Douglas Skyraider....

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by Lucky13, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Considering that they planned to bring the AD back into production back in the day, they didn't only because it would have cost too much. How well does the Skyraider stand with other attack aircraft after WWII and how would she fair today, in air to ground combat?
     

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  2. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    In my humble opinion, the SkyRaider was the ultimate piston-engined grouud attack aircraft. A formidably strong airframe - very adaptable, a great engine, great range/loiter time, lots of payload.

    The SkyShark, Douglas's effort to take the Spad into the jet-age would have been successful if Allison had developed a successful counter-rotating turbo prop engine. The SkyShark was actually twin-engined (2 smallish turbos) mounted side-by-side in the mid-section of the airframe (would it have had the flight characteristics of the P-39/P-63 ??)

    Douglas A2D Skyshark - carrier-borne attacker

    Having said all these glorious things about the Spad, could it do anything, handle any situation that the current WartHog Thunderbolt II does? (except hand on an aircraft carrier?

    MM
     
  3. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    The Able Dog was a fine airplane in it's day but probably not a match for the A10. I would not be surprised if the A10 could be modified for carrier use.
     
  4. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    A piston engine a/c would never make sense now because of the high maintenance cost, and removal of AVGAS from the logistics system of the military long ago.

    In its last combat use, in 1974-75 by the RVNAF the Skyraider proved highly vulnerable to shoulder launched SAM's. The uncooled Lead-sulphide type IR seekers like Strela/SA-7 really liked the hot exhaust pipes of prop planes, and the kinematically limited missile could much more easily catch them than a jet. The A-1 went out with a wimper rather than a bang in that respect.

    Nowadays the A-10, those upgraded to the A-10C standard capable of carrying JDAM, full targetting pod functionality and so forth, are not nearly as handicapped in the modern close support role as they were until then, but nothing really outstanding either. They are paid-for airframes, not especially expensive to run, that's their main practical advantage nowadays. But I don't see any reason nor have any expectation though that a similar a/c would be built new; there's no real need. I know that might divert the debate along a tangent about the A-10, but if you view the A-10 realistically it's all the more reason you wouldn't bring back an a/c like the A-1.

    The real alternatives to fast jets in ground attack are UAV's, where you cut cost through very high utilization rate (plane in the air for many hours or whole day at a time then right back out after you refuel it) or a/c that are *really* a lot cheaper to buy and run than a fast jet, like a converted trainer or even converted ag-aircraft, not an A-1/A-10 type a/c.

    Joe
     
  5. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    I could see the A1 in a drug interdiction role and perhaps in an anti-pirate capacity if range wasn't a factor.

    would the maintainance hours on a single engined A1 be more than a twin engined plane like the Pucura?

    One of these planes would be cheaper but not not near as robust:

    http://www.ww2aircraft.net/forum/modern/coin-comeback-10711.html

    ,
     
  6. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    Way more, if you're talking about literally the A-1's R-3350 18 cyl. radial engine, v comparatively very low maintenance modern turboprop engines as on a Pucara, not to mention a single engine turbine plane. At today's labor costs in a first world AF, maintaining the A-1's engine is out of the question, plus again gasoline is now a special item in military logistics (though Predator A does have a simple Rotax gasoline engine, the Army's Warrior version uses a diesel engine for just the logistical reasons mentioned; the larger Predator B/Reaper are turbine). The question should probably assume you re-engine the A-1 with a turbine; then I still don't see a compelling reason for such a plane, but actually bringing back the A-1 engine and all is just not realistic at all, IMO.

    Joe
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    AND - its a taildragger. More training, higher accident rates, etc.
     
  8. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Just for information, I went to school in around 1958 with a former Marine pilot who told of practise missions in ADs, long flights, many hours at low altitudes, under the radar, to deliver nuclear bombs.
     
  9. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    wow... now that's what i call "Ground Support".

    or rather... Ground Excavation!

    ,
     
  10. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    "...Just for information, I went to school in around 1958 with a former Marine pilot who told of practise missions in ADs, long flights, many hours at low altitudes, under the radar, to deliver nuclear bombs.."

    Yes, back then every platform was being explored to fly low, climb hard, "toss" a bomb and run like hell. Some years ago I read a similar account on the Internet --- what I found even more interesting was that on really long range operations the AD ran the risk of running dry on oil - fuel wasn't the concern, lubricating oil was.

    Can anyone comment on the oil consumption of large radials ...?

    MM
     
  11. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    nice photo:

    [​IMG]
     
  12. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Nice pic ..... but it just doesnt look right with a SE Asian paint job on a snowy runway.
     
  13. comiso90

    comiso90 Active Member

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    Maybe it defected to N. Korea...

    .
     
  14. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    I have always heard that the limiting factor on an AD's range was oil consumption rather than gas. Probably depends on load and other factors though. If memory serves the AD carried 38 gallons of oil. A story goes that a pilot unused to the AD was watching a tank truck pumping fluid into an AD and told the ground crew that where the truck was pumping was not where the gas went and was told that they were pumping oil not gas. In my recollection of my Marine friend's story, I did not mention how long the mission was or what altitude because I was afraid my memory was poor but I seem to remember 8 hours and under 500 feet. Another interesting at least to me tidbit is that the US carriers during the Korean war had no arrangements for two types of fuel and since the majority of the AC were F4Us and ADs and they could not burn jet fuel, the jets used 100 octane AvGas. The lead in the fuel caused white deposits in the jet engines.
     
  15. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    High octane avgas being used in jet engines? I didnt think it was possible.

    Maybe Flyboy knows.
     
  16. renrich

    renrich Active Member

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    Sys, I was amazed at that when I read it in Linnekin's "80 Knots to Mach Two" He did not just hear about this but flew Panthers off carriers in Korea.I followed your advice about reading " Shattered Sword" and throughly enjoyed it. Try to round up a copy of Linnekin's book and add it to your library. It is a treasure.
     
  17. JoeB

    JoeB Member

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    That's definitely true of carrier ops as of early Korean War, the carriers didn't have jet fuel stowage, so both jets and props burned AVGAS. The gasoline for the jets was mixed with some lube oil to ease wear on the engines' fuel pumps intended for kerosene type fuel. The Marines also did this ashore in Korea with a/c like F9F, though AF didn't AFAIK. Of course the same thing was also done on a/c like B-36, C-123, C-119, P2V etc, in versions which had both jet and piston engines. The planes didn't have two separate fuel systems, the jets just burned straight AVGAS in those cases.

    The performance of jet engines, like for example in F9F in engaging MiG's in Korea, was slightly lower when burning gasoline.

    Joe
     
  18. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    All true - lead deposits on fuel nozzles and turbine blade, aside from that it burns right through.
     
  19. Cromwell

    Cromwell Member

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    Bit like the North American AJ-2 Savage - for which you read bad good and mixed reports so not sure what to think on that one !


    [​IMG]
     
  20. Cromwell

    Cromwell Member

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    Well the Brits managed it with the Double Mamba in the Gannet *

    [​IMG]

    * although by contrast the Wyvern was a flop from the engine point of view, although could have worked with an RR engine maybe - but that is another story
     
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