Friday, September 13, 2013

The Friday Flyby - 13 September

A-26 Invader (Warbird Depot)
Last week a certain member of the commentariat (alright, it was Murphy) said the following (as regards last week's focus, the B-25 Mitchell):
"Most excellent aircraft indeed. Almost as cool as the Douglas A-26."
Okay sure. So this week, the A-26 Invader. And yes, Murph, it is pretty cool looking. Especially that example above, owned by the (ahem) Commemorative Air Force. (Which had a different name in the days before lunacy political correctness held sway. Same initials though.)

Note the Open Cockpit Hatches
(and the guy in the nose, obviously about to have too much fun)

From Wikipedia:
Douglas A-26 Invader
The Douglas A-26 Invader (designated B-26 between 1948–1965) was a United States twin-engine light bomber and attack aircraft built by Douglas Aircraft during World War II that also saw service during several of the Cold War's major conflicts. A limited number of highly modified aircraft (designation A-26 restored) served in combat until 1969.

It was found to be a fast aircraft capable of carrying twice its specified bomb load. A range of guns could be fitted to produce a formidable ground-attack aircraft.

The redesignation of the type from A-26 to B-26 has led to popular confusion with the Martin B-26 Marauder, a design that first flew in November 1940, some 16 months before the Douglas design's maiden flight. Although both types utilized the much-used Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp eighteen-cylinder, double-row engine, they are completely different designs. The last A-26 in active US service was assigned to the Air National Guard; that aircraft was retired from military service in 1972 by the US Air Force and the National Guard Bureau and donated to the National Air and Space Museum.
Back in the day, when I was a lad, our local airport somehow managed to come into possession of two of these aircraft. If you will remember, I come from a very small town. The local airport has a runway, a hangar, some sheds and an office. It is very small and typically unmanned. We discovered this about the same time we discovered the two A-26s parked on the tarmac.

We also discovered how to get into the "secured" aircraft (for we were clever lads who really, really liked military aircraft). So many were the days we would ride our bicycles way out to North Springfield, climb into the Invader, and pretend to fly combat missions over Europe.

Until the day someone was actually working at the airport and came out to chase us off. We left, chastised and disheartened at riding all that way, but resolved to return the next Saturday. Which we did.

Damn. Someone padlocked the aircraft. No more pretend flying for you!

Ah well, fun while it lasted. But as you may imagine, the A-26 remains a fond memory for this Old AF Sarge. Oh yes it does.

Of course, we need to see the bird in the air to truly appreciate it!

(To see more great military videos, visit Zeno's Warbirds. Good stuff!)

A-26 Cockpit

The A-26, a Classic

Going into Harm's Way

"Hard to Get"

Eight .50 Cals will certainly get your attention!

The A-26 (renamed the B-26 as noted above) also saw action in Southeast Asia.

All Bombed Up and "Good to Go"

Get Some!

The A-26. Good idea Murph!

My apologies for the lateness of this post. I have been, shall we say, busy.


  1. Beautiful aircraft, but would they allow such "obviously sexist" images on them today?

    Crazy world isn't it.

    1. Probably not. Just a wild guess.


    2. About a decade ago (iirc) morale was so low in the old SAC Bomb Wing at Shreveport (HQ 2ndAF, now 9thAF) that they decided to allow "nose-art" on the Bongos to boost morale. Anybody want to take odds on what happened next? Yep, you guessed it, the feminazis went Able Sugar and the "Big Kids" retreated from the frontal assault by the skirts, folded their tents like the limp-dicked PC pussies I now realize most Flag officers are in these PC times and immediately sent out the "disregard all" surrender signal..

      Nothing like resolute leadership..

    3. Well said VX. Is it any wonder that the foreign-types pooh-pooh any threat of American power with the so-called "leadership" we have?

  2. And the one Murphy was looking at was ONLY 159K. Wonder what the operating costs are? Tempting.....very tempting.

  3. @ Old AF Sarge: Thank you! They called it "The bomber that flew like a fighter" because it could actually out-perform many of the early WW2 fighters with it's power and maneuverability down low.

    The On-Mark conversion B-26K Counter-Invaders used in Vietnam were the coolest of the cool. Only one still flies today, recently restored from derelict status.

    @ Juvat: 180GPH fuel burn. I've looked into it. Several are still available as recently-retired fire bombers being released for sale.

  4. ...owned by the (ahem) Commemorative Air Force.

    Well, **I** liked 'em better when they were the Confederate Air Force. That's just the Rebel in me, I suppose. I had the opportunity to see one of the CAF's A-26s fly at an airshow in Brownsville, TX some years ago. The aircraft in question was an immaculately restored and maintained example of the type. Quite the day, that was.

  5. A. I don't trust a plane which already flies around with the wings looking like they're about to fold up. Nope.
    B. Think of the re-engineering for the 8 50cal in lieu of bombardier. The weight of the guns AND the weight of all that ammo. wow.

    Nice plane. Nice post.

    1. Come to think of it, those horizontal stabs do look a bit "bent", don't they?

      Thanks Cap'n.

  6. To those in the know, it's STILL the Confederate Air Force... Screw PC..

    1. That's how I remember it, my brain does the automatic substitution from Commemorative to Confederate.

      As to "Screw PC"?

      I second the motion...


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Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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