Classic Fighters of America – Restoration Shop Update

Combat Fighters of Americas TA-4J Skyhawk in her green primer prior to a flight in May, 2016. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
Combat Fighters of Americas TA-4J Skyhawk in her green primer prior to a flight in May, 2016. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
Combat Fighters of Americas TA-4J Skyhawk in her green primer prior to a flight in May, 2016. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)

Classic Fighters of America – Restoration Shop Update
by Richard Mallory Allnutt (Editor)

WarbirdsNews founding editor, Moreno Aguiari, made a flight down to Titusville, Florida a couple of weeks ago to check out what Classic Fighters of America has been up to since our visit in May. A good deal has happened since the last report on their SIAI-Marchetti S.211 rebuild program. The third S.211 is coming along well, and is undergoing rewiring while the team also prepares it for the spray booth.

S.211 airframes awaiting rebuild at Classic Fighters of America. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
S.211 airframes awaiting rebuild at Classic Fighters of America. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
Classic Fighters of America's second F-86 Sabre is slowly coming together in the right foreground. The two already airworthy S.211s are in the middle, while the forward TA-4J is in the far back. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
Classic Fighters of America’s second F-86 Sabre is slowly coming together in the right foreground. The two already airworthy S.211s are in the middle, while the forward TA-4J is in the far back. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)

Doug Matthew’s second F-86 Sabre is slowly coming together, and is currently undergoing rewiring. However, work on the Sabre is a secondary priority until CFA’s Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk Bu.156925 is completed. The aircraft rolled of the Douglas production line in August, 1970 and served as a trainer with the US Navy, flying 8751 hours before its retirement from the military in 1991. We managed to find a couple of photographs showing the ‘Scooter’ during her service years, and thought our readers would enjoy seeing them (used here with permission).

Right front view of VT-86 Sabrehawks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 156925 F-235, on the flightline, NAS Pensacola, 21 April 1978.
Right front view of VT-86 Sabrehawks TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 156925 F-235, on the flightline, NAS Pensacola, 21 April 1978. (photo via Skyhawk Association)
TA-4J Bu.156925 at on the Transient Ramp at Reese AFB, Lubbock, TX January 6th, 1989. (photo by Tom Tessier)
TA-4J Bu.156925 at on the Transient Ramp at Reese AFB, Lubbock, TX January 6th, 1989. (photo by Tom Tessier). The airplane was acquired in late 2015, completing a ten year, US$1.5 million restoration to flying condition, and has only five hours on the clock since that first take off towards the end of 2015. It received its Experimental airworthiness certificate from the FAA in December, 2015. Interestingly, the Skyhawk has its weapons control system installed, and there are four wing and one centerline hard point available for use. Doug Matthews wanted some modifications made to the aircraft, which required partial disassembly, including a complete cockpit refurbishment. Classic Fighters took this opportunity to repaint the Skyhawk, which had been in a dull green primer since the first flight. It is now marked in the colors of VF-126 from their time at NAS Miramar in San Diego, California.
The Skyhawk's rear fuselage on it's mounting trolly showing the fresh paintwork. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
The Skyhawk’s rear fuselage on it’s mounting trolly showing the fresh paintwork. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
The Skyhawk's forward fuselage and wings. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
The Skyhawk’s forward fuselage and wings. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
Rewiring the TA-4J's cockpit at Classic Fighters of America's hangar. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)
Rewiring the TA-4J’s cockpit at Classic Fighters of America’s hangar. (photo by Moreno Aguiari)

Upcoming tasks on the TA-4J will include:

– Installing HOT seats
– Installing Garmin G3X in the front and rear cockpits
– Wiring
– Prepping the fuel tanks

Doug Matthews other F-86 Sabre marked in the Skyblazer scheme is currently set to feature at EAA AirVenture 2016 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin during a Warbirds in Review session in just a few days time.

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