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Tigers: Tracking a Legend
Douglas AD-4NA Skyraider
The Douglas Skyraider reflected war time experience, which demonstrated the importance of having an airplane capable of carrying a large and varied load of weaponry. Traditions say the Skyraider was designed in "one evening" and the first plane was produced in nine months. The order for the aircraft was placed in 1944, but no production aircraft made it into combat by the end of 1944.
Did You Know?
- The Skyraider could attack at 70 degrees, which was comparatively steep for such a heavy machine.
- This was the first single engine propeller-driven aircraft capable of carrying an atomic weapon. It used torpedoes to "bust" dams.
- The Air Zoo's Skyraider was used by the French in combat in North Africa.
- A Skyraider in Dallas, Texas once took off with a full load and armaments weighting 26,739 pounds-equal to a C-47 with 24 passengers.
- Generally, the AD carried more tonnage on its typical mission than a B-17 did. (The B-17 could carry more on a short haul, but because of distances involved, it usually had to sacrifice bomb load for needed fuel.)
- Though AD means Attack Douglas, in radio code it means Able Dog, which is quite a suitable name for the Skyraider. The term "Spad" was used lovingly in Vietnam by the pilots because the propeller-driven aircraft were "so old" they were "almost as old" as the Spads used in World War I.
- The Air Zoo's Skyraider has a paint scheme for VA-125. However, there is an error on its tail. The letter on it is a "B" for Air Group 19, which was changed in 1957 to "NM." Also, VA-125 was never assigned to Air Group 19.