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The VNAF Skyraider A-1H's have made the last World War II propeller driven aircraft famous in Vietnam war, and those Skyraiders with colorful distinguished fuselage bands became the icon images of VNAF. The "Crazy Water Buffalos" are the true classic heros of Vietnam War, fighting from the beginning to the bitter end. No retreating, no evacuating, no running even have been betrayed and abandoned. We devote this page to only Douglas Skyraiders and it will be updated whenever we have Skyraider related items on hand. Enjoy!

The picture shows USS Midway Carrier transporting some hundred VNAF Jet aicraft (no Skyraiders) that have flown out of Vietnam on the last day of April 1975. Uncle Sam didn't want the weary, antique "Crazy Water Buffalos." Most left behind, some fought and died with the nation.

VNAF SKYRAIDERS IN ITS HEYDAYS
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Skyraider

THE PILOTS OF VNAF SKYRAIDERS

        Looking at these old photos, one can conclude that perhaps this is the best Vietnamese young generation that Vietnam has been given. The maturity, the demeanor, and the spirit of the young men, especially considering at the time South Vietnam was a poor nation, struggling against the whole Communist bloc of the world. But don't let the nice images foul you, they (the guys in photos) were all broke...!
Most ARVN soldiers fought the war with an empty stomach; some VNAF pilots took off for battle after a humble breakfast of a "cheap Chinese instant noodle" out of a plastic package, or carrying along a palm size bundle of sweet rice. All young military men (from officers to plain privates) for most of the times don't have enough money to buy a pack of local made cigarettes, so they would buy "thuoc la le" (only a few cigarettes from the whole pack) from a poor "mamasan" selling cigarette at a stand on side walk. If you are now a smoker, your brand names of cigarettes such as "555," "Craven-A," "Marlboro," "Pallmall" etc. were the luxury items that many ARVN soldiers couldn't afford during the war. If you are of a young Vietnamese 2nd generation or 1.5 one living overseas, be aware that your daily food diets were some things they wished to have on their meals. But the deeds those young men had to carry on daily were beyond the capability even a super power finally had to quit.

In referring to the American generation who fought the World War II, one would use the term "The Great Generation." Considering all the difficult circumstances of Vietnam War, what words should one use to bestow on that Vietnamese generation who defended South Vietnam with a bitter, betrayed outcome? You name it!

        (Photo source: Pham Quang Khiem's collection)


VNAF SKYRAIDER'S PHOTOS
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HISTORY OF DOUGLAS SKYRAIDER

      The A-1 Skyraider originated as a carrier-based torpedo and dive bomber. As the XBT2D-1, it first flew March 18, 1945, and deliveries as the AD-1 to the Navy began in November 1946. In 1962 the Skyraider became the A-1.

The Skyraider was the first single-seat torpedo/dive bomber to serve with the Navy. Its success in both Korea and Vietnam seriously raised the question in 1966 of reopening production, which ended in 1957.

Douglas Aircraft built 3,180 Skyraiders for the Navy. They were single-engine, low-wing monoplanes with a maximum speed of 318 mph, an initial climb rate of 2,300 feet per minute and a service ceiling of 32,000 feet. The aircraft had a wingspan of 50 feet 9 inches, a length of 38 feet 10 inches, and a height of 15 feet 8.25 inches. It weighed 12,313 pounds empty and 25,000 pounds loaded. Armament consisted of four wing-mounted 20mm cannons and an additional weapons load of 7,000 pounds, which could be varied among bombs, gun pods, napalm canisters and up to 12 rockets.

From 1950 to 1953 in the Korean War and from 1962 to 1975 in Vietnam, the "Sandy," as it was called, served as a mainstay workhorse due to its payload, range and durability. The Air Force acquired it's a-1s from the Navy for counterinsurgency duty in Southeast Asia. In addition to the Air Force, the Navy and South Vietnamese flew them in combat. Two Navy Skyraiders even combined to shoot down a Russian built MiG jet fighter. However, the primary mission of the A-1 was close air support for ground troops because of its heavy ordnance load and accuracy.

In April 1963, the Air Force announced the assignment of two A-1E squadrons to the 1st Air Commando Wing at Hurlburt Field after July 1. These 50 aircraft also increased air commando manning by approximately 300. By 1964, Hurlburt focused primarily on "pipeline" aircrew training for personnel going to Southeast Asia. To facilitate that training, dual-control Skyraiders arrived in significant numbers. They provided better and safer training than did the single-control models. Air commando A-1E commitments worldwide included 50 A-1Es at Bien Hoa, South Vietnam. These were assigned to Pacific Air Forces rather than to the 1st ACW, but the wing trained the crews. In 1966, training of Vietnamese A-1E pilots began at Hurlburt Field due to the disadvantages of training in Vietnam. By June 20, 35 pilots had reported for this training.

On June 24, 1965, shortly before noon, two A-1Es collided north of Crestview, Fla., killing both crews. These four fatalities were the only wing aircrew losses in the first half of that year. Considering the hazards in flying aircraft of that age and especially the aging A-1E, the 10,000-hour milestone of accident-free flying reached by the 4407th Combat Crew Training Squadron in 1969 was a singular accomplishment and believed to be a record for this aircraft. It was then 24 years since the Skyraider first flew and 12 years since production ended. However, on June 17, 1970, "the law of averages" caught up with the 4407th when one of its aircrews made a precautionary landing after smelling fuel in the cockpit. Before the airmen could escape, the aircraft exploded on the runway.

As American participation in the war in Vietnam declined, more and more aircraft were transferred to the Vietnamese in the hope they would be able to prosecute the war successfully on their own. In 1972 as part of that "Vietnamizatin," all nine A-1Es of the 4407th CCTS were transferred to the Vietnamese air force and the A-1E training program at Hurlburt ended.

Skyraiders continued in first line service well into the Vietnam conflict, where they once again became star performers in a close air support role. By this time, the Skyraider had picked up a new designation. It had become the A-1 in the 1962 redesignation of naval aircraft. The last Skyraider left active service late in 1971.

DOUGLAS SKYRAIDER MODEL PROGRESSION

Throughout its long life, the Skyraider, (in addition to earning many nicknames, including Able Dog, Spad, Hobo, Firefly, Zorro and "Crazy Water Buffalo," a VNAF nickname) was produced in a wide variety of models calling for a regular alphabet soup of designations. The AD-1's and AD-2's were also produced with ECM equipment, and had an operator behind the pilot as the AD-1Q and AD-2Q. The AD-3 came in four basic variants: AD-3, AD-3N, night attack; AD-3Q, electronic countermeasures; and AD-3W, an AEW radar-toting model. AD-4's and AD-5's were also built in N, Q and W versions. AD-4B's, with a tactical nuclear weapon capability, were produced and some AD-4's were modified to AD-4L's (winterized). AD-4N's saw modification to AD-4NA (day attack) and AD-4NL (winterized). The lengthened AD-5 featured side-by-side seating in the cockpit.

Other variants were produced over the years in small numbers. AD-6's and AD-7's completed the series. The last of 3,180 Skyradiers was built in 1957. With the redesignation of naval aircraft in 1962, AD-5's became A-1E's and AD-6's and -7's became A-1H's and J's, respectively. The Skyraiders served in Southeast Asia with the U.S. and Vietnamese Air Forces.
Source: Skyraider Association & USAF Museum


VNAF SKYRAIDERS AT BIEN HOA AIR BASE (1966 - 1967)
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     Someone just climbed into to a time machine, traveling back to Bien Hoa air base and took some pictures of the VNAF Skyraiders (the colors ones). They looked fresh like just down loaded from...digital camera. Hey, you might see the same photos at somewhere else, but look again. These photos have been retouched for color correction, shadow/highlight, sharpening and optimized for fast open.


MORE VNAF SKYRAIDER'S PHOTOS
DOUGLAS SKYRAIDER'S NICKNAMES

Able Dog; Sandy; Spad; Hobo; Firefly; Zorro; The Big Gun; Old Faithful; Old Miscellaneous; Fat Face (AD-5 version); Guppy (AD-5W version); Q-Bird (AD-1Q/AD-5Q versions); Flying Dumptruck (A-1E); Crazy Water Buffalo (South Vietnamese nickname).

DOUGLAS AD-7/A-1J

SPECIFICATIONS:

Weight: Empty 10,550 lbs., Max Takeoff 25,000 lbs.
Wing Span: 50ft. 9in.
Length: 38ft. 10in.
Height: 15ft. 8.25in.

Armament: Four 20mm cannon 8,000lbs of hardpoint-mounted freefall and/or forward-firing weapons

Engine: Engine: 2800hp Wright R-3350-26B radial piston engine

PERFORMANCE:

Maximum Speed at 18,000ft: 320mph
Cruising Speed at 6,000ft: 190mph
Ceiling: 25,500ft
Range: 900 miles

(Click on thumbnail picture below to see slide show #1)

SLIDE SHOW


VNAF SKYRAIDERS ART done by foreign artists
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US SKYRAIDERS

Enjoy a few rare and nice shots of US Skyraiders. Most of the photos taken in South Vietnam during the war,


DOUGLAS AD-5/A-1E

SPECIFICATIONS:

Wingspan: 50 ft. 1/4 in (15.2 M)
Length: 40 ft. 1 inch (12.2 M)
Height: 15 ft. 11 inches (4.8 M)
Emty Weight: 12,313 pounds (5,585.2 KG)
Maximum Weight: 25,000 pounds (11,340 KG)

Armament: Four 20mm cannons in the wing with 200 rounds per gun. Maximum of 8000 pounds (3628.8 KG) of ordnance on 15 stations on the wing and fuselage undersurface

Engine: One engine of 2,700 hp (Wright R-3350-26WA 18-cylinder air-cooled radial) Cost: Around $414,000

PERFORMANCE:

Maximum speed: 311 mph (500.5 KMH)
Cruising speed: 240 mph.
Range: 1,202 miles (1934.4 KM)
Service Ceiling: 26,000 ft (7924.8 M)
Crew: Two (typical)

(Click on thumbnail picture below to see slide show #2)

SLIDE SHOW

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