Video of F3H, F4D, A4D carrier qualifications

Abraham Gubler

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18 March 2008
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Some great video of carrier qualification trials circa 1955:
Nice find. Some trivia:

The test period was mid-September 1955, 12-16 for sure for the A4D with orange markings and black stripes. Tico had a steam catapult and an angled deck, but note that a flat approach with a cut is still being used.

The F3H-2N still has the auxiliary air intake on the side of the fuselage. This was disconnected fairly early on in production.

The F7U is an F7U-3M. (An additional pylon on each outboard wing panel.)

The Skyhawk is a YA4D, BuNo 137816.

For some reason, a second A4D is shown. It's not mentioned in the test report as being aboard and doesn't participate in the flyby. It was probably BuNo 137822, which was also assigned to carrier suitability and probably wasn't in the first test series because it wasn't instrumented as 137816 was.
At that point, the last F7U-3M had already been delivered. Even though it had been taken out for at-sea trials a few times, the type still hadn't been approved by NATC carrier suitability at a high enough maximum gross weight to land back while carrying Sparrows. Pax was being challenged to increase the landing weight. My guess is that it was just aboard for a short while to make some final checks and simply wasn't around when the formation flight was organized.

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