The repairs for the A-4 Skyhawk jet displayed at the Accomack County Airport are underway and the public is invited to see the finished product on Wednesday. According to Petty Officer Robert McClure, the work force from Oceana Naval Air Station found the jet to be in better shape than anticipated. McClure said the plane will be repainted to look like ones in the VFC unit which portrays enemy jets in training exercises from Oceana. The A-4 Skyhawk will resemble Russian jets. McClure said the aircraft is painted that way to allow trainees to instantly recognize enemy fighters on sight.

The A-4 was developed in the early 1950s by Douglas Aircraft as a lightweight, single seat, single engine attack aircraft. Outstanding low speed control and stability during both takeoff and landing made her ideal for carrier operations..

The A-4 came to the airport as the result of a proposal to the Airport Commission to obtain a surplus military aircraft to display at the Melfa Airport by Altair’s Mr. Dan Williams. The Commission passed a motion requesting permission to acquire the A4 providing that Altair would assume maintenance and hanger the aircraft between showings. However there was no Memo of Understanding. The aircraft was obtained by Altair and was transported in three parts . It was then reassembled and stored.

A few months later Altair was acquired by Piedmont Aviation which left shortly thereafter. Piedmont left after promising to display the A$ at the entrance of the Industrial park and the plan never materialized.

At this point the location for display was chosen next to the terminal where it rests today. The VFC Squadron volunteered to come to Melfa and repaint the aircraft at no charge to the County other than rooms and meals.

Although it is unlikely that this A4 will ever take to the skies again, McClure said Monday that it was in good enough condition to be restored to action if there was ever a need.

The Accomack County Airport is planning an event on Wedesday July 31 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the airport. The food truck from the Hurricane Grill in Saxis will be on scene and members of the public are invited to come down and enjoy lunch and see the newly painted A-4.