Naval Air Facility China Lake, CA.
Point of Contact = Squadron Duty Officer (SDO). See FAQ/Research/Contact link under [SA] in the menu.
This Skyhawk Association Naval Air Facility China Lake website page is posthumously dedicated to:
Doug Mayfield was a native of Sacramento, California where he was graduated from high school in 1950. After high school Doug enlisted in the United States Navy. A year later Seaman Apprentice Doug Mayfield received a fleet appointment to the United States Naval Academy and was graduated with the 1956 Naval Academy class.
Patch from E. Mares
1 Jul 1967 - 22 Jan 1992
Patch from G. Verver
22 Jan 1992
Patch from G. Verver
The NAF China Lake Drone Division designed and used this patch in the 50's and 60's. Patch from Tom Herold & designed by Pete Savell.
The Naval Weapons Test Squadron (Dust Devils) sitedat China Lake, was established 8 May 1995.
Patch from G. Verver
22 Jan 1992
Patch from G. Verver
The administrative command of NALF San Clemente was assigned to NOTS, China Lake 01 July 1961.
Patch from G. Verver
Naval Air Facility (NAF) China Lake was a Subcommand of Naval Ordnance Test Station (NOTS) China Lake. NAF usually had one or more of each aircraft type in the United States Navy inventory excluding some Helo's and recon aircraft. NAF Pilots, Plane Captains, maintenance personnel etc. supported the various aircraft assigned to the Civilian Project Teams. Pilots were assigned to the various projects and flew the planes that supported those projects. Plane Captains usually had a half dozen or so different pilots flying their plane never knowing who would fly until the flight schedule came out in the morning. NAF China Lake line personnel also supported NALF San Clemente. The VX-5 Vampires squadron was an independent command co-located with the Naval Air Facility.
For A-4 Skyhawk aircraft assigned to this unit see lower in this page:
China lake rocket sled "SNORT" configured for A-4A tests.
07SEP59 SNORT: China Lake escapesys test vehicle. Gary Verver.
24 NOV 1959: A4D-1 137818 at China Lake. Official U.S. Navy photo, G Verver.
1959-1960: BuNo 137814 XF-37814 on display for an open house, probably Pt. Mugu. P.Stevens.
02MAY60: BuNo 137818 on the NAF China Lake ramp with Fireye (Napalm) ordnance on each wing station. Navy photo.
11MAY60: BuNo 137818 firing 5" ZUNI folding fin aircraft rockets (FFAR). Navy Photo.
27JUN60: a href="/sites/default/files/images-buno-137812-139970/137818h.jpg">BuNo 137818 on the ramp with a Mk-81 bomb on the stbd. MBER. Navy Photo.
10JUL61: /sites/default/files/images-buno-137812-139970/137818c.jpg">YA4D-1 BuNo 137818 on the ramp with a Gladeye dispenser on the centerline station. Navy photo.
AUG 1961: China Lake A4D-2 BuNo 142892, with Padeye dispenser. Navy photo from Ray Powell.
10AUG61: BuNo 137814 on the ramp with two Mk-82 Snakeye retarded fin bombs on the centerline MBER. The building in the background is the NAF main line shack and the plane in the background is F3D Skyknight modex 595. Navy photo.
03NOV61: BuNo 137814 on the ramp AREA R with Rockeye CBU's on MBER's on each external hard point. AREA R with Rockeye CBU's on a MBER an the port side. AREA R with Rockeye CBU's on MBER's on all 3 stations. Navy photos.
01MAR62: China Lake Skyhawk BuNo 137818 on the ramp with a GLADEYE dispenser on the centerline. Pic2. Navy Photos.
Circa 1962: Naval Missile Center A4D-2N BuNo 145073, NMC-073, firing a Bullpup missile at China Lake. Navy photo from Ray Powell.
NAF China Lake 14 MAR 1962: TA4D-1 BuNo 139937 after a ZUNI test went awry for Tony Tambini. Flight was to test a fix to address the failure of ripple & single fire at high altitude (35,000 feet). Supposed to be a single fire from each tube, but the Ordie set the pods to ripple fire. At altitude Tony fired a single from one of the pods accompanied by a flash & swoosh as the first ZUNI fired followed by a second flash swoosh and a loud thump as the second went off. The thump was the noise it made as it impacted the bottom of the fuselage under the cockpit. The fix didn't work and the first Zuni ripped the aft end of the ZUNI tube from the pylon and left it pointing in the direction of the cockpit and the second one almost got him. Fortunately the second one ripped the tube further from the pylon severing the umbilical cord between the pylon and the ZUNIs which stopped #3 and #4 from firing. After this 937 was bucking and vibrating heavily which Tony reported to ground control, who told him the aircraft looked fine and as long as he was up there to go ahead with the firing from the tube on the other wing. Well as someone once said, dÃ©jÃ vu all over again. After try #2 - in Tony's own words; "vibrating and shaking violently, the airplane was taking all that I had to maintain control. I radioed my situation to the ground controller and told him that I would try to make it back to the Naval Air Facility. The airplane really didn't want to fly. I felt like I was attached to a giant, violent bronco." Once on the ground A large, black "X" could be seen, etched in the fuselage right under where Tony had been sitting as the two rockets crossed under. Photos by Tony Tambini via Gary Verver.
14MAY62: BuNo 137818 on the ramp with a WETEYE chemical bomb on the centerline MBER. Navy Photo
12JUN62: China Lake Skyhawk BuNo 137818 close-up of the GLADEYE chaff, leaflets or antipersonnel ordnance dispenser on the centerline station. China Lake Skyhawk BuNo 137818 close-up of the GLADEYE chaff, leaflets or antipersonnel ordnance dispenser on the centerline station. Unknown photographer from R. Summers collection.
11FEB63: BuNo 137818 on the ramp with a GLADEYE dispenser on the centerline. Navy photo.
01MAY63: NAF DF-1D Fury drone controllers BuNo's 136076, 135788, 136064 135894; YA-4A Skyhawk BuNo 137822, A-4B Skyhawk BuNo 142085, YA-4A Skyhawk BuNo 137814 NA-4C Skyhawk BuNo 145063. Navy Photo.
01jun63: YA-4A NAF China Lake Skyhawk BuNo 137813, Modex-813. She is working Project DIRTY IR shield, which was made of asbestos and apparently intended to mask the infrared signature of the jet exhaust. Note: The Israel Air Force would later use an extended tail pipe to good affect during combat. Second shot of Project DIRTY IR. Another shot of Project DIRTY IR with a/c monitoring the operation. Navy Photos from Gary Verver.
07JUN63: YA-4A NAF China Lake Skyhawk BuNo 137813, Modex-813, on the ramp with a Gladeye dispenser on the centerline station. Close-up of a Gladeye dispenser on the centerline station of China Lake.Skyhawk BuNo 137813. Navy photos, from Gary Verver.
Circa 1963: China Lake NA-4C BuNo 145063, HIPEG gun pods. "I was the plane captain for both HIPEG aircraft (137818 and 145063) in 1963 and never walked in front of them after I was told the HIPEGs occasionally fired with no-one in the cockpit. Think they were pulling my leg, but things like that did happen from time to time. Pretty impressive when they all cut loose as each pod fired 66 rounds of 20mm per second." Gary Verver. Official U.S. Navy from Gary Verver Collection.
07 JUN 1963: A-4E BuNo 149969 Shrike GM28 and pilot LT Tony Tambini, JFK demo. Photo from Tony Tambini, via Gary Verver.
JUL 1963: Line drawing of China Lake A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 149969 as it looked in July 1963 operating from Key West for Project Rainhat. Rich Dann.
1963: A-4C BuNo 147680, Shrike missile & LCDR Jack Sickel circa August 1963. Photo is from John Sickel, Jr.
A view of an AGM-45A Shrike surface attack anti-radar missile mounted on the wing pylon of China Lake A-4C BuNo 147680. Photographer unknown, from Gary Verver.
06SEP63 YA-4A BuNo 137813: Plane captain Roger Summers and an unknown Scooter jock at China Lake with China Lake Modex 813. 500 pound Snakeye bomb on the centerline and cameras on the port wing station. R. Summers Collection.
24JAN64: BuNo 137818 on the ramp with three Mk-4 under wing 20mm gun pods. Navy Photo.
28 FEB 1964: NAF China Lake A-4B BuNo 142787, Youth reporter David Borelli inspects A-4B Skyhawk BuNo 142787 flown by Lt Jim Kissler and then fired a flare gun. Rocketeer photo.
28 FEB 1964: NAF China Lake A-4E BuNo 149969, as Lt Del Newhouse escorts Eagle Scouts Charles W. Sadler, 16, (center) and Fred Hulsey, 16, as they look over the Skyhawk. Rocketeer photo.
30JUN64: BuNo 137818 on the ramp with FIREYE (napalm) ordnance on a MBER on station 3. Navy photo.
MAY 1965: NAF China Lake A-4B BuNo 142892 , aircraft and people involved in the Snakeye Weapon System. Supporting Program Manager Roy Compton (right front) and Tony Simshauser, Project Manager (front left). Rocketeer.
19 NOV 1964:NAF China Lake A-4C BuNo 148524 as it looked (to the best of my recollection) when it arrived at China Lake on 19 November 1964 from Litchfield Park. Copyright artwork by Rich Dann.
15 OCT 1965: China Lake A-4B BuNo 142892, with Snipe missile. Navy photo from Ray Powell.
15OCT65: BuNo 137814 being hoisted over the fence to be displayed behind the Weapons Demonstration Hut. BuNo 137814 being hoisted Pic2. Photos from R. Summers collection. BuNo 137814 on it's poles. Navy Photo.
04 April 1971 A4D-1 (A-4A) Skyhawk BuNo 139927 NJ-007 at China Lake:
Unknown date: NWC China Lake Skyhawk Line. L-R: NA-4C BuNo 145063, A-4E BuNo 152072, unknowns and on the end in hi-vis marking A-4C BuNo 148437.
NWC China Lake Skyhawk and Crusader Lines. R-L: NA-4C BuNo 145063, A-4E BuNo 152072, unknowns and on the end in hi-vis marking A-4C BuNo 148437. Crusaders L-R are: DF-8F BuNo 143813, DF-8F BuNo 143699 and F-8D BuNo 147057. Photos by Art Jensen.
Circa 1968: China Lake hangar #3 circa 1968 with TA-4F BuNo 152848 at right. The Hurricane Hunter is VW-4 tail code MH-4. Unknown A-4 in the foreground. Gary Verver Collection.
1970: China Lake hangar #3 1970 with A-4F BuNo 154172 at right. The Hurricane Hunter is unknown. Photo by Art Jensen.China Lake hangar #3 1970 with A-4F BuNo 154172 at right. The Hurricane Hunter is unknown. Photo by Art Jensen
03-19MAR72 Aircraft Survivability A-4A BuNo 139927.
08 JUNE 1972 Zoomed out image from the Navy of BuNo 137814 at the NAF China Lake traffic circle. Date Unknown: BuNo 137814 on display in the NAWC traffic circle. Photo by John Tyner. Another image of her at traffic cirle by R. Ziesler. More: 20JUN83 Navy photo; 06NOV84 Navy photo; 18DEC94 Navy photo; 1995 W. Muza photo; 23DEC97 Navy photo; 137814z.jpg">07AUG02 photo from R. Ziesler.
19 MAY 1974: Left rear view of NAF China Lake TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 153677 in a training squadron paint scheme at Offutt AFB. Photo by A. R. Krieger.
19 MAY 1974: Left side view of NAF China Lake TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 153677 in a training squadron paint scheme at Offutt AFB. Photo by A. R. Krieger.
JUN1979: BuNo 156896 taxi. "NWC China Lake acquired the National Parachute Test Range function in 1979 and I am not sure if this was taken before or after the acquisition." Gary Verver. From Verver Collection.
19 MAY 1977: NWC TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 152848, Hot Line, Armitage Field, China Lake. Photo from Naval Aviation Archives (NAVA) Collection, courtesy A. Romano www.navarchives.com.
16 NOV 1975: NAF China Lake A-4E Skyhawk BuNo 149969, open House, Armitage Field, China Lake. Photo by R. R. Leader, Paul Minert Collection, courtesy A. Romano www.navarchives.com
29 JUN 1974: NAF A-4F Skyhawk BuNo 154172, location unknown. Photo from Naval Aviation Archives (NAVA) Collection, courtesy A. Romano www.navarchives.com
21 MAY 1966: A-4 Skyhawk cockpit configuration used for ejection seat tests, SNORT demo, Armed Forces Day, China Lake. Rocketeer photo by PHAN Jerry Willey.
21 MAY 1966: NAF A-4B Skyhawk BuNo 142777 with 5.0 " ZUNI FFAR pods and a centerline MER with Snakeyes, Armed Forces Day, Armitage Field, hangar 3, China Lake. Rocketeer photo by PHAN Jerry Willey.
04APR74: Unknown A-4 at China Lake.
A-4B, BuNo 142878, at China Lake.
18JUN74: BuNo 152848 at China Lake with a HARM.
12 FEB 1982: Blue Angels TA-4J Skyhawk BuNo 158722, on the ramp at NAF China Lake. Rocketeer photo.
23 JAN 1970: C. E. (Chick) Walden, one of the principal's involved in the Centers aircraft/survivability program, explains impact tests that are conducted at the range to members of the Survivability Working Group as part of a conference that was held at the Center last week, China Lake. Rocketeer photo.
MAR 1979: BuNo 152101, an A-4E converted off the production line to the "F" configuration, served as the protype for the "Foxtrot" series of Skyhawks.
05 NOV 1983: China Lake TA-4F BuNo 152848. Bob Niedermeier.
APR84: BuNo 160249 of NWC China Lake. Photo from Jan Jacobs and Tailhook.
DEC95: NAWS China Lake BuNo 137818 at rest in the museum's aircraft compound. AIRFOTO.
DEC 1995 NWC China Lake: TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo 152102 (042) in flight over the Sierras with AV-8B Harrier BuNo 163854 (85), A-6E Intruder 155698 (608) and F/A-18C Hornet BuNo 163429 (108). Pic1, Pic2, Pic3, Pic4
FEB 1996: 142892 at the China Lake WSL firefighting area. AIRFOTO © Joe Cupido.
MAY 1998: NAWS 152012 and 154332 (040) at the aircraft compound on the south side of the China Lake airfield AIRFOTO © Joe Cupido.
03MAR03: BuNo 137818 at rest on the Superior Valley Range. Gleen Gerdes photo.
08 AUG 2007: BuNo 142948 meets a sad ending as a target at China Lake. Gary Verver Collection
NWC: NWC China Lake TA-4F Skyhawk BuNo 154332 with HARM seeker nose in-flight.
Gary Verver, longtime Association Member and by-far the biggest Skyhawk photo contributor to this site. He also has championed the effort to identify every Skyhawk loss along with any associated crew loss. He has his own web site with many images of his time in the Navy at NAF China Lake.