A3D-2 Skywarrior of VAH-10 aboard USS. Constellation (VVA-64) 1962
This model is of an aircraft assigned to VAH-10 “Vikings”. Commissioned a NAS Whidbey Island, Washington on May 1,1961. VAH-10 was the last HATRON to be activated. It received its first A3D-2’s six weeks after being organized. As part of CVG-8, the squadron took part in the shakedown cruise of USS Constellation in March – April 1962. During the following two years, VAH-10 deployed twice to WestPac aboard this carrier. It was there that VAH-10 and other CVW-8 squadrons provided some of the first naval aircraft to to go into combat in Southeast Asia as the Constellation was involved in the August ,1964, Gulf of Tonkin Incident.
On a personal note I almost got a ride in an A3D while aboard Bon Homme Richard in 1957. During this deployment the A3D’s of VAH-2 were part of the aircraft compliment of the BHR. At one point in the cruise the ships Captain was to fly an A3D for his currency check ride and he told us, his orderlies, that he would take us up one at a time in the third seat. Needless to say we were excited about the ride off and on the carrier. Shortly before our ride an A3D crashed into the fantail of the ship. The weather was rough and the ship was rocking badly in the rough seas. As the plane came down and the fantail came up It struck the deck at the point where the fuselage and the leading edge of the wing came together. The forward fuselage continued sliding forward on the angled deck and the remainder of the aircraft fell into the ocean. The crew attempted to go out of the cockpit area via the ejection slide. Two of the crew made it into the ocean and the other remained with the forward section of the aircraft. All were fatally injured. With that very sad incident, our rides were cancelled.
VAH-2 was also the first A3D squadron to deploy on an Essex class carrier and the first A3D squadron to deploy to the Pacific area. One other item of note, although not known at the time, was that one of the pilots of the squadron, Edger D. Mitchell was to become an astronaut and was aboard Apollo 14. He spent nine hours on the surface of the moon.
I built this model when this kit first came out. I found it very enjoyable to build and I look forward to building the Trumpeter 1/48 kit. If the 1/48 kit is half as good as this kit it will be a welcome edition to the shelf. I really like the looks of the A3D so no matter if it is slightly incorrect in some place or another I will still like it.
6 additional images. Click to enlarge.