Hobby Master HA2905 USAF Douglas AD-4 Skyraider Attack Aircraft - VA-195 "Dambusters," USS Princeton (CVL-23), Korea, 1950s (1:72 Scale)
"Sandy Low Lead, Sandy Low Lead, this is Cole, - - . I'm done, Sandy. I'm all screwed up. My back's broken. They're everywhere. I'm sitting on a ZSU. They're using me for bait. Do it, Sandy. Lay it in on me, man. I'm popping smoke."
- Willem Dafoe playing the part of Lt. Cmdr. Virgil 'Tiger' Cole, calling in an air strike on his own position, from the feature film 'Flight of the Intruder'
The Douglas A-1 (formerly AD) Skyraider was an American 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 well into the space age, and inspired a straight-winged, slow-flying, jet-powered successor which is still in front line service today, the A-10 Thunderbolt II (Warthog).
It was operated by the United States Navy (USN), the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) and the United States Air Force (USAF), and also saw service with the British Royal Navy, the French Air Force, and the Air Force of the Republic of Vietnam (VNAF), among others.
The piston-engined A-1 was designed during World War II to meet requirements for a carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber, and was a follow-on to earlier dive bombers and torpedo bombers used by the Navy such as the Helldiver and Avenger. Designed by Ed Heinemann of the Douglas Aircraft Company, prototypes were ordered on July 6th, 1944, as the XBT2D-1. The XBT2D-1 made its first flight on 18 March 1945 and in April 1945, the USN began evaluation of the aircraft at the Naval Air Test Center (NATC). In December 1946, after a designation change to AD-1, delivery of the first production aircraft to a fleet squadron was made to VA-19A.
The AD-1 was built at Douglas' El Segundo plant in Southern California. In his memoir The Lonely Sky, test pilot Bill Bridgeman describes the routine yet sometimes hazardous work of certifying AD-1s fresh off the assembly line (quoting a production rate of two aircraft per day) for delivery to the U.S. Navy in 1949 and 1950.
The low-wing monoplane design started with a Wright R-3350 radial engine, later upgraded several times. Its distinctive feature was large straight wings with seven hard points apiece. These gave the aircraft excellent low-speed maneuverability, and enabled it to carry a tremendous amount of ordnance over a considerable combat radius and loiter time for its size, comparable to much heavier subsonic or supersonic jets. The aircraft is optimized for the ground-attack mission and is armored against ground fire in key locations. This was unlike faster fighters adapted to carry bombs such as the F4U Corsair or P-51 Mustang, which would be retired by U.S. forces long before the 1960s.
Navy A-1s were initially painted dark blue, but during the 1950s following the Korean War, the color scheme was changed to gray and white. Initially using the gray and white Navy pattern, by 1967 the USAF began to paint its Skyraiders in a camouflaged pattern using two shades of green, and one of tan.
Used by the USN over Korea and Vietnam, the A-1 was a primary close air support aircraft for the USAF and VNAF during the Vietnam War. The A-1 was famous for being able to take hits and keep flying. Battle damage images from the Korean and Vietnam wars speak for themselves. There was added armor plating around the cockpit area for added pilot protection. It was replaced in the early 1970s by the A-4 Skyhawk as the Navy's primary light attack plane.
Pictured here is a 1:72 scale replica of a USAF Douglas AD-4 Skyraider Attack Aircraft that was attached to VA-195 "Dambusters," then deployed to Korea aboard the USS Princeton during the early 1950s.
Wingspan: 8-1/4 inches
Length: 7 inches
Release Date: November 2010
Hsitorcial Account: "Dambusters" - During the USS Princeton's third cruise to the Korean Peninsula in 1951, Navy Squadron VA-195 was making their place in history, and also earning the name "Dambusters." The Chinese Communist Forces were using the sluice gates in the Hwachon Dam to flood the lower Pukhan River, thus preventing the United Nation Forces from crossing the river and proceeding northward. Air Force B-29's were sent to demolish the dam by dropping six-ton bombs on it. The Hwachon's gigantic concrete structure was barely cracked in the attack. Captain William Gallery, of the aircraft carrier USS Princeton, made the suggestion that the Skyraiders attempt to drop Mk-13 torpedoes on the sluice gates, thus preventing the Chinese Communist Forces from controlling the flow of the Hwachon River.
On May 1st, 1951, the crew of the VA-195 squadron departed from the USS Princeton in their eight AD-4 Skyraiders with World War II era Mk-13 torpedoes hanging below their planes and escorted by eight Corsairs. Most of the VA-195 pilots were never trained to drop torpedoes, or fly in the narrow 40-foot wide canyon low enough to drop the torpedoes effectively. Six of the eight torpedoes hit the target, completely destroying one sluice gate and severely damaging another. The water behind the Hwachon Dam was released and the Chinese Communist Forces could no longer control the flooding of the river.
The attack on the dam by the AD-4 Squadron VA-195 earned them the nickname "Dambusters." The Skyraiders attack on May 1st, 1951, was the last time the United States Navy used torpedoes in an actual act of war.
There were seven different models of Skyraiders built and several versions of each type. Skyraiders were used for combat in all weather situations, refueling, target towing, troop transportation, medical transport, photo reconnaissance, submarine detection and numerous other missions. The Skyraider not only played a major role in the Korean War, it was also an essential aircraft in Vietnam. The airplane was successfully used by the Navy and the Marines. Equipped with a Wright 3350 engine, the Skyraider could travel up to 410 kts while producing over 3000 horsepower. It is easy to say that the Douglas AD-4 Skyraider was one of the United Stated Navy's more versatile and effective airplanes.