YouTube – F4D Skyray
33 ft. 6 in.
45 ft. 3 in.
4- 20 mm
The first United States Navy aircraft capable of supersonic speeds in level flight, the F4D Skyray produced by Douglas Aircraft set numerous world aircraft performance records.
F4D Skyray origins trace back to German aircraft engineering experiments with delta wings that impressed United States designers. When the United States Navy started looking for a new fighter aircraft to operate from its carriers, Douglas Aircraft proposed the delta wing design.
The second prototype F4D Skyray set a speed record when, on Oct. 3, 1953, it flew to 752.9 mph. On May 22 – 23, 1958 a F4D Skyray piloted by United States Marine Corps Maj. Edward LeFaivre set a total of five time-to-climb records including 49,212 feet in two minutes 36 seconds.
The F4D Skyray was known for its fast climb, extreme maneuverability, high roll rate, and overall speed. Its shortcomings were a relatively short range without external fuel tanks, instability at transsonic speeds, and a steep glide ratio. Adding to the general instability were landing gear which did not raise and lower simultaneously. This caused the airplane to skid sideways when the landing gear were initially activated.
The F4D Skyray never saw combat, although one United States Navy unit was assigned to the North American Air Defense Command for bomber interceptor duties.
It is said that before being retired, F4D Skyray aircraft were used at the United States Navy Test Pilot School to demonstrate how unstable aircraft flew.
A total of 420 F4D Skyray aircraft were built by Douglas before production ended in December 1958. The last ones flew until the end of the 1960’s.
RC F4D Skyray
You can find plans for the RC F4D Skyray designed by Mark Frankel at the the Air Age Store. The model has a wingspan of 57 1/2 in. with a length of 77 1/2 in. Power is by an O.S. 91 engine turning a Dynamax fan unit.