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.
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
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:
Cruising Speed at 6,000ft:
Range: 900 miles
Four 20mm cannon
8,000lbs of hardpoint-mounted
freefall and/or forward-firing weapons
Number Still Airworthy: