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A-1 H Skyraider

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United States of America

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Date Deployed: March 18, 1945 - Redesignated on 1962
A-1H Skyraider - Navy 516th Fighter Squadron
Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft 
Model from Italeri of Italy Kit # 02628 Built on 07-08-2006        1/48 scale

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   The Douglas A-1 (formerly AD) Skyraider was a U.S. single-seat attack bomber of the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s. A propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, the Skyraider had a remarkably long and successful career.

   The Skyraider was originally designed in the 1940s by Ed Heinemann of the Douglas Aircraft Company, as a simpler alternative to the XBTD-1. At the time of the first prototype's flight on 18 March 1945, it was the largest production single-seater aircraft. The low-wing monoplane design started with a Wright R-3350 radial engine, later upgraded multiple times. Its distinctive feature was the presence of seven hardpoints on each wing, enabling it to carry a tremendous amount of ordnance for its size.

   Although the Skyraider entered production too late for active service in World War II, it turned out to be of great value in both the Korean and Vietnam Wars, as its weapon load and 10-hour flying time far surpassed the jets that were available at the time.

   One of the Skyraider's most famous roles was as the "Sandy" helicopter escort. In one incident an A-1 pilot landed under fire to rescue another downed A-1 pilot, winning its pilot the Medal of Honor. After November 1972 all A-1s in US service in Southeast Asia were transferred to the South Vietnamese Air Force and their former roles were taken over by the subsonic A-37 Dragonfly and A-7 Corsair II. The Skyraider in Vietnam pioneered the concept of tough, survivable aircraft with long loiter times and large ordnance loads later exemplified by the Fairchild A-10 Thunderbolt II. An A-1 was even credited with downing a MiG-17 that happened to fly across its gunsight.

   In addition to serving during Korea and Vietnam as an attack aircraft, it was modified into a carrier-based airborne early warning aircraft (replacing the Grumman TBM-3W Avenger). It served in this function in the USN and Royal Navy, being replaced by the E-1 Tracer and Fairey Gannet respectively in those services.

   USAF Major Bernard F. Fisher piloted an A-1E on the March 10, 1966 mission for which he was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing Major "Jump" Myers at A Shau Special Forces Camp.

   USAF Lieutenant Colonel William A.Jones, III piloted an A-1H on the September 1, 1968 mission for which he was awarded Medal of Honor. In that mission, despite significant damage to his aircraft and suffering serious burns, he returned to his base and reported the position of a downed flight crew member.  

 

 

          

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