A-1 Skyraider “The Proud American”

Technical Specs

  • Max Speed:  320 mph
  • Cruising Speed:  190 mph
  • Range:  1157 NM
  • Service Ceiling: 32,000 Ft
  • Span:  50′ or 23’10″ folded
  • Length:  38’10″
  • Height: 19’4″
  • Weight: 11,900 empty

Armament

With 15 hardpoints, the Skyraider could be loaded up with almost anything.

Engine

Wright R-3350-26WA with 2700 hp

General Information

Manufactured by Douglas Aircraft, the first prototype for the Skyraider took to the skies in 1945. It would be the mid-50′s though, during the Korean conflict, before the Skyraider saw front-line service with the US Navy and Marines. This single-seat, prop-driven attack aircraft found its niche carrying 14,500lbs on take-off and delivering its payload with precision, often enduring significant battle damage in the process. Later during the Vietnam conflict, when most other propellered fighters and attack aircraft had been traded in on the latest and greatest jets, the venerable ‘Spad’ with it’s long loiter time, ‘low and slow’ delivery system, and ability to get home despite being in less than one piece carved out yet another niche for itself. Indeed, the Skyraider proved itself to be so good that the USAF added some to their helicopter Search and Rescue missions. It served as the ‘Sandy’ helicopter escort, providing close air support, forward air control, and anything else that required the special brand of support that the Skyraider provided. By the end of 1972, all Skyraiders in the US inventory had been taken out of service. Many went to the South Vietnamese Air Force and later to the French l’Armee de l’Air.

Specific Information

BuNo 126965 is an AD-4NA built in the early-50′s. While with the US Navy it served aboard the USS Kearsarge with VA-115 in 1953, off the coast of Korea. The cease-fire was called before it saw combat action, however the aircraft of VA-115 conducted DMZ patrols for the duration of the cruise. When it returned stateside it was stationed with FASRON 8 at Alameda before transitioning to FAETULANT in Norfolk, VA from November 1954 until August 1955. She ultimately entered storage at Litchfield Park in August 1957. She was stricken from the Navy list in July 1958, and left storage for France in March 1960. [Click here to see a few pages from the Skyraider logbook]

While with the French l’Armee de l’Air, our Skyraider was based at Chateaudun but served in Algeria in 1962, Djibouti in 1968, Madagascar in 1971, and Chad in 1976. It was sent to storage with Sogerma in September 1979 where it remained until 1983. The Musee de l’Air at Le Buurget acquired the aircraft in 1984, and sold it to a private owner in Belgium in 1985. This aircraft was purchased by Heritage Flight Museum in February of 2004 and very arduously flown, towed, cargoed, towed again, and flown again back to Bellingham from Belgium!

Because of HFM’s USAF background, and because the Skyraider was used with great success by the Navy and the Air Force, we chose to ‘dress’ our Skyraider in typical USAF colors thus the reason we refer to it by it’s USAF designation of A-1.