The A-4/TA-4 aircraft was designed by Douglas Aircraft's Ed Heinemann in response to the Navy's request for a jet-powered carrier attack aircraft. The result was an aircraft that was exceptionally lighter, less expensive, and with the capability of carrying more ordinance than originally specified by the U.S. Navy. The prototype of this aircraft first flew on June 22nd, 1954. That is over 60 years ago. Due to its nimble performance, and by achieving the highest roll rate of any aircraft (720 degrees per second) , the diminutive Skyhawk soon received the nicknames "Scooter", "Bantam Bomber", "Tinker Toy Bomber", and "Heinemann's Hot Rod" by its admiring pilots. Another aspect that makes this plane so extraordinary, is the TA-4 was also designed to be able to make an emergency landing, in the event of a landing gear failure, on the two top tanks nearly always carried by the TA-4.
Skyhawk TA-4's have been used in many foreign militaries, even still to this day in Argentina, Singapore, Israel and Brazil. The last U.S. Military Skyhawk was officially retired on May 3, 2003. There are approximately 100 Skyhawks still flying today. The N518TA is the only TA-4 flying today that can be purchased and flown by civilian pilots.