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Flightline Friday: My Favorite piston-engined aircraft, the Able Dog March 28, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Flightline Friday, fun, silliness, Society.
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The AD Skyraider was a product of that pinnacle of piston-engined aircraft design and manufacture that occurred at the close of WWII.  A number of extremely capable, rugged, reliable types were produced in the closing days of the war, or just after: advanced models of the F4U Corsair, the F8F Bearcat, the P-51H and P-47N, in Britain the Hawker Fury, and the creme de la creme, in my opinion, the Douglas AD Skyraider.  Powered by a big Wright 3350 radial, the Skyraider saw service from 1946 until 1972 in the US, and longer in other countries.  It was an incredible versatile workhorse that performed a huge number of missions: long range strike, medium bomber, airborne early warning, anti-submarine warfare, search and rescue, even carrier on-board delivery.  3180 Skyraiders were produced in a great number of variants from 1945 to 1957.  The Navy phased it out in favor of the A-6 Intruder in 1968, while the Air Force used it until 1972 in the search and rescue CAP role in Vietnam.

Just too late for WWII, the AD, or A-1 Skyraider was a workhorse of both the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, and may have flown in combat in third world nations until about 1980. It was the product of 40 years of piston engine design and one of the peaks achieved in that design medium.  Soldiering on in a time when jets were replacing almost every other piston engine type, the Skyraider had unique capabilities that jets of the 50s could not match.  It’s range and payload would not be equaled until the A2F (A-6) Intruder entered service in the early 60s.

I don’t have much time to post more details, so here are some videos of the glorious “Sandy,” “Able Dog,” “Spad,” “Hobo,” “Fat Face,” “Flying Dumptruck,” “the Destroyer,” – “Mr. Attack Aviation” Ed Heinemann’s A-1 Skyraider:

A-1H of VA-25 "Fist of the Fleet" prepares to fly a mission in 1965 with a special purpose bomb, outfitted with an 'E' award for battle efficiency, aboard CV-41 "Magic" Midway.  This bomb was actually flown and dropped on a mission as a joke. The North Vietnamese actually accused the US of "bacteriological" warfare because of the stunt.

A-1H of VA-25 “Fist of the Fleet” prepares to fly a mission in 1965 with a special purpose bomb, outfitted with an ‘E’ award for battle efficiency, aboard CV-41 “Magic” Midway. This bomb was actually flown and dropped on a mission as a joke. The North Vietnamese actually accused the US of “bacteriological” warfare because of the stunt.

A short video of two restored A-1’s having fun:

Discovery Wings episode Able Dog:

Here is a nice “ride along” video from onboard a Skyraider:

Low-res video of the retirement of the Skyraider from the USN in 1970:

Here is a low-res vid of USAF combat search and rescue operations deep in indian country in Vietnam featuring CH-53 Jolly Greens, A-1 Skyraiders, HC-130 Hercules, and OV-10 Broncos.

That’s all for now.  Have a blessed weekend.

 

Comments

1. Observer - March 28, 2014

Yep, great planes, but my favorite of the 2-engined radials must be the Bristol Beaufighter ca 1942. Its special significance is that it was powered by the mighty sleeve-valve Bristol Hercules radial. No need to worry about poppet valves to over-heating!

2. Michael Jarman - April 1, 2014

One of my earliest toys as a boy was a die-cast A-1 with foldable wings! Hope I still have it somewhere.


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