I believe I have a couple of readers who have expressed their love of the Skyraider, what was sometimes called the "Spad" back in the day. Well, sit back and enjoy. This flyby is all Skyraider and nothing but Skyraiders.
The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly AD) was an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the late 1940s and early 1980s. It became a piston-powered, propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed "Spad", after the French World War I fighter. The Skyraider had a remarkably long and successful career, even inspiring its straight-winged, slow-flying, jet-powered successor, the A-10 Thunderbolt II.
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 Air Force of the Republic of Vietnam (VNAF), and others.
|With a H/T to "Spill"|
Skyraiders were also used by the USAF to perform one of the bird's most famous roles: the "Sandy" helicopter escort on combat rescues. USAF Major Bernard F. Fisher piloted an A-1E on 10 March 1966 mission for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing Major "Jump" Myers at A Shau Special Forces Camp. USAF Colonel William A. Jones, III piloted an A-1H on 1 September 1968 mission for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor. In that mission, despite damage to his aircraft and suffering serious burns, he returned to his base and reported the position of a downed U.S. airman.
|Major Bernard F. Fisher|
Medal of Honor
United States Air Force
|Major Fisher and Major Myers|
Shortly After the Rescue
Major Fisher's Medal of Honor Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On that date, the special forces camp at A Shau was under attack by 2,000 North Vietnamese Army regulars. Hostile troops had positioned themselves between the airstrip and the camp. Other hostile troops had surrounded the camp and were continuously raking it with automatic weapons fire from the surrounding hills. The tops of the 1,500-foot hills were obscured by an 800 foot ceiling, limiting aircraft maneuverability and forcing pilots to operate within range of hostile gun positions, which often were able to fire down on the attacking aircraft. During the battle, Maj. Fisher observed a fellow airman crash land on the battle-torn airstrip. In the belief that the downed pilot was seriously injured and in imminent danger of capture, Maj. Fisher announced his intention to land on the airstrip to effect a rescue. Although aware of the extreme danger and likely failure of such an attempt, he elected to continue. Directing his own air cover, he landed his aircraft and taxied almost the full length of the runway, which was littered with battle debris and parts of an exploded aircraft. While effecting a successful rescue of the downed pilot, heavy ground fire was observed, with 19 bullets striking his aircraft. In the face of the withering ground fire, he applied power and gained enough speed to lift-off at the overrun of the airstrip. Maj. Fisher's profound concern for his fellow airman, and at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
|Colonel William A. Jones, III|
Medal of Honor
United States Air Force
Colonel Jones' Medal of Honor Citation
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Col. Jones distinguished himself as the pilot of an A-1H Skyraider aircraft near Dong Hoi, North Vietnam. On that day, as the on-scene commander in the attempted rescue of a downed U.S. pilot, Col. Jones' aircraft was repeatedly hit by heavy and accurate antiaircraft fire. On one of his low passes, Col. Jones felt an explosion beneath his aircraft and his cockpit rapidly filled with smoke. With complete disregard of the possibility that his aircraft might still be burning, he unhesitatingly continued his search for the downed pilot. On this pass, he sighted the survivor and a multiple-barrel gun position firing at him from near the top of a karst formation. He could not attack the gun position on that pass for fear he would endanger the downed pilot. Leaving himself exposed to the gun position, Col. Jones attacked the position with cannon and rocket fire on 2 successive passes. On his second pass, the aircraft was hit with multiple rounds of automatic weapons fire. One round impacted the Yankee Extraction System rocket mounted directly behind the headrest, igniting the rocket. His aircraft was observed to burst into flames in the center fuselage section, with flames engulfing the cockpit area. He pulled the extraction handle, jettisoning the canopy. The influx of fresh air made the fire burn with greater intensity for a few moments, but since the rocket motor had already burned, the extraction system did not pull Col. Jones from the aircraft. Despite searing pains from severe burns sustained on his arms, hands, neck, shoulders, and face, Col. Jones pulled his aircraft into a climb and attempted to transmit the location of the downed pilot and the enemy gun position to the other aircraft in the area. His calls were blocked by other aircraft transmissions repeatedly directing him to bail out and within seconds his transmitters were disabled and he could receive only on 1 channel. Completely disregarding his injuries, he elected to fly his crippled aircraft back to his base and pass on essential information for the rescue rather than bail out. Col. Jones successfully landed his heavily damaged aircraft and passed the information to a debriefing officer while on the operating table. As a result of his heroic actions and complete disregard for his personal safety, the downed pilot was rescued later in the day. Col. Jones' profound concern for his fellow man at the risk of his life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Air Force and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
|HH-53 Jolly Green Giant with a Sandy Escort|
|Skyraiders Over Vietnam, 1965|
|AD Skyraider of VA-195 USS Princeton|
|Paper Tiger II|
The U.S. Navy Douglas A-1H Skyraider (NE-572, BuNo 135297) "Paper Tiger II" (which was a temporary name used for just this one flight) of Attack Squadron VA-25 Fist of the Fleet* being readied for a mission over the Mekong Delta in October 1965. VA-25 was assigned to Attack Carrier Air Wing Two (CVW-2) aboard the aircraft carrier USS Midway (CVA-41). To commemorate the mark of having delivered 6,000,000 lb. (2721.56 to) of ordnance NE-572 was equipped with a special "bomb", a toilet! The toilet was a damaged toilet, which was going to be thrown overboard. One of the plane captains of VA-25 saved it and the ordnance crew made a rack, tailfins and nose fuse for it. VA-25 personnel maintained a position to block the view of the Air Boss and the ship's Captain while the aircraft was taxiing forward to the catapult. The plane was piloted by X/O Cdr. Clarence W. Stoddard, wingman was LCdr. Robin Bacon (in NE-577, BuNo 139768, with Lt. Clint Johnson shot down a MiG-17 on 20 June 1965). When the "sani-flush-bomb" was dropped, it almost hit LCdr. Bacon's plane due to its light weight.
|Nellis Air Show|
|Royal Navy AEW.1s of 778 Naval Air Squadron|
Royal Naval Air Station Culdrose, 1950s
|No Matter the Variant,|
A Tough Looking Bird
Okay, I can see why some folks like the Skyraider.
You can count me in!
*VA-25, One of Lex's Old Squadrons.