McDonnell / Douglas

A-1D Skyraider (SPAD)

Douglas A-1D Skyraider "The Spad"

McDonnell / Douglas


The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly known as AD Skyraider) is an American single-seat attack aircraft

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A-1 Skyraider

The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly known as AD Skyraider) is an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the late 1940s and early 1980s. The Skyraider had a remarkably long and successful career; it became a piston-powered, propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed “Spad”, after the French World War I fighter.

It was operated by the United States Navy (USN), the United States Marine Corps (USMC), and the United States Air Force (USAF), and also saw service with the British Royal Navy, the French Air Force, the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF), and others. It remained in U.S. service until the early 1970s.

Operational History

Korean War


The Skyraider was produced too late to take part in World War II, but became the backbone of United States Navy aircraft carrier and United States Marine Corps strike aircraft sorties in the Korean War (1950–1953), with the first ADs going into action from Valley Forge with VA-55 on 3 July 1950. Its weapons load and 10-hour flying time far surpassed the jets that were available at the time. On 2 May 1951, Skyraiders made the only aerial torpedo attack of the war, hitting the Hwacheon Dam, then controlled by North Korea.



RoleAttack aircraft
National originUnited States
ManufacturerDouglas Aircraft Company
First flight18 March 1945
Retired1973 (US use)
1985 Gabonese Air Force[1]
Primary usersUnited States Navy
United States Air Force
Royal Navy
South Vietnam Air Force
Number built3,180
Developed intoDouglas A2D Skyshark


Specifications (Douglas Skyraider)

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 38 ft 10 in (11.84 m)
  • Wingspan: 50 ft 0.25 in (15.2464 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 8.25 in (4.7816 m)
  • Wing area: 400.33 sq ft (37.192 m2)
  • Airfoil: root: NACA 2417; tip: NACA 4413[38]
  • Empty weight: 11,968 lb (5,429 kg)
  • Gross weight: 18,106 lb (8,213 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 380 US gal (320 imp gal; 1,400 l) internal tanks
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright R-3350-26WA Duplex-Cyclone 18-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 2,700 hp (2,000 kW)
  • Propellers: 4-bladed Aeroproducts constant-speed propeller

Specifications (Douglas A-1D Skyraider)



  • Maximum speed: 322 mph (518 km/h, 280 kn) at 18,000 ft (5,500 m)
  • Cruise speed: 198 mph (319 km/h, 172 kn)
  • Range: 1,316 mi (2,118 km, 1,144 nmi)
  • Service ceiling: 28,500 ft (8,700 m)
  • Rate of climb: 2,850 ft/min (14.5 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 46.6 lb/sq ft (228 kg/m2)
  • Power/mass: 0.149 hp/lb (0.245 kW/kg)


  • Armament

    • Guns: 4x 20 mm AN/M3 cannon with 200 rounds per gun
    • Hardpoints: 15 external hardpoints with a capacity of 8,000 lb (3,600 kg),with provisions to carry combinations of: 
      Other: bombs, torpedoes, mine dispensers, unguided rockets, and gun pods.
    • Related development

      Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

      Aichi B7A


Aircrafttoaal encyclopedia

The Douglas World Cruiser (DWC) was developed to meet a requirement from the United States Army Air Service for an aircraft suitable for an attempt at the first flight around the world. The Douglas Aircraft Company responded with a modified variant of their DT torpedo bomber, the DWC.