Saint Charles, MO
Operation: Western, Central and Eastern
Wing Span: 50' 9"
Length: 38' 10"
Height: 15, 8"
Max Speed: 340 knots
Gross Weight: 25,880 lbs
Power Plant: Wright R-3350-26WD
Fuel Capacity: 380 gallons
Armament: four 20mm cannons. Various
ordnance: conventional bombs, high explosive
rockets, torpedoes, mines, 7.62 mm gatling gun,
fragmentation clusters, napalm, and bomblets.
Downing's Douglas EA-1E Skyraider
Eric Downing is the owner and pilot of this beautifully
restored Douglas EA-1E Skyraider (BU #135178), operated
by Midwest Wild Relics Refuge LLC, and one of the finest
examples flying in the world today.
The Douglas "Skyraider" was a design submitted to the
U.S. Navy as a replacement for the famous SBD
dive-bomber. Originally designated as the XBT2D-1, the
new aircraft made its maiden flight on March 18, 1945,
two weeks ahead of schedule. It was the most powerful
carrier-based aircraft ever built. Its single engine
with its three fuselage stations and six racks on each
wing could carry varied assortments of ordnance
including rockets, mines, torpedoes, bombs, and napalms.
In fact, it could carry more ordnance weight that that
of the famous Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. The Navy gave
Douglas a letter of intent of 543 aircraft, but the
order was reduced to 277 after VJ (Victory in Japan)
Day. In 1946, the aircraft was designated as "AD-1."
Few aircraft have been known by so many names as the
Skyraider. At various times in its career, it was
designated the BT2D, AD (Able Dog), A -1, and was also
affectionately called the Destroyer, Hobo, Spad, Sandy,
and the Flying Dump Truck.
Following the AD-1 came 178 AD-2s, 193 AD-3s and 1,051
AD-4s. These performed various roles as daytime and
all-weather attack, radar patrol, and electronic
countermeasures. In 1951 the variant two-seater AD-5
appeared, with a bigger cabin, and a year later
production resumed with 713 single-seater AD-6 versions.
The last version was the 72 AD-7s in 1955.
The Skyraider performed well in Korea by the U.S. Navy
and Marine Corps. It was described as the best
close-support and interdiction aircraft in the world at
that time. During one mission, ADs destroyed the
floodgates of the Hwachon Dam using torpedoes. This
precluded the enemy from flooding two valleys and
holding back the American advance.
In Vietnam, the Skyraider was employed by both the U.S.
Navy and U.S. Air Force. From carriers in the South
China Sea, the Skyraiders carried out bombing strikes
and close air support operations. It was used in
operations against the Viet Cong strongholds in South
Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. It picked up its famous
call-sign "Sandy" as an integral element in the recovery
of downed aircrew. It joined a team of helicopters in
the rescue effort. it provided suppressive fire on the
enemy while U.S. Air Force Sikorsky HH-3s (Jolly Greens)
and Sikorsky HH-53s (Super Jolly Greens) plucked the
down aircrew members.
Despite being a propeller-powered aircraft, A-1H
Skyraiders of the 77th Task Force hold the incredible
feat of shooting down two Mig 17s. The Navy used the
Skyraider up until April 1968, completing over 100,000
missions over Vietnam. Surplus Skyraiders were turn over
to the South Vietnamese Air Force (VNAF). The U.S. Air
Force continued to use the Skyraider in rescue
Eric Downing's EA-1E N62466, often referred to as the
"Station Wagon" or "Family Model" the EA-1E, is
considerably larger than it's single seat counterpart.
The EA-1E sits 18" taller on it's gear, has a "slab
sided" fuselage that is 3 feet wider and a much larger
tail surface, with a 40% larger rudder. Having six
seats, "up top", this aircraft is one of only four
operational multi-seat skyraiders. N62466 has the unique
distinction of being the last Skyraider to leave active
service. It was used in a long term, comprehensive
motion sickness test at NAS Pensacola until the fall of
1973. It is operated by Midwest Wild Relics Refuge LLC,
located at Creve Coeur Airport (1H0) in Saint Louis, MO,
which is owned by Eric and Tina Downing. This aircraft
is available for airshow bookings throughout the United
Wild Relics Refuge
Please fill out your contact information
below if you are interested in contacting
the operator, or representative,
of this Warbird and you require more information for booking this
aircraft at your Airshow