17 July 2008

A plane's history

As the US Navy made the transition from using seat of the pants flying and dropping bombs based on best guess of the pilots. When the A-1 Skyraider was being phased out being replaced by the A-6 Intruder it was realized that the Navy needed a dedicated trainer which was slow enough and had enough space to basically re-create the cockpit so that both pilots and Bombardiers/Navigators could train together. Looking around both the Navy and Grumman realized that the executive transport which Grumman was selling only a few years before looked pretty good. It was already being used by the military as a basic VIP transport with the US Air Force and US Coast Guard. This aircraft was the Grumman Gulfstream I or C-4 Academy (as it was known in the military). So Grumman took a number of these aircraft and grafted on the nose of an A-6 Intruder. The cockpit was changed around to reflect the cockpit set up in the A-6 Intruder. The rest of the cabin had a jump seat for an instructor then a few other seats for aircrew followed up with a couple of setups only for the B/N's. One of the other things that was done was that nearly all the same electronics that the A-6 had installed into it. So the same radar, radios, ECM, etc. The only thing this thing couldn't do was actually drop bombs. After being accepted in Navy usage it was referred to as the TC-4C Academy or more commonly along the flight lines at Whidbey and Oceana as the "Tic-4". The TC-4C saw the most usage of the aircraft were used as an introduction to instrumentation of the A-6 and then it was used as trainer for instrumentation flight training. It was also used to get teams of pilots and B/N's trained to learn how to operate as a team or as it is known now it is called crew resource management. With the introduction of dual crew attack jets, the team concept was stressed very much.

All of these aircraft were assigned to the three RAGs, VA-128 Golden Intruders(West coast), VA-42 Green Pawns(East Coast), and VMAT(AW)-202 Double Eagles. As the A-6 was phased out of active Navy inventory the TC-4C was removed and most of them are sitting out in in the Bone yard in Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona.

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