The Douglas A-1 Skyraider was developed and produced by Douglas Aircraft Company as a single-seat attack aircraft in service from the late 1940s until the early 1980s. It first flew in March 1945 and was introduced in 1946. The Skyraider saw service with the United States Navy, United States Air Force, British Royal Navy, French Air Force, and Republic of Vietnam Air Force. It was retired in 1985 with the Gabonese Air Force. The aircraft was produced from 1945 to 1957 with a total number of 3,180 Skyraiders built.
The A-1 Skyraider was developed out of the requirement from the United States Navy during the Second World War to build a carrier-based, single-seat dive/torpedo bomber that could fly at longer ranges and with better performance. The aircraft was designed by Ed Heinemann and manufactured by the Douglas Aircraft Company.
On July 6, 1944, orders for prototypes designated as XBT2D-1 were placed. On March 18, 1945, it performed its maiden flight, and in April of the same year, the United States Navy started to evaluate the prototype at the Naval Air Test Center. In December 1946, it was redesignated as the AD-1, and the initial production aircraft was designated as the VA-19A.
The AD-6 or A-1H version is a single-seat attack aircraft with three dive brakes and has an external length of 11.84 meters, an external height of 4.78 meters, and a fuselage diameter of 1.5 meters. It has a tail height of 5.3 meters and a wheelbase of 6.8 meters. The wingspan is 15.24 meters and the wing area is 37.190 square meters. It has an empty weight of 5,429 kg, a gross weight of 8,213 kg, and a fuel capacity of 380 US gal on internal tanks.
The aircraft is powered by a single Wright R-3350-26WA Duplex-Cyclone engine. It is a twin-row eighteen-cylinder radial engine with two pushrod valves per cylinder, a two-speed single-stage supercharger, Chandler-Evans downdraft carburetor fuel system, a dry-sump oil system, and an air-cooling system. It produces a maximum thrust of 2,700 hp and drives a four-bladed Aeroproducts constant-speed propeller.
The Skyraider has a maximum speed of 280 knots at 18,000 feet and a cruise speed of 172 knots. The travel range is 1,144 nautical miles. It can fly up to 28,500 feet and can climb at a rate of 2,850 feet per minute.