“I flew the A-4 Skyhawk with the Navy as a young man. At age 70, I was invited to fly A-4C 149606 for Skyhawk Ventures and for the next 3.5 years, flew the airplane at airshows and various flyby events,” Dave “Hide” Dollarhide.
Taken in 2016 the emotional video in this post features Dave “Hide” Dollarhide last ride in an A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft.
“I flew the A-4 with the Navy as a young man. At age 70, I was invited to fly A-4C 149606 for Skyhawk Ventures and for the next 3.5 years, flew the airplane at airshows and various flyby events,” said Dollarhide.
“At age 74 I remained comfortable in the cockpit, but it was time for me to step down, which I did during the Valiant Air Command’s 2016 Tico War Bird Airshow. It had been just short of 50 years since my initial A-4 training flight in the Navy. It was all a hoot!”
Designed to fill a carrier-based light attack role and as a nuclear delivery aircraft, McDonnell-Douglas’s A-4 (A4D) Skyhawk became a mainstay in Navy and Marine Corps squadrons. The A-4 operated in naval attack squadrons from 1956 until 1987, but continued flying as a training aircraft long afterwards. Performing both close air support and deep strike missions, the Skyhawk gained fame during the Vietnam War.
Nicknamed “Heinemann’s Hot Rod,” the A-4 responded to Navy and Marine Corps needs for a low-cost, light-weight, low-maintenance, carrier-based attack aircraft. Its versatile design enabled it to fulfil the light attack and close air support missions, but also made it capable of delivering tactical nuclear weapons. Designer Ed Heinemann literally designed the aircraft overnight. His unique approach produced an aircraft weighing less than half of the Navy’s original specification, and incorporating design features that not only reduced weight, but because of the aircraft’s simplicity, proved easy to maintain.
Photo credit: Valder137 via Wikipedia