Skyray - McDonnell F4D Skyray
McDonnell F4D Skyray Original Aviation Art Painting - Fleet Air Gunnery Unit by Aviation Artist Darryl Legg
A contemporary of the Vought F7U Cutlass, the F4D Skyray from the Douglas company also displays the experimentation being explored in fighter design during the late 1940s and 1950s.
Generally considered to be more successful than the Vought aircraft, the F4D would achieve an absolute speed record of over 750mph, while service aircraft are generally accepted to have reached around the 720mph mark.
In common with a number of other American designs at the time, the F4D borrowed significantly from research conducted by the Germans during WWII, with the Douglas aircraft being, in part, designed by Alexander Lippisch.
Its entry into service was held up by the continual delays to its propsed powerplant, the Westinghouse J40 and when this engine was cancelled a Pratt & Whitney J57 was installed instead.
Entering service in April 1956 with VC-3, later designated VF(AW)-3, the aircraft was quite successful and equipped over twenty Navy and Marine Corps squadrons prior to its eventual retirement in 1964.
Darryl Legg's aviation art painting shows an aircraft of the Fleet Air Gunnery Unit (FAGU), based at NAS El Centro in around 1956. The aircraft is seen above the USS Hancock, which had been re-commissioned as an Attack Carrier in 1952.
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