(Variants/Other Names: See History
EA-1E (AD-5W) Skyraider N188BP (Bu. No. 135188), owned by
Brent Hisey, is resplendent in its new colors -- those of VAQ-33, the
squadron in which it served in the 1960s.
(Photo courtesy Dr. Brent Hisey).
History: The prototype of the Skyraider was
first flown on 18 March 1945. Designed as a robust, multi-role attack aircraft for the US
Navy, the carrier-based Skyraider was able to carry a wide variety of weapons on its
numerous wing hard points. 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 multi-role 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 Armee 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
Weight: Empty 10,550 lbs., Max Takeoff
Wing Span: 50ft. 9in.
Length: 38ft. 10in.
Height: 15ft. 8.25in.
Maximum Speed at
at 6,000ft: 190mph
Range: 900 miles
Four 20mm cannon
hardpoint-mounted freefall and/or forward-firing weapons
Number Built: 3,180
Number Still Airworthy: Approx. 19
Skyraider Pilot Report by Budd Davisson ]
A-1 Skyraider Association and Combat Log
Able Dogs: US Navy and Marine Skyraider Aviators
Amongst Them: A Spad Pilot's Story"
Skyraider Warbird List
The Spadguys Speak
Swordsmen Skyraider Page
Douglas A-1 Skyraider (Warbird Tech,
By Larry Davis
Paperback, 104 pages
Published July 2002 by Specialty Press
A layman's technical analysis and review of the
Skyraider, including photos, drawings, and excerpts from technical manuals.
Click here for more books about the Skyraider!
Douglas AD-4 Skyraider
( Illustration courtesy of
Visit Lyle's website for more great art! )
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