The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex in New York City, New York recently announced the acquisition of a rare Douglas F4D-1 Skyray for their collection housed in and atop the former US Navy aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (CV 11). Of great interest, this specific airframe, Bu.134836, served aboard Intrepid during its service career, providing it extra relevance in helping tell both the story of Naval Aviation and of the carrier too. The second generation jet fighter was the first carrier-borne aircraft capable of exceeding the speed of sound in level flight, and held the world absolute airspeed record (752.943 mph) for a brief period too. The type never saw combat, however and more potent designs quickly superseded them in front line service. Sadly just a handful or so of complete examples survive in preservation today.
Douglas completed this particular Skyray as construction number 10430, delivering her to the U.S. Navy in 1956. She flew with a variety of U.S. Navy and Marine Corps carrier-based units during her brief service career. The Navy struck her off charge on December 5th, 1961, which meant she never became an F-6 like other surviving airframes when the new tri-service aircraft designation system arrived in September, 1962. The type was fully-retired by 1964.
Bu.134836 is presently located at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, her home since 1984. It will be quite an endeavor to move the aircraft to New York, with the journey being by both land and sea, with an eventual crane ride up from the delivery barge to the Intrepid’s flight deck. According to the museum, this acquisition was funded by the estate of Margaret F. “Peggy” Donovan, a longtime member and supporter (to learn how to support the Intrepid Museum with a planned gift, please visit their Legacy Society page).
The transport team is expected to make the move in late July. They will load the Skyray onto a flatbed tractor trailer at the New England Air Museum and move the interceptor the 25 miles by road to a pier along the Connecticut River near Hartford. This won’t be easy, since they won’t be able to fully disassemble the Skyray. As a consequence, the interceptor’s 25′ wingspan, overhanging each side of the trailer, will demand a carefully planned route escorted by State Police. This road journey will take the Skyray from the airport to a pre-selected pier along the Connecticut River, near Hartford. A barge will then ferry the Skyray downriver to the coast, and from there to the west side of Manhattan Island and Pier 86, where Intrepid is berthed.
For more information about the The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, please visit www.intrepidmuseum.org