No- not THAT kind…

A3D Skywarriors, also known as Whales, also known as All Three Deads… Built in the 1950’s, accepted by the Navy in 1956, still flying in 2008. Er… Do. The. Math… 52 years and tens of thousands of hours later, they are still serving.

Since I had a little time and access, a couple of pics for those airdales who read this blog.

Steam gauges… This is Ron’s office, Ron is the high time pilot in the world on this aircraft… The yellow handle is the blade fold handle, which blocks the throttles- Not a bad idea, as this sucker won’t fly too well with the wings folded…

And the unofficial call sign for both the pilot and airplane is Dinosaur…

This is why it was called an All Three Dead- This was the only way in/out of the aircraft, no ejection seats, just an escape slide that went out the bottom of the aircraft …

AND this was the largest aircraft to routinely fly on/off the carrier. On the older boats (CV-41/43) there was about four feet of clearance between the wing tip and parked aircraft when landing this thing…
A side note- One of my co-workers is one of the few to survive a water landing in an A3- And that is the way they logged it… πŸ™‚

To see this airplane in flight, and read more, go to the A3 Skywarriors site – HERE and start the A-3 Takeoff video on the front page.


Whales… — 21 Comments

  1. Talk about short-term memory taking a trip. Somehow I got Skywarrior mentally crossed with Skyraider. Anyway, just wanted to let you know why I pulled the comment. Some embarrassment should be kept private.

  2. My first cat shot off a carrier in a jet was in one of those things! I left my AD-5N tow plane on board and took that baby to the beach in Majocra(sp)! Remember the old Douglas F3D? Same escape route. Not so funny to see all three guys stuck in the slot trying to be the first out!

  3. Crucis- I know the feeling… πŸ™‚

    ADM- It is one of three still flyable and sitting in the hangar!

    Snigs- no Frog…It DOES have a tail (white with blue tip) πŸ™‚

    Ev- I figured you’d appreciate it! Glad I could bring back a good memory or two!

  4. Fuzzy- Thanks!

    Pawpaw- It was used for elec. intel and tanking other jets. Mostly used for R&D now.

    Phlegmmy- I think that is the FIRST time I’ve ever heard a Whale called pretty πŸ™‚

    CA- Thanks!

  5. My MO in VA145 and then CO in VA128 the second time was Mike McCamish. He started out as an AT aircrew on Whales then as an NFO. He walked away from at least one if not more. the man was charmed.
    I remember the first one I saw when I made my first deployment to the Med on Independence. They were from the outfit at Rota. Awesome sight watching that thing recover. For some reason the starboard main would always lift off of the deck when catching the wire.
    GM Casel AMH1(AW) Retired

  6. GM- my one cruise on Coral Maru I never stuck around to see one land after the FIRST one… I was hiding in the chain locker πŸ™‚

  7. Went to the link, then went through the photos. Damn, those guys look young/old!

    Quite an experience, flying in an airplane that’s been to the boneyard TWICE!

    And yes, I DO know the guy asleep in the crew chief’s seat.

  8. I seem to recall that when they first came into the fleet they were going to be used for the, ” dive from on high, pullup into a sharp climb and release a nuke to ‘loft it’ to the target, finish with an Immelman and dive for the deck a get the hell out of Dodge before the shock wave could catch up with you. Was I having brain farts?

    wv= labrat I think that’s just what they were using those guys for!!

  9. “Actually Wyatt, she’s old and tired, but she can still get up and go!”

    Hey, now – – Don’t be talkin’ thataway. Some of my fondest memories are . . . Uh, wait. You’re meanin’ aeroplanes, huh? Never mind.

    Okay, then — OTHER fun memories: In high school, Aeronca L-16B and Fairchild PT-26A. In college, a weary old T-33, my only stick time in a jet.

  10. Ev- you are correct- The Whale was designed as a replacement for the Spad. Only problem was it would go supersonic if you weren’t careful and disintegrate! Also, Heinemann designed the A-4 about the same time, and it became the defacto one way bomber…

    JPG- You flew some classics! That would be an interesting post if you have any pics of you and those birds!