The Douglas A2D Skyshark
was a turboprop
-powered attack aircraft
built by the Douglas Aircraft Company
for the United States Navy
Design and development
the Navy issued a letter of intent to Douglas Aircraft for a turboprop to be carrier-based
. The need to operate from Casablanca class escort carriers
dictated the use of a turboprop instead of jet power. The advantages of turboprop engines over piston was in power to weight ratio and the maximum power that could be practically generated. The advantage over jets was that a turboprop ran at near full RPM all the time, and thrust could be quickly generated by simply changing the propeller pitch. While resembling the AD Skyraider
, the A2D was an entirely different airplane. Engine development problems delayed the first flight until May 1950. Allison failed to deliver a "production" engine until 1953, and while testing an XA2D with that engine, test pilot C. G. "Doc" Livingston pulled out of a dive and was surprised by a loud noise and pitch up. His windscreen was covered with oil and the chase pilot told Livingston that the propellers were gone. The gearbox had failed. Livingston successfully landed the airplane. By the summer of 1954, the A4D was ready to fly. The escort carriers were being mothballed, and time had run out for the troubled A2D program. Due largely to the failure of the Allison T40
program to produce a reliable engine, the Skyshark never entered operational service.
Twelve Skysharks were built. Most were scrapped or destroyed in accidents, and only one is believed to have survived. One was sighted at the airport at Idaho Falls, Idaho, in September 2006, and is not in airworthy condition.
- Heinemann, Edward, H. and Rausa, Rosario. Combat Aircraft Designer. London: Jane's Publishing Co., 1980. ISBN 0-7106-0040-2.
- Markgraf, Gerry. Douglas Skyshark, A2D Turbo-Prop Attack (Naval Fighters Number Forty-Three). Simi Valley, CA: Ginter Books, 1997. ISBN 0-942612-43-4.