Douglas A 1 Skyraider

History: The prototype of the Skyraider was first flown on 18 March 1945. Designed as a robust, multirole attack aircraft for the US Navy, the carrier-based Skyraider was able to carry a wide variety of weapons on its numerous wing hardpoints. The Skyraider first saw combat in the Korean War, where its long loiter time and heavy load-hauling capability gave it a distinct utility advantage over the jet aircraft of the time.

Various versions were developed over the years; the most numerous types being: AD-1 (Initial production version with 2500hp R-3350 engine); AD-2 (Improved AD-1 with wheel well covers and increased fuel load, etc.); AD-3 (Redesigned canopy, improved propeller, etc.); AD-4 (2700hp R-3350 engine, further canopy improvements, etc.); AD-4W (3-seat Early Warning version); AD-5 (4-seat multirole version. Many variants of the AD-5 were capable of carrying up to 12 passengers in the rear fuselage); AD-6 (Single-seat attack version).

During the 1960s, the AD-x designations were changed to A-1D through A-1J. The A-1 series was operated with enormous success during the Vietnam War, where it was used in the Ground Attack, Forward Air Control, and Search and Rescue roles. The AD-6 and AD-7 were used by the French Armée de l'Air in Algeria.

Nicknames: Able Dog; Sandy; Spad; Hobo; Firefly; Zorro; The Big Gun; Old Faithful; Old Miscellaneous; Fat Face (AD-5 version); Guppy (AD-5W version); Q-Bird (AD-1Q/AD-5Q versions); Flying Dumptruck (A-1E); Crazy Water Buffalo (South Vietnamese nickname).

Specifications (AD-7 / A-1J):

Engine: 2800hp Wright R-3350-26B radial piston engine
Weight: Empty 10,550 lbs., Max Takeoff 25,000 lbs.
Wing Span: 50ft. 9in.
Length: 38ft. 10in.
Height: 15ft. 8.25in.

Maximum Speed at 18,000ft: 320mph
Cruising Speed at 6,000ft: 190mph
Ceiling: 25,500ft
Range: 900 miles

Four 20mm cannon
8,000lbs of hardpoint-mounted freefall and/or forward-firing weapons

Number Built: 3,180

Number Still Airworthy: Approx. 19