|First flown in 1954 the Douglas A-4 filled nearly every mission requirement that a single engine attach aircraft could. Originally designed by legendary designer Ed Heinemann under his belief that modern aircraft need not be bigger, heavier, and more expensive. From this thinking emerged the A-4 Skyhawk , or effectively known as Heinemann's Hot Rod, Tinker Toy or Scooter. The versatile aircraft flew for both the Navy and Marines in a wide variety of roles including attack, trainer, aggressor, target tow and showbird with the Blue Angels.
Hank Caruso's first experience with the nimble A-4 was a VIP flight in Blue Angels #7 with Lcdr. Curt Watson at the controls of the aircraft. This was Caruso's first experience with anything more aerobatic that a sixty-degree turn. During their flight Watson took them through a series of aerobatic maneuvers including loops, rolls, Immelmanns, Cuban eights and a series of maneuvers called the Squirrel cage.