The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum just announced the acquisition of a new historic aircraft to its collection, a Douglas F4D Skyray. Aviation fans will be fascinated to learn that this exact aircraft flew from Intrepid during the Cold War, It will be added to the Museum’s flight deck on Tuesday, July 27 and is set to become the 28th plane in the Museum’s aircraft collection.
The Skyray, named for the unique shape of its wing (which resembles a manta ray), went into operation with the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in 1956, says the museum. It was designed to be a high-altitude fleet protection interceptor, fast enough to catch and neutralize an approaching enemy bomber flying at 500 knots. Skyrays set many speed and time-to-climb records in their day as they were able to reach supersonic speeds. The specific Skyray acquired by the Intrepid Museum from the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, served in VF-162 and deployed on Intrepid between June 1961 and March 1962 with Carrier Air Wing Six.
“It is always exciting when we add a new aircraft to our collection, but this one is even more special because it served on Intrepid 60 years ago,” says Eric Boehm, the Intrepid Museum’s Curator of Aviation. “Returning this aircraft to the flight deck it once flew from is an incredible opportunity that will allow us to dive even deeper into the history and human stories behind this remarkable plane and the period of time in which it served.”
On July 25, the Skyray will be transported on a flatbed tractor-trailer from the Bradley International Airport to a pier along the Connecticut River, where it will then take a 30-hour journey on a barge through Long Island Sound, around the southern tip of Manhattan and up the East River. Following this journey, Skyray will be lifted by a crane onto Intrepid’s flight deck, where it last resided 60 years ago. Once back aboard Intrepid, experts will begin working to preserve the aircraft so visitors can learn from it for decades to come.
“The Skyray is a large aircraft that is not easily disassembled, so its 177-mile journey over land and sea to transport it in one piece is a logistical and technical challenge,” says Matt Woods, the Intrepid Museum’s Senior Vice President of Facilities, Engineering and Security. “It requires the cooperation and coordination of multiple entities, from Connecticut’s Department of Transportation and state police to the U.S. Coast Guard. We greatly appreciate all who are coming together to make sure this artifact arrives safely to its new home on Intrepid’s flight deck.”
The acquisition of Skyray is made possible by the estate of Margaret F. “Peggy” Donovan, a longtime member and supporter of the Intrepid Museum.
Douglas F4D Skyray stats
Length: 45 feet 3 inches (13.79 meters)
Wingspan: 33 feet 6 inches (10.21 meters)
Height: 13 feet 0 in (3.96 meters)
Empty Weight: 16,024 lbs (7,268 kg)
Max Weight: 27,116 lbs (12,300 kg)
Top Speed: 722 mph (1,161 kph)
Ceiling: 55,000 feet (17,000 meters)
Armament: 4 x 20 mm Colt Mk 12 cannons, 65 rounds per gun
4 x AIM-9 sidewinder air-to-air missiles or 4,000 lbs (907 kg) of bombs, rockets, and fuel tanks
The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is located at Pier 86, W 46th St, New York City and is open seven days a week, 10 am-5 pm. Visitors can purchase timed tickets online.