Thursday, January 5, 2012

Final Flight of The Whale

Here is a video of the final takeoff of an A-3 Skywarrior. This was taken last June 30, at NAS Ft. Worth, as the aircraft made a refueling stop. It was being delivered from California to the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. This was the last flight of an airworthy A-3.

My aviation photography started about the time when Navy Skywarrior operations were winding down. I did have occasion to see and shoot several of them, principally VAK-208, VAK-308, and VAQ-34 aircraft. I will never forget the peculiar whine of the engines, and the vast amount of black smoke they produced.

Kudos to Mark and Carl for arranging to cover this event - this is an historic piece of video!

Somewhat related, the Vintage Flying Museum, located at Meacham Field in Ft. Worth, is trying to save another A-3 from the scrap heap, to be displayed at Meacham. BuNo 146453 is an EA-3, last operated by VQ-2. The A-3 Association is trying to raise the funds necessary to transport the aircraft from desert storage at Tucson to Ft. Worth, and then restore it. This historic aircraft has a long service history, and flew missions during Desert Storm.

Here is some video of this specific aircraft while in Navy service.