The Skyray was a handful to fly,somewhat unstable and dangerous for inexperienced pilots.Modern digital fly-by-wire flight control systems
would have tamed the aircraft,but in the 50's this technology was unavailable.Loved by most,hated by some,this aircraft was far ahead of it's time,as were most of the German inspired aircraft designs.
Here is the info that the seller provided with the patch:
"Rare" 100% original USN VFAW-3 squadron patch. I believe this patch dates from the early 1960's or perhaps late 1950's. Heavily embroidered and measures 4 inch in diameter. The squadron flew the F4D-1/F-6A Skyray and had the distinction of being the only Navy squadron attached to NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command), and was located at NAS North Island, San Diego California.
Here is some info about the unit,VFAW-3,that I found online:
In April 1956, VC-3 was the first squadron operational with the F4D-1.This unit was later redesignated VFAW-3 and assigned to NORAD, as the only U.S. Navy fighter squadron in what was predominantly a U.S. Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force organization. VFAW-3 was permanently based at NAS North Island in San Diego, California.
The first unit to receive the Skyray, eventually reorganized as VFAW-3 (Fleet All Weather Squadron 3) and based at Naval Air Station North Island in San Diego, was the only Navy unit under the operational control of the North American Air Defense Command. It protected a southwestern wedge of U.S. airspace from unidentified intruders. Like Royal Air Force pilots during the Battle of Britain, the pilots of VFAW-3 slept in their flightsuits a short run from their aircraft.
“A claxon still makes the hairs stand up on my neck,” says David Dungan, a retired Navy captain. “We’d come out of there like a shot. They held all traffic, airliners, everything, when we launched. From a sound sleep to takeoff on Runway 18 within five minutes. Flying out over the black sea. By the time we were in the airplanes we were so adrenalined up” all thought of sleep was gone.
“We were really good. One reason, we had only second-tour pilots, no one fresh out of training command. We all had some experience. The Air Force demanded that we be able to operate at 200-foot ceilings, half-mile visibility. You needed some experience.”
“We did a lot of demo scrambles,” remembers retired commander James Berry, another VFAW-3 veteran. “When VIPs came to North Island we’d get hit with the scramble horn. We had five minutes to get airborne. We were usually in the air with two aircraft in about two and a half minutes.” Later he adds, “We were also sort of the apple of the Navy’s eye, winning Air Force prizes.”
Those prizes included the top interceptor titles in 1957 and 1958, flying against such faster Air Force fighters as the McDonnell F-101 and Convair’s delta-wing F-102 and F-106.
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, a VFAW-3 detachment took its Skyrays to Naval Air Station Key West to guard against intruders crossing the narrow straits.
VFAW-3 was decommissioned in April 1963 and the Navy bowed out of the continental air defense system for good.
A little info about the aircraft:
The Skyray was designed to meet a Navy requirement issued in 1947 for a fighter aircraft that could intercept and destroy an enemy aircraft at an altitude of 50,000 ft (15,240 m) within five minutes of the alarm being sounded.An interceptor by design, it served for a time with the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD) as well as equipping Marine and Reserve units.
The Navy also wanted an aircraft that followed the designs and research of the German aerodynamicist Alexander Lippisch, who moved to the U.S. after World War II.
The F4D Skyray was a wide delta wing design with long, sharply swept, rounded wings. The design was named for its resemblance to the Manta ray fish.
The Douglas F4D/F-6A Skyray was another of Ed Heinemann’s now-classic designs, the F4D counted a number of firsts in its history, but like the F3H, would be victimized by engines lagging in development. Despite this shortcoming and a short operational life, the F4D (or as it was popularly known, “Ford”) claimed a world’s absolute speed record, the first for a carrier-based aircraft and several time-to-climb records.It was legendary for its climbing ability in burner, as attested to in May 1958 when Maj Ed LeFaivre set 5 time to altitude records (3000 meters (9842.5 feet) in 44.39 seconds, 6000 meters (19,685 feet) in 1 min 6.13 seconds, 9000 meters (29,527.5 feet) in 1 minute 29.81 seconds, 12,000 meters (39,370 feet) in 1 minute 51.23 seconds, and 15,000 meters (49,212.5 feet) in 2 minutes 36.05 seconds).
I love the design of the aircraft,and the Japanese made patch too!Enjoy!
Edited by Patchcollector, 02 September 2011 - 12:02 PM.