Douglas TA-4SU Skyhawk: Weirdo’s delight.

Singapore chose the Lockheed Air Service (Ontario, CA) to refurbish the forty second-hand A-4Bs they bought in 1972. Taken out of Davis-Monthan AFB, those basic “Scooters” were extensively modified and obviously upgraded to answer their strict customer demands. There was a problem: none was a two-seater. To solve that dilemma Lockheed Ontario did the obvios thing; they extended the fuselage to provide the necessary volume for the second seat, but with a difference. Instead of the incorporating the logical long TA-4-type canopy for both pilots, the TA-4S had two separate single seat cockpits, the rear one bulged to improve both headroom and visibility. Seven were so modified.

Unique design, neat colours and always spotlessly clean. My favorite “Scooter” by very, very far.

Photo: National Museum of Naval Aviation.

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