DOUGLAS F-6A SKYRAY
The Skyray was a carrier-based interceptor and strike fighter aircraft that was flown operationally by both the United States Navy and the Marine Corps. The first flight of the prototype powered by an Allison J35-A-17 turbojet engine was on 21 January 1951. Patuxent River test teams, working with Douglas Aircraft personnel, started evaluating their two prototype aircraft in mid-1952, with carrier suitability trials onboard USS CORAL SEA (CVA-43) in October 1953, and follow-on testing in 1954. Testing of the Skyray continued here at Patuxent River throughout its entire Fleet operational life. The First aircraft for the fleet was delivered in April 1956. The last Skyray built was completed in December 1958. A total of 420 aircraft were delivered.
Our display aircraft, NF6-A BuNo 134764, was accepted by the Navy on 26 October 1955. It first arrived at Patuxent River on 16 July 1957 and was assigned to the Flight Test Division. It joined the operational fleet on 30 July 1958 and served in VF(AW)3, MARS-37, and VMF(AW)-314. Following 3 years at NAF Litchfield Park, it returned again to Patuxent River on 13 November 1961. This time it was assigned to the United States Naval Test Pilot School, where it served as a flying qualities demonstrator until its retirement. The display aircraft paint scheme reflects that of the last F-6A's to fly at the school. Its last flight was in August 1966, and it was on display at our Patuxent River Naval Air Museum when we officially opened our gates to the public on 8 July 1978.