Douglas A-1E "SKyraider"

Image by United States Air Force Museum



Span: 50 ft. 1/4 in. 
Length: 40 ft.
Height: 15 ft. 9 5/8 in.
Weight: 24,782 lbs. maximum
Armament: Four 20mm cannons and a 
wide assortment of bombs, rockets, mines, grenades, flares and gun pods
Engine: Wright R-3350 of 2,700 hp.
Cost: $414,000


Maximum Speed: 325 mph.
Cruising Speed: 240 mph.
Range: 1,500 miles
Service Ceiling: 26,200 ft.


The history of the Skyraider began during WW II when Douglas submitted a design to the U.S. Navy for the XBT2D-1 as a replacement for the famous SBD dive-bomber.  The result was a new airplane designated as the "AD" which made its first flight on March 18, 1945.  For the next 12 yeas there was a constant improvement in the airplane up through the AD-7, and 3,180 Skyraiders were delivered to the Navy and Marine Corps, many of which were used during the Korean Conflict.

In 1963, the U.S. Air Force began a program to modify the AD-5 Skyraider for service in Vietnam and redesignated it the A-1E.  Because of its ability to carry large bomb loads, absorb heavy ground fire and fly for long periods at low altitude, the A1-E was particularly suited for close-air-support missions.

The A1-E shown above was the airplane flown by Major Bernard Fisher on March 10, 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 airplane, severely damaged in combat in South Vietnam, was returned in 1967 for preservation by the U.S. Air Force Museum.

Information from:
    United States Air Force Museum

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