Douglas AD-1 Skyraider

Last revised October 24, 2001

The initial production version of the Skyraider was the AD-1. 548 were ordered on April 18, 1945, but the order was reduced to only 277 after V-J Day. The first AD-1 flew on November 5, 1946.

In the spring of 1946, a few XBT2D-1s had been delivered to the Pacific Fleet Air Headquarters at NAS Alameda for service trials. These tests uncovered some serious problems with main undercarriage and wing skin failures, most of which took place when when the landing weights and landing sinking speeds were high. The aircraft's structural strength was obviously too weak to stand up to the rigors of hard carrier landings. An attempt was made in the AD-1 to rectify some of these problems, and some structural strengthening was added which increased the empty weight by 515 pounds. Maximum gross weight reached 18,000 pounds. The armament and engine were the same as those of the late XBT2D-1s.

On March 11, 1946, the Navy renamed its VB and VT squadrons as VA.

In December of 1946, VA-19A at NAS Alameda was declared operational with the AD-1. Deliveries to two Atlantic Fleet squadrons, VA-3B and VA-4B, began in April of 1947. These two units completed carrier qualification trials aboard the USS Sicily. They were soon deployed aboard the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Specification of Douglas AD-1 Skyraider

Engine: One Wright R-3350-24W Duplex Cyclone 18-cylinder air-cooled radial engine, rated at 2500 hp for takeoff and 2200 hp at 11,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 366 mph at 13,500 feet, 348 mph at sea level. Cruising speed 185 pmp Service ceiling 33,000 feet. Initial climb rate 3590 feet/min. Range 1940 miles with 2000 pounds of bombs. Weights: 10,500 pounds empty, 13,900 pounds gross, 18,000 pounds maximum. Dimensions: Wingspan 50 feet 0 1/4 inches, length 38 feet 2 inches, height 12 feet, wing area 400.33 square feet. Armament: Two 20-mm cannon in the wing.

Serials of Douglas AD-1 Skyraider

09110/09351		Douglas AD-1 Skyraider
				c/n 1938/2179
09387/09392		Douglas AD-1 Skyraider
				Cancelled contract


  1. Douglas A-1 Skyraider, Robert F. Dorr, Osprey, 1989

  2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920, Vol 1, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988

  3. American Combat Planes, 3rd Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.