The AD-1 Skyraider was designed and manufactured by Douglas Aircraft Company in Southern California during the early 1940s. The Skyraider prototype first flight occurred on March 18, 1945. In 1946, the United State’s Navy, Marine Corp. and Air Force began receiving their first orders of the aircraft. Powering the AD-1 Skyraider was a single Wright R-3350 engine outputting 2,700 horsepower.
The aircraft’s power plant allowed for a top speed around 300 MPH and a range of 900 miles. The Skyraider became noted in history for being the only aircraft of its time capable of carrying 8,000 pounds of ordnance, 3,000 pounds more than the four engine B-17 Flying Fortress of WWII. An assortment of ordnance could be mounted to 15 different external hardpoints on the aircraft. In 1950, Skyraiders served in the Korean War. By 1955, the United States Navy had stationed 29 Skyraider squadrons on aircraft carriers. Douglas ended production of the Skyraider in 1957, yielding a total of 3,180 aircraft and 28 variations.
To extent the capability of the aircraft, the United States Navy, U.S Air Force and South Vietnamese Air Force modified the Skyraider for service in the Vietnam War. The Naval Aviation Museum noted in “June 1965, a pair of Skyraiders shot down a North Vietnamese MiG-17 in air-to-air combat.” (http://www.navalaviationmuseum.org) After retiring from attack aircraft service in 1968, the Skyraider was repurposed as multiple role aircraft consisting of; photo reconnaissance, electronic countermeasures, and search and rescue missions. The aircraft was later retired in 1972 in favor of a newer jet aircraft (A-4 Skyhawk).
The AD-1 Skyraider “Bad News” featured in the video is operated and maintained by Warbird Heritage Foundation. The Warbird Heritage Foundation believes the aircraft is the oldest standard production Skyraider still flying today.
Article By: Greg Jacek
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