Douglas A-1 Skyraider Video - The "BIG IRON" Beast of Warbirds
Picture - U.S. Navy A-1H Skyraider from Attack Squadron VA-152 over Vietnam in 1966.
Role - Attack aircraft
Manufacturer - Douglas Aircraft Company
Designed by - Ed Heinemann
First flight - 18 March 1945
Introduced - 1950s
Retired - 1970s
Primary users - United States Navy
United States Air Force
Produced - 1945–1957
Number built - 3,180
Variants - A2D Skyshark
The Douglas A-1 (formerly AD) Skyraider was an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the 1950s and early 1970s. It was a propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed "Spad", after a World War I fighter. However, the Skyraider had a remarkably long and successful career and inspired a straight-winged, slow-flying, jet-powered successor, the A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog).
It was operated by the United States Navy (USN), the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the United States Air Force (USAF), and als-saw service with the British Royal Navy, the French Air Force, and the Air Force of the Republic of Vietnam (VNAF), among others.
Design and development
Picture - Douglas XBT2D-1 Skyraider prototype.
The piston-engined A-1 was designed during World War II t-meet requirements for a carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torped-bomber, and was a follow-on t-earlier dive bombers and torped-bombers used by the Navy such as the Helldiver and Avenger. Designed by Ed Heinemann of the Douglas Aircraft Company, prototypes were ordered on 6 July 1944 as the XBT2D-1. The XBT2D-1 made its first flight on 18 March 1945 and in April 1945, the USN began evaluation of the aircraft at the Naval Air Test Center (NATC). In December 1946, after a designation change t-AD-1, delivery of the first production aircraft t-a fleet squadron was made t-VA-19A.
The AD-1 was built at Douglas' El Segundo plant in Southern California. In his memoir The Lonely Sky, test pilot Bill Bridgeman describes the routine yet sometimes hazardous work of certifying AD-1s fresh off the assembly line (quoting a production rate of tw-aircraft per day) for delivery t-the U.S. Navy in 1949 and 1950.
The low-wing monoplane design started with a Wright R-3350 radial engine, later upgraded several times. Its distinctive feature was large straight wings with seven hard points apiece. These gave the aircraft excellent low-speed maneuverability, and enabled it t-carry a tremendous amount of ordnance over a considerable combat radius and loiter time for its size, comparable t-much heavier subsonic or supersonic jets. The aircraft was optimized for the ground-attack mission and was armored against ground fire in key locations. This was unlike faster fighters adapted t-carry bombs such as the F4U Corsair or P-51 Mustang, which would be retired by U.S. forces long before the 1960s.
Navy A-1s were initially painted dark blue, but during the 1950s following the Korean War, the color scheme was changed t-gray and white. Initially using the gray and white Navy pattern, by 1967 the USAF began t-paint its Skyraiders in a camouflaged pattern using tw-shades of green, and one of tan.
Used by the USN over Korea and Vietnam, the A-1 was a primary close air support aircraft for the USAF and VNAF during the Vietnam War. The A-1 was famous for being able t-take hits and keep flying. Battle damage images from the Korean and Vietnam wars speak for themselves. There was added armor plating around the cockpit area for added pilot protection. It was replaced in the early 1970s by the A-4 Skyhawk as the Navy's primary light attack plane.
Picture - Workhorse of the U.S. Navy in Korea: the Able Dog.
Though the Skyraider was produced to-late t-take part in World War II, it became the backbone of
United States Navy aircraft carrier and United States Marine Corps (USMC) strike aircraft sorties in the Korean War, with the first ADs going int-action
from the USS Valley Forge with VA-55 on 3 July 1950. Its weapons load and 10-hour flying time far surpassed the jets that were available at the time.
On 2 May 1951, Skyraiders made the only aerial torped-attack of the war—successfully hitting the Communist-controlled Hwacheon Dam. On 16 June 1953, a USMC AD-4 from VMC-1 piloted by Major George H. Linnemeier
and CW-Vernon S. Kramer shot down a Soviet-built Polikarpov Po-2 biplane, the only documented Skyraider air victory of the war. AD-3N and -4N aircraft
carrying bombs and flares flew night-attack sorties, and radar-equipped ADs carried out radar-jamming missions from carriers and land bases. During
the Korean War (1950–1953) A-1 Skyraiders were flown only by the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps, and were normally painted in dark navy blue.
A total of 101 Navy and Marine AD Skyraiders were lost in combat during the Korean War, and 27 were lost t-operational causes, for a total loss of 128
Skyraiders in the Korean War.
On 26 July 1954, tw-Douglas Skyraiders from the aircraft carriers USS Philippine Sea and Hornet successfully shot down tw-PLAAF La-7s off the coast
of Hainan Island while searching for survivors after the shooting down of a Cathay Pacific Skymaster airliner 3 days previously, als-by La-7s.
The Skyraider in Vietnam pioneered the concept of tough, survivable Counterinsurgency (COIN) aircraft with long loiter times and large ordnance loads. The Douglas Skyraider was arguably the best tactical and close air support/strike (CAS) aircraft the U.S. had in Vietnam. Its heavy weapons load and long loiter time made it a favorite of those on the ground in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.
In the beginning, the A-1E had dual controls, because pilots were deemed advisors and Vietnamese pilots ostensibly were performing the combat duties. When USAF took an active role, the Skyraider was flown as a single-seater.
The USAF lost 201 Skyraiders t-all causes in Southeast Asia, while the Navy lost 65 t-all causes. Of the 266 lost A-1s, five were shot down by surface-to-air missiles (SAMs). Three Skyraiders were lost in air t-air combat, tw-of them shot down by North Vietnamese MiG-17s. The first was lost on 29 April 1966, and the second almost a year later on 19 April 1967. Both were from the 602d Air Command-Squadron. The third Skyraider lost t-a jet aircraft during the war was from US Navy Squadron VA-35, and was downed by a Chinese Mig-19 on 14 February 1968. The Skyraider pilot, Lieutenant (j.g.) Joseph P. Dunn, USN, had flown to-close t-the Communist Chinese held island of Hainan, and had been intercepted. Lieutenant Dunn's A-1 Skyraider was the last U.S. Navy A-1 lost in the war, and he did not survive.
USN and USMC
Picture - A VA-176 A-1J loaded with ordnance for a mission in Vietnam, 1966.
During the 1950s, the Skyraider was the premier carrier based fighter bomber, with 29 USN and 13 USMC squadrons flying the aircraft. The US Marine Corps began a gradual phase-out of its Skyraiders in 1956 and retired the last examples by the end of 1960. The early 1960s als-saw the USN phasing out its Skyraiders, replacing them with A-4 Skyhawks and A-6 Intruders. The Navy began t-transfer some of these aircraft t-the USAF for special operations beginning in 1962. But the war in Vietnam intervened t-push the Skyraider back int-front-line service with the Navy, and beginning in August, 1964, Navy Skyraiders were used t-bomb North Vietnam and later t-provide close air support in the South. During the war, U.S. Navy Skyraiders shot down tw-North Vietnamese Air Force MiG-17 jet fighters: On 20 June 1965, LT Clinton B. Johnson and LTJG Charles W. Hartman III from VFA-25 shared a MiG-17 air t-air victory. On 9 October 1966 LTJG William T. Patton of Attack Squadron 176 (VA-176), engaged a MiG-17 with his four 20mm cannons, striking the aircraft in the tail end. Patton followed the MiG through a cloud and upon exiting the cloud observed the MiG pilot descending in his parachute. The Navy continued t-fly Skyraiders until the end of 1968, gradually transferring most of them t-the USAF and VNAF. Following the U.S. withdrawal of its military forces from South Vietnam in 1972, all remaining A-1s, including those based in the U.S., were transferred t-the South Vietnamese Air Force..
In 1965, t-highlight the dropping of the six millionth pound of ordnance; Navy Commander Clarence J. Stoddard, flying an A-1H, dropped a special, one-time only, object in addition t-his other munitions – a toilet.
Picture - A 1st SOS A-1E carrying a BLU-72/B, 1968.
In 1963, USAF modified 150 Skyraiders int-A-1Es for use by the 1st Air Command-Wing. USAF units began flying the Skyraider in Vietnam in 1964 and by the end of 1972, the last of the A-1s of the 1st Special Operations Squadron were turned over t-the VNAF. In those eight years of operations, the Air Force used the Skyraider for a variety of missions. There were A-1 squadrons which flew exclusively at night t-interdict truck traffic along the H-Chi Minh trail. Other squadrons were supporting General Vang Pa-and his loyalists in Laos. Army special operations were als-supported by A-1s on priority missions.
The common bond between all A-1 squadrons was SAR , They were als-used t-perform one of the Skyraider's most famous roles: the "Sandy" helicopter escort on combat rescues. USAF Major Bernard F. Fisher piloted an A-1E on the 10 March 1966 mission for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing Major "Jump" Myers at A Shau Special Forces Camp. USAF Colonel William A. Jones, III piloted an A-1H on the September 1, 1968 mission for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In that mission, despite damage t-his aircraft and suffering serious burns, he returned t-his base and reported the position of a downed US airman.
The Skyraider had all the necessary assets; speed, ordnance carrying capability, communications, and the ability t-withstand punishment. Since the A-1 was frequently operated near its maximum gross weight, its speed capability was not fast. There was a standing joke among Spad drivers. There was only one speed you had t-remember- 120 knots. You took off at 120 knots, cruised at 120 knots, and landed at 120 knots. Weapons deliveries were planned at higher airspeeds, maybe as high as 250 knots, but after third or fourth pass, 120 knots worked for weapons delivery too.
The Sandy SAR load was perfect. It had ordnance such as CBU-25, HE 2.75 " rockets, and 20 mm t-kill trucks and other light skinned vehicles. It had the highly accurate, high rate of fire SUU-11 mini-gun pod with 7.62 mm ammo. And it had specialized SAR ordnance such as the M-47 smoke bomb, CBU-22, and WP rockets.
The A-1 had three different radi-capabilities. The UHF radi-was used t-communicate with the survivor and strike aircraft that had only UHF. The UHF als-had an ADF (automatic direction finder) capability that was used t-help pinpoint the location of the survivor on the ground. Additionally, the UHF Guard receiver had t-be left on t-avoid missing the inevitable bandit calls from the various GCI agencies covering the area. The VHF-AM radi-was used t-coordinate with command and control agencies, primarily King, the HC-130 that als-served as an airborne tanker for the HH-53 Super Jolly Green rescue helicopters. Finally, the VHF-FM radi-was used by the Sandys for inter-flight communications. It was quite normal for all three radios t-be in use at the same time. It was normally the wingman's job t-handle the coordination with King while Sandy Lead worked with the survivor.
With the total remaining A-1 assets in 1971-1972 residing in one operational USAF squadron, the SAR effort got first priority for several reasons. First and foremost, the absence of a viable and capable SAR force would have had a negative impact on the rest of the air operations in SEA. The prospect of getting shot down with n-possibility of rescue was not a happy one. Certainly, the SAR force was not as robust with 20 A-1s as it was in the earlier days of the war when there were over 100 Skyraiders spread out over a half dozen squadrons. But the capability was there. One need look n-further than the pickup of Capt Roger Locher near Yen Bai Airfield northwest of Hanoi t-see this was true. A story on this mission was written in the August 1997 issue of Flight Magazine. The SAR for Bowleg 02 was another example of being able t-g-ont-Hanoi's doorstep t-retrieve downed aircrews. Another factor was the impact these SARs had on the enemy. Certainly, we did not get every downed airmen back home safely, but we got our fair share.
Picture - A 602nd SOS A-1H in June 1970.
Another high priority mission during this final chapter in the Skyraider's SEA war experience was the support given t-Gen Vang Pa-in Laos. He had his headquarters at Long Tien with a landing strip (LS 20A) nearby. High t-the north and east of LS20A was a large ridge of mountains called Skyline Ridge. These "Barrel Roll" missions were never dull, always unpredictable, and usually dangerous. The bulk of these missions were flown t-northern Laos which was comprised of mountainous areas with limestone karst pinnacles and terrain elevations of at least 4,000 ft. There was seasonal drama here when the communist forces would wait for the rainy season t-invade when US air power would be hampered by low ceilings and poor visibility. The A-1 was well suited t-work this area including the infamous PDJ (Plaine des Jarres). This was a relatively level plateau in northern Laos that was about 15 nautical miles across from south t-north, and 20 nautical miles wide from east t-west.
Still another high priority mission for the 1st SOS in the final year was support of "special operations" in Laos. These were protecting the insertion and extraction of special teams in the border area. These missions could either be boring as hell or s-busy that you wished you had another set of hands.
South Vietnamese Air Force
Picture - A-1 Skyraider of the VNAF 520th Fighter Squadron being loaded with napalm at Danang AB in 1967.
The A-1 Skyraider was the close air support workhorse of the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF) for much of the Vietnam War. The US Navy began t-transfer some of its Skyraiders t-the VNAF in September 1960, replacing the VNAF’s older Grumman F8F Bearcats. By 1962 the VNAF had 22 of the aircraft in its inventory, and by 1968, an additional 131 aircraft had been received. Initially Navy aviators and crews were responsible for training their Vietnamese counterparts on the aircraft, but over time, responsibility was gradually transferred t-the USAF.
The initial trainees were selected from among VNAF Bearcat pilots wh-had accumulated 800 t-1200 hours flying time. They were trained at Corpus Christi, Texas., and then sent t-LeMoore, California for further training. Navy pilots and crews in Vietnam checked out the Skyraiders that were being transferred t-the VNAF, and conducted courses for VNAF ground crews.
Over the course of the war, the VNAF acquired a total of 308 Skyraiders, and was operating six A-1 squadrons by the end of 1965. These were reduced during the period of Vietnamization from 1968 t-1972, as the U.S. began t-supply the South Vietnamese with more modern close air support aircraft, such as the A-37 and F-5, and at the beginning of 1968, only three of its squadrons were flying A-1s.
Picture - 778 NAS Skyraider AEW.1s
As the U.S. ended its direct involvement in the war, it transferred the remainder of its Skyraiders t-the South Vietnamese, and by 1973, all remaining Skyraiders in U.S. inventories had been turned over t-the VNAF. Unlike their American counterparts, whose combat tours were generally limited t-12 months, individual Vietnamese Skyraider pilots ran up many thousands of combat hours in the A-1, and many senior VNAF pilots were extremely skilled in the operation of the aircraft.
The French Air Force bought 20 ex-USN AD-4s as well as 88 ex-USN AD-4Ns and 5 ex-USN AD-4NAs with the former three-seaters modified as single-seat aircraft with removal of the radar equipment and the tw-operator stations from the rear fuselage. The AD-4N/NAs were initially acquired in 1956 t-replace aging P-47 Thunderbolts in Algeria. The Skyraiders were first ordered in 1956 and the first was handed over t-the French Air Force on 6 February 1958 after being overhauled and fitted with some French equipment by Sud-Aviation. The aircraft were used until the end of the Algerian war. The aircraft were used by the 20e Escadre de Chasse (EC 1/20 "Aures Nementcha," EC 2/20 "Ouarsenis" and EC 3/20 "Oranie") and EC 21 in the close air support role armed with rockets, bombs and napalm.
The Skyraiders had only a short career in Algeria. But they nonetheless proved t-be the most successful of all the ad hoc COIN aircraft deployed by the French. The Skyraider remained in limited French service until the 1970s. They were heavily involved in the civil war in Chad, at first with the Armée de l'Air, and later with a nominally independent local air force staffed by French mercenaries. The aircraft als-operated under the French flag in Djibouti and on the island of Madagascar. When France at last relinquished the Skyraiders it passed the survivors on t-client states, including Gabon, Chad, Cambodia and the Central African Republic.(several aircraft from Gabon and Chad have been recovered recently by French warbird enthusiasts and entered on the French civil register).
The French frequently used the aft station t-carry maintenance personnel, spare parts and supplies t-forward bases. In Chad they even used the aft station
for a "bombardier" and his "special stores" – empty beer bottles – as these were considered as non-lethal weapons, thus
not breaking the government-imposed rules of engagement, during operations against Libyan-supported rebels in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In addition t-serving during Korea and Vietnam as an attack aircraft, the Skyraider was modified int-a carrier-based airborne early warning aircraft, replacing the Grumman TBM-3W Avenger. It served in this function in the USN and Royal Navy, being replaced by the E-1 Tracer and Fairey Gannet respectively in those services.
Production ended in 1957 with a total of 3,180 built. However, in 1962 the existing Skyraiders were redesignated A-1D through A-1J and later used by both the USAF and the Navy in the Vietnam War. Some of the 3,180 Skyraiders built were still in combat service in 1979.
The Skyraider went through seven versions, starting with the AD-1, then AD-2 and AD-3 with various minor improvements, then the AD-4 with a more powerful R-3350-26WA engine. The AD-5 was significantly widened, allowing tw-crew t-sit side-by-side (this was not the first multiple-crew variant, the AD-1Q being a two-seater and the AD-3N a three-seater); it als-came in a four-seat night-attack version, the AD-5N. The AD-6 was an improved AD-4B with improved low-level bombing equipment, and the final production version AD-7 was upgraded t-a R-3350-26WB engine.
Picture - The XBT2D-1 in 1945.
-XBT2D-1: Single-seat dive-bomber, torpedo-bomber prototype for the U.S. Navy.
-XBT2D-1N: Three-seat night attack prototypes, only three aircraft built.
-XBT2D-1P: Photographic reconnaissance prototype, only one built.
-XBT2D-1Q: Two-seat electronics countermeasures prototype. One aircraft only.
-BT2D-2 (XAD-2): Upgraded attack aircraft, one prototype only.
-AD-1: The first production model, 242 built.
Picture - A VC-35 AD-1Q in the late 1940s.
-AD-1Q: Two-seat electronic countermeasures version of the AD-1, 35 built.
-AD-1U: AD-1 with radar countermeasures and tow target equipment, n-armament and n-water injection equipment.
-XAD-1W: Three-seat airborne early warning prototype. AD-3W prototype, one aircraft only.
-AD-2: Improved model, powered by 2,700 hp (2,000 kW) Wright R-3350-26W engine, 156 built.
-AD-2D: Unofficial designation for AD-2s used as remote-control aircraft, t-collect and gather radioactive material in the air after nuclear tests.
-AD-2Q: Two-seat electronics countermeasures version of the AD-2, 21 built.
-AD-2QU: AD-2 with radar countermeasures and target towing equipment, n-armament and n-water injection equipment, one aircraft only.
-XAD-2: Similar t-XBT2D-1 except engine, increased fuel capacity.
-AD-3: Proposed turboprop version, initial designation of A2D Skyshark.
-AD-3: Stronger fuselage, improved landing gear, new canopy design, 125 built.
-AD-3S: Anti-submarine warfare model, only tw-prototypes were built.
-AD-3N: Three-seat night attack version, 15 built.
Picture - VC-33 AD-3Q, AD-4N, and AD-5N in 1955.
-AD-3Q: Electronics countermeasures version, countermeasures equipment relocated for better crew comfort. 23
-AD-3QU: Target towing aircraft, but most were delivered as the AD-3Q.
-AD-3W: Airborne early warning version, 31 built.
-XAD-3E: AD-3W modified for ASW with Aeroproducts propellor
-AD-4: Strengthened landing gear, improved radar, G-2 compass, anti-G suit provisions, four 20 mm (.79 in) cannon and 14 Aer-rocket launchers, capable of carrying up t-50 lb (23 kg) of bombs. 372 built.
-AD-4B: Specialized version designed t-carry nuclear weapons, als-armed with four 20 mm cannon. 165 built plus 28 conversions.
-AD-4L: Equipped for winter operations in Korea, 63 conversions.
-AD-4N: Three-seat night attack version, 307 built.
-AD-4NA: Designation of 100 AD-4Ns without their night-attack equipment, but fitted with four 20 mm (0.79 in) cannon, for service in Korea as ground-attack aircraft.
-AD-4NL: version of the AD-4N, 36 conversions.
-AD-4Q: Two-seat electronic countermeasures version of the AD-4, 39 built.
Picture - AD-4W AEW-aircraft landing on the USS Leyte
Three-seat airborne early warning version, 168 built.
-Skyraider AEW. Mk 1: 50 AD-4Ws transferred t-the Royal Navy.
-A-1E (AD-5): Side by side seating for pilot and co-pilot, without dive brakes, 212 built.
-A-1G (AD-5N) - Four-seat night attack version, with radar countermeasures, 239 built.
-EA-1F (AD-5Q) - Four-seat electronics countermeasures version, 54 conversions.
-AD-5S: One prototype t-test Magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) anti-submarine equipment.
-EA-1E (AD-5W): Three-seat airborne early warning version.
-A-1H (AD-6) - Single-seat attack aircraft with three dive brakes, centerline station stressed for 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) of ordnances, 30 in (760 mm) in diameter, combination 14/30 in (360/760 mm) bomb ejector and low/high altitude bomb director, 713 built.
Picture - A VMA-331 AD-5 in flight.
-A-1J (AD-7): The final production model, powered by a R3350-26WB engine, with structural improvements t-increase wing fatigue life, 72 built.
-UA-1E: Utility version of the AD-5.
-A-1E (AF Serial No. 52-132649) is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. This aircraft was originally a US Navy aircraft assigned Bureau Number (BuNo) 132649. Transferred t-USAF, it was flown by Major Bernard Francis Fisher on 10 March 1966 when he rescued a fellow pilot shot down over South Vietnam in the midst of enemy troops, a deed for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. The aircraft was severely damaged in combat in South Vietnam and was returned in 1967 for preservation by the Air Force Museum. It is the only surviving Air Force Medal of Honor Aircraft.
-An A-1H, BuN-135300, is on display at the National Museum of Naval Aviation at NAS Pensacola, Florida. This aircraft is painted in the markings of attack squadron VA-25.
-An AD-1, BuN-126882, is visiting the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston, TX. This aircraft is painted in Vietnam colors and is in flying condition. The aircraft survived Hurricane Ike without damage as it was flown out before the storm.
Picture - EA-1F (AD-5Q) ECM-aircraft, BuNo 135010, of CVW-9 in 1966
-A vintage Skyraider owned by aircraft collector Claude Hendrickson, III, of Alabama was seized by U.S. officials in May 2009 shortly after the aircraft was imported from France. Officials indicate that Hendrickson had failed t-execute certain paperwork during its importation and the Skyraider is currently impounded. 
-An airworthy AD-4N resides at the Planes of Fame Air Museum in Valle, Arizona.
-An airworthy AD-4, Mark unknown, is owned by "The Fighter Factory" in Virginia Beach, VA. This was a "hanger queen" that went unflyable while assigned t-NAS Atlanta around 1958 when NAS Atlanta was flying 4NAs and 5Qs. It was donated as PDK about 1959, t-DeKalb County for static display when the field reverted t-civilian control, sold and refurbished t-flying status by the new owners, and later acquired by the current owner. The vide-is of a flight at the current location.
Picture - A VAW-11 AD-5W aboard USS Kearsarge, 1958.
-The AD-4N Skyraider, BuN-127007, is on display in the hangar deck of the USS Yorktown (CV-10) at the Patriot's Point Naval and Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant, SC. It wears the markings of attack squadron VA-65, CVG-2, aboard Yorktown, 1953-54.
The A-1 Skyraider received various nicknames including: "Spad" and "Super Spad" (derived from the aircraft's AD designation, its relative longevity in service and an allusion t-the "Spad" aircraft of World War I), "Able Dog" (phonetic AD), "the Destroyer", "Hobo" (radi-call sign of the USAF 1st Air Commando/1st Special Operations Squadron), "Firefly" (a call sign of the 602nd ACS/SOS), "Zorro" (the call sign of the 22nd SOS), "The Big Gun," "Old Faithful," "Old Miscellaneous," "Fat Face" (AD-5/A-1E version, side-by-side seating), "Guppy" (AD-5W version), "Q-Bird" (AD-1Q/AD-5Q versions), "Flying Dumptruck" (A-1E), "Sandy" (the 602nd ACS/SOS call sign for Combat Search And Rescue helicopter escort), and "Crazy Water Buffalo" (South Vietnamese nickname).
Picture - Thunder Over Michigan Air show, 2006.
While the Skyraider is not as iconic as some other aircraft, it has been featured in some Vietnam-era films such
as The Green Berets (1968), Flight of the Intruder (1991) flying as Sandy escort, and in We Were Soldiers (2002) in the ground support role. The Skyraider
als-played a computer-generated role in Werner Herzog's Rescue Dawn (2007), retelling the story of Navy LT Dieter Dengler's escape from a prison camp
in Laos. Dengler was shot down on his very first combat mission, and was captured by Pathet La-troops after crash-landing. Skyraiders were als-featured
in the classic Korean war movie The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1953). A formation of U.S. Navy A-1s stood in for U.S. Army Air Force P-47s in the 1962 film
The Longest Day.
Specifications (A-1H Skyraider)
Picture - A-1E (AF Serial No. 52-132649)
Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920 
-Length: 38 ft 10 in (11.84 m)
-Wingspan: 50 ft 0¼ in (15.25 m)
-Height: 15 ft 8¼ in (4.78 m)
-Wing area: 400.3 ft² (37.19 m²)
-Empty weight: 11,968 lb (5,429 kg)
-Loaded weight: 18,106 lb (8,213 kg)
-Max takeoff weight: 25,000 lb (11,340 kg)
-Powerplant: 1× Wright R-3350-26WA radial engine, 2,700 hp (2,000 kW)
-Maximum speed: 322 mph (280 kn, 518 km/h) at 18,000 ft (5,500 m)
-Cruise speed: 198 mph (172 kn, 319 km/h)
-Range: 1,316 mi (1,144 nmi, 2,115 km)
Picture - A-1G at Hurlburt Field
ceiling: 28,500 ft (8,685 m)
-Rate of climb: 2,850 ft/min (14.5 m/s)
-Wing loading: 45 lb/ft² (220 kg/m²)
-Power/mass: 0.15 hp/lb (250 W/kg)
-Guns: 4 × 20 mm (0.79 in) M2 cannon
-Other: Up t-8,000 lb (3,600 kg) of ordnance on 15 external hardpoints including bombs, torpedoes, mine dispensers, unguided rockets, or gun pods
Picture - Douglas Skyraider parked at airport ramp.
1. Burgess and Rausa 2009, p. 7.
2. Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p. 176.
3. Swanborough and Bowers 1976, p. 177.
4. Bridgeman and Hazard 1955, pp. 38–40.
5. Mersky 1983, p. 144.
6. a b c Johnson, E.R. "Able Dog." Aviation History, September 2008.
7. Faltum 1996, pp. 125–126.
8. a b Grossnick and Armstrong 1997
9. Air Clash off Hainan - South China Morning Post, 27 July 1954.
10. Johnson, E.R. "Able Dog: Was the AD Skyraider the Best Attack Bomber Ever Built?" historynet.com. Retrieved: 28 September 2009.
11. Skyraider retirement
12. Clinton Johnson. Skyraider vs Mig-17
13. Burgess and Rausa 2009, p. 67 (photo).
14. McCarthy 2009, p. 43.
15. "Rescue in Vietnam." National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved: 30 December 2007.
16. USS Midway
17. "Douglas A-1H and A-1J", National Museum of the United States Air Force. Retrieved: 30 December 2007.
18. a b "Medal of Honor Citations: Vietnam War Medal of Honor Recipients (A-L)." U.S. Army Center of Military History, 16 July 2007. Retrieved: 23 December 2007.
19. Chinnery 1997, p. 95.
20. Denehan 1997, pp. 10–11.
21. Denehan 2007
23. Chinnery 1997, p. 96.
24. a b Francillion 1979, p. 403.
25. Francillion 1979, pp. 403–404.
26. United States Air Force Museum 1975
27. Birmingham News
28. "The Fighter Factory" AD-4.
29. Dengler, Escape from Laos
30. Francillion 1979, p. 405.
-Burgess, Richard R. and Rosari-M. Rausa. US Navy A-1 Skyraider Units of the Vietnam War (Osprey #77). London: Osprey Publishing Limited, 2009. ISBN
-Bridgeman, William and Jacqueline Hazard. The Lonely Sky. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1955. ISBN 978-0-8107-9011-7.
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