think military student pilots were much bothered by that.

Quoting LY744 (Reply 15):
L-39.

Operationally a very simple airplane. Flying characteristics must be pretty docile. It is almost straight-wing. If I were taking a guy from Cessnoids to L-39 I'd expect that my biggest challenge would be impressing upon them the spoolup time and that a little throttle slightly before you need it is way better than a whole lot of it five seconds after you need it.



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 17, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 7154 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 16):
Operationally a very simple airplane. Flying characteristics must be pretty docile. It is almost straight-wing.

Sounds exactly like the A-4 doesn't it. Big grin

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 16):
Right. There was a generation of USAF pilots who had their first solo in a T-37 which is actually two-engined (or almost two)

A guy with forty hours of C-152 time would probably be freaked at the idea of soloing a jet that towers over their plane as the A-4 does.

Right on. I was still impressed when I found out that Soviet trainees had zero time in props (or jet-powered lawnmowers), but apparently it works, and even makes sense. Why bother teaching somebody how to drive a prop and then spending a few hours transitioning to a jet, if he's destined to fly jets to begin with.


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineSlamClick From United States of America, joined Nov 2003, 10062 posts, RR: 68
Reply 18, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 7149 times:

Quoting LY744 (Reply 17):
Why bother teaching somebody how to drive a prop and then spending a few hours transitioning to a jet, if he's destined to fly jets to begin with.

I knew a few ex-USAF guys at the airlines who did not have a single engine pilot license. They never flew civil before or after the USAF. They soloed in a T-37, went on to the T-38 and from there to F-4 or B-52, or KC-135 - manymotors all. So when they took their MilComp exam to get a commercial ticket they were written for whatever current qualifications they held - typically airlplane multiengine land with instrument. From there they went on to the airline and never cared to fly itty bitties.

If you spend too much time in very small airplanes, like C-152 you develop a frame of reference based on it, that can make transisition to larger planes challenging, even less than successful.

Early in my career I noticed that as I began to feel at home in a new, larger airplane, it started to feel slower, smaller, lighter and more maneuverable. I can recall being a little nervous about descending into a mountain valley with one airplane. When I got on the ground I could barely see the surrounding hills from the airport! With a bit of time, that plane too shrunk on me. I'd consider the A-4 a "scooter" now. But then, who doesn't?



Happiness is not seeing another trite Ste. Maarten photo all week long.
User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 7119 times:

Quoting SlamClick (Reply 18):
I'd consider the A-4 a "scooter" now. But then, who doesn't?

Then it's settled. Who's pitching in for a jointly owned Airliners.net TA-4???

You photoshoppers out there, get cracking on some colourschemes (ask GDB in the Red Arrows thread if you need ideas).  Wink


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 20, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 7096 times:

Who was Ed Heinemann, and why was he motivated to make the design as small as possible? The specifications called for a design almost twice the weight they delivered?

How big was the first A-4 Skyhawks, and how large were the later models?

Why didn't the Navy just use a modified T-38 talon? It had supersonic performance and decent performance. Plus with the F-5's more powerful engines, a modified undercarriage, and perhaps a slight flap mod it would have worked.


Andrea Kent


User currently offlineUH60FtRucker From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 21, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 22 hours ago) and read 7083 times:

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 20):

Are you absolutely sure you're not Wardialer??? Sometimes you sound A LOT like him.

Anyway, a lot of your questions - just like many of Wardialer's - could be answered by a little detective work, on your part. Hell, simply googling many of your questions would give you a quicker answer.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 20):
Who was Ed Heinemann

A famous aircraft designer.

He designed aircraft like the SBD Dauntless, A-1 Skyraider, A-4 Skyhawk and 17 other aircraft. He also helped with the F-16 design.

...Like I said, if you want more information, go to the freakin' library, or google.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 20):
why was he motivated to make the design as small as possible?

Because simplicity in design was important. The point of the design was to avoid creating an overly complex, and costly aircraft. If you look at many of his designs, simplicity and efficiency were very important. No reason to expect the A-4 would have been any different.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 20):
How big was the first A-4 Skyhawks, and how large were the later models?

Seriously... a simple book on US naval aviation would answer this question.

The early A-4s weighed about 10,000lbs empty, and 18,000lbs fully loaded. The empty weight of the Super Skyhawk wasn't much bigger, but it's max gross was near 22,000lbs. Even though wing area, height and length were not altered.

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 20):
Why didn't the Navy just use a modified T-38 talon? It had supersonic performance and decent performance. Plus with the F-5's more powerful engines, a modified undercarriage, and perhaps a slight flap mod it would have worked.

Is this a totally different question, or are you asking why they didn't use the T-38/F-5 in lieu of the A-4? Because if that's what you're asking, the answer is simple: the T38 was not submitted as a contender to replace the Navy's A-1s. Thus never competed against the A-4.

But if you are asking why the Navy never bought the T-38/F-5, and the question has nothing to do with the A-4... aren't you derailing your own thread?

-----------------------

But seriously Blackbird, ever heard of online open source websites?

-UH60


User currently offlineLY744 From Canada, joined Feb 2001, 5536 posts, RR: 9
Reply 22, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 7059 times:

Quoting Blackbird (Reply 20):
Why didn't the Navy just use a modified T-38 talon?

Probably because the A-4 came about almost a decade before the Talon.

But even more importantly, the A-4 was designed to be operated from aircraft carriers, which is the answer to the bulk of your questions.


LY744.



Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7008 times:

UH60FtRucker

I honestly don't even know who wardialer is, although I've heard him/her mentioned many times and often compared to me.


BTW: Why did they chose the J-65 engine for the design? Or was that a Navy specification to begin with?


User currently offlineBlackbird From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 24, posted (7 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 7006 times:

Also, I heard something I just read about that the landing gear doesn't "penetrate the main spar" or something and the landing gear leg is buried in a fairing.

What does the fairing look like as I've never seen it, and if I recall, wings generally have two spars, so why would the main leg penetrate?

Andrea Kent


25 UH60FtRucker : It's complicated. But here you go: JFK was a boardmember of General Electric, and so was his good friend - Robert McNamarra. Both of them belonged to
26 L-188 : Any comment on that rumor that keeps going around that both Ed and Kelly Johnson where members of a secret sect of gay aircraft designers.......which
27 Post contains images Brons2 : Bit tall for the fighters I'd say! Well, there's always the larger transports. I'm 6'7" and the Airbus is a very comfy fit Maybe if the USAF would bu
28 Deskflier : I once read an article by a guy who had been employed by Hawker Siddeley, starting when they were busy building the Gnat Trainer and leaving just aft
29 Texfly101 : It made me laugh...thanx
30 Blackbird : Seriously, why the J-65 as an engine choice? Andrea Kent
31 Ptrjong : Why not? What's wrong with it? What prompts the question? Peter
32 UH60FtRucker : Honestly, Blackbird, you need to start doing some of your own leg work. The vast majority of your questions could simply be answered by using the end
33 Blackbird : I doubt I'd find anything if I searched "Why did Douglas Select the J-65 for A-4" Andrea Kent
34 UH60FtRucker : Well no shit, of course you won't. You actually have to use your brain, and go a little deeper. Christ, it's not that hard. How do you think I answer
35 Blackbird : -UH60, I sort of understand your point. Still I figured you guys would be more qualified in terms of being able to answer the questions. In regards to
36 Ptrjong : He's right, Andrea. The question 'Why did Douglas Select the J-65 for A-4' may not be a bad one for here, but in order to gain people's interest, you
37 Blackbird : Why did the later A-4's have much longer, pointier noses than the earlier models? Andrea Kent
38 Ptrjong : To make room for some new kit no doubt. Peter
39 Post contains images CHRISBA777ER : Deary me that made me laugh - thanks fella.
40 Blackbird : How much thrust was the J-65 producing by the time the first A-4 flew? And was the J-52 available when the A-4 first flew? I know the J-52 was used la
41 Post contains links UH60FtRucker : Roughly 200 lbs... but if you turned off the air conditioner, you super charged the little f*cker to 300lbs. I don't know Blackbird... lets see... Go
42 Post contains images Blackbird : Ptrjong, Really? I would have thought it would have been some kind of aerodynamic improvement. UH60FtRucker, You must be joking about the thrust level
43 Post contains links and images Ptrjong : The [A4D-5's] nose was lengthened by 14 inches to accommodate an AN/ASN-19A navigation computer. This is from Joe Baugher's exellent website which tel
44 Blackbird : Ptrjong, When was the AN/ASN-19A navigation computer developed? Yes I know what the AN/ASG-19A includes -- New equipment installed included TACAN, Dop
45 Blackbird : Oh, does anybody have some decent 3-View's of the A-4E or F and TA-4E or TA-4F? Andrea Kent
46 Ptrjong : Andrea, I wonder what your thoughts are behind all these questions... That the A-4 was a really bad design or what?
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