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Douglas A-1H Skyraider BuNo 139780 "Firebird", 1st SOS, Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base, April 1970
General Background
The A-1 Skyraider originated as a carrier-based torpedo and dive bomber. Deliveries as the AD-1 to the Navy began in November 1946 and in 1962 was renamed A-1. It was the first single-seat torpedo/dive bomber to serve with the Navy. The primary mission of the A-1 was close air support for ground troops because of its heavy ordnance load and accuracy. The aircraft had great success in Korea and Vietnam. There were 3,180 Skyraiders built in seven major models and 28 different versions. There were 266 A-1s lost in Vietnam.

Some nicknames - Able Dog, Spad, Sandy, Hobo, Firefly, Zorro and "Crazy Water Buffalo," a VNAF nickname.
The Aircraft
Douglas A-1H Skyraider 139780 was one of the last batches of AD-6s and flew with the USN before transferring to the USAF. In April of 1970 the aircraft wore the SEA camo scheme and was assigned to the 1st SOS operating from Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Base. Between April 3rd and 6th 1972, piloted by Captain Robert Burke it was involved in the SAR of Bat 21. Lt. Col. Iceal Hambleton was shot down and possessed highly sensitive information and required rescuing at all costs.
Specifications :
Length: 39 ft 3 in
Height: 15 ft 8 in
Wingspan: 50 ft 1/4 in
Wing area: 400.33 sq ft
Empty Weight: 12,070 lbs
Normal Loaded: 18,400 lbs
Maximum Weight: 24,000 lbs
Engine: (1) 2,500 hp Wright R-3350-26WA Duplex Cyclone 18-cylinder air-cooled radial, rated at 2,600 hp for takeoff and 2,100 hp at 14,000 feet.
Max. Speed: 342 mph at 15,400 ft
319 mph at sea level
Cruising Speed: 180 mph
Combat Ceiling: 29,400 ft
Combat Radius: 275 miles with 2,000 lbs of bombs
Maximum Ferry Range: 3,240 miles
Armament: (4) 20-mm cannon in the wing
  (6) Racks underneath each outer wing
  (1) Pylon under each inner wing
  (1) Pylon underneath the fuselage centerline