Skip to content Skip to footer

The Skyraider was designed during World War II to meet United States Navy requirements for a carrier-based, single-seat, long-range, high performance dive/torpedo bomber, to follow-on from earlier types such as the Curtiss SB2C Helldiver and Grumman TBF Avenger. Designed by Ed Heinemann of the Douglas Aircraft Company, prototypes first flew on March 18th, 1945. In April 1945, the USN tested the aircraft at the Naval Air Test Center. In December 1946, after a designation change to AD-1, delivery of the first production aircraft was made to Navy Attack Squadron VA-19A.

The Skyraider was the first single-seat torpedo and dive bomber to serve with the Navy; Douglas Aircraft built 3,180 Skyraiders for the Navy. It served well in Korea and outstandingly in Vietnam, seriously raising the question in 1966 of reopening production, which had ended in 1957.

It weighed 12,313 pounds empty and 25,000 pounds loaded. Armament consisted of four wing-mounted 20mm cannons and an additional weapons load of over 7,000 pounds, which could be varied among bombs, gun pods, napalm canisters and up to 12 rockets. This single engine aircraft could carry a bomb load heavier than that of the four engine B-17 and B-24 bombers.

The Air Force acquired its A-1s in 1962 from the Navy for counter-insurgency duty. During the Vietnam War, the Air Force, Navy, and South Vietnamese Air Force flew them in combat. Two Navy Skyraiders even combined to shoot down a Russian built MiG jet fighter. However, the primary mission of the A-1 was close air support for ground troops because of its heavy ordnance load and accuracy—the most accurate bomber of the Vietnam War.

This aircraft served with the Vietnamese Air Force by supporting ground troops. The war ended in 1973, but in 1975 North Vietnamese forces overran South Vietnam. South Vietnamese pilots flew it and three others out of Vietnam to Thailand, filled with family and friends. It was recovered from Thailand and registered in April 1983.

The National Museum of WW II Aviation features WWII-era veterans!!


There are few WWII-era veterans left, and the National Museum of World War II Aviation is providing an opportunity for the community to meet-and-greet some of these honored WWII veterans.

Sunday, August 16, 2020 - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The National Museum of World War II Aviation
775 Aviation Way, Colorado Springs, 80916

Scheduled to appear are:
Ed Beck—Army POW captured during the Battle of the Bulge who escaped from captivity.
Marilyn Doenges—Army nurse who served in the UK and Northern France
JJ Inman—P-51 pilot who flew missions in China
Noe Romero—Served on the U.S.S Yorktown at the Battle of Midway
Bill Roche—B-17 waist gunner who was shot down by German aircraft twice.
Cole “Junior” Griego—U.S. Navy Medic in the Battle of Iwo Jima

Advance admission purchases are advised for this event because advance ticket holders will be given priority to enter the museum. Appropriate social distancing and face masks will be required and strictly enforced.**

Historic note: 75 years ago on August 14, 1945 the Japanese surrendered, and hostilities in WWII ceased. The formal surrender of Japanese forces was signed Sept. 2, 1945.