This Crazy Mansion Features An A-4 Skyhawk Dangling Over Its Patio
The new hangar-inspired manor in Orange County includes a Cold War-era attack jet as a backdrop for its infinity pool.
A surplus of cash, an empty view lot, and a passion for aviation can lead to some crazy ideas. We have seen a full-on Airwolf replica installed as an art piece atop a mega-mansion and 747 wings being used as a roof on another, but suspending an A-4 Skyhawk attack jet over a massive atrium-like patio is a whole other level of extravagant household aviation art. This is exactly what the owner of 18592 Mesa Drive in Villa Park, California has pulled off.
After hearing rumors that an A-4—a legendary carrier-capable Cold War-era aircraft, some of which are still serving in front line and support roles today—was perched within a new mansion overlooking the Santa Ana Valley, I thought there must be plenty about it online. Supposedly it was fully visible in a relatively dense suburban area and it's not like exotic Orange Country real estate gets underserved by the press. It turns out, there is next to nothing at all on the project or how, and especially why, the A-4 ended up in such a bizarre setting. Was this some sort of aberration? Or maybe it was now enclosed so nobody noticed it in time when it was initially exposed to look into it?
With this in mind, we dispatched Matt Hartman, our go-to photographer in Southern California, to investigate. What Hartman found when arriving on the scene was a bizarre, but downright awesome, installation.
The home, which is nearing completion, looks 'hangar inspired,' and sits atop a bluff among an impressive gaggle of high-priced homes. The A-4 is emblazoned in what appear to be VA-212 markings and is 'flying' at a dramatic downward angle that is framed-in perfectly by the structure.
Yes, it is crazy, but it is also pretty damn awesome and dare I say it, beautiful? At least in an industrial design sense. That's not to say it probably hasn't raised some serious eyebrows amongst its neighbors, especially considering all the attention such a display will garner. It truly is a home unlike any we have seen before.
Our investigation into this fantastical abode soon led us to its general contractor, Shear Construction. Thankfully its owner answered our call and we were able to get some great details on this incredible mystery mansion.
It turns out, the A-4 was bought in Arizona and trucked to Orange County to adorn the 8,000 square-foot mansion. It was disassembled and reassembled in the house's living room, before it was craned into its current resting place. The extreme structural support requirements, angle at which the aircraft is hung, and many other aspects of the design had to be carefully calculated to avoid catastrophe (think high winds and wings!) and to make the A-4 look as incredible and dramatic as possible.
Once the house is finished, which will be this Christmas according to Shear Construction, the A-4 will loom over the mansion's infinity pool which looks out over an impressive view of the valley below. The owner, who, according to the general contractor, is not an aviator, wanted the A-4 as a major conversation piece, especially to wow folks during fundraisers he likes to throw. We have reached out to the owner, but are still waiting to hear back for more details about his incredible creation.
As for the Skyhawk itself, it shows the serial number 154188. This belonged to an A-4F with a rich history serving with the U.S. Navy and USMC, before eventually living out the rest of its active life with the Israeli Air Force, according to warbirdsresourcegroup.org:
A-4F Skyhawk/Bu. 154188*1967-68: VA-23 as NM-301.
*10/22/1973: Struck off charge at NARF Norfolk, VA.
*10/1973: Transferred to the Israeli AF as 605.
*Put into storage at Ovda AB.
The only problem is that the aircraft the serial number is painted on appears to be an earlier model, such as an A-4E, so we can't confidently provide a history for it at this time. Painting a display aircraft in markings it never wore operationally is hardly a rare occurrence.
So that's everything we know about the 'Skyhawk House' at this time. It has to stand as one of the greatest aviation aficionado dwellings of all time. It really is amazing they pulled off such a seemingly strange idea so well. We can't wait to see what it looks like when it is finished.
Author's note: Additional images were removed due to source request.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com