Monday, October 1, 2018

Douglas A4D-2N Dual Wheel Army Trial–Part I

A-4 Duel Wheel - 001 Two A4D-2Ns (BuNos 148490 and 148483) were modified in 1961 for evaluation by the US Army as a ground support aircraft. Each of these planes was fitted with a drag chute stored in a canister underneath the rear fuselage and was fitted with low-pressure twin-wheel main undercarriage members that retracted into enlarged fairings underneath the wings. The two A4D-2Ns were evaluated by the Army at Fort Rucker, Alabama in competition with the Northrop N-156 and the Fiat G.91R. However, it was decided that the Army would not be permitted to operate fixed-wing attack aircraft, leaving responsibility for close air support of ground troops to the Air Force, the Navy, or the Marine Corps. As a result, none of the competitors was ordered by the Army, and the two A4D-2Ns were then converted back to standard configuration and delivered to the Navy.*

* From Joe Baugher Skyhawk narrative

Letter to me from Harry Gann (Famous Douglas Historian/Author):

“I am enclosing photos of both the A4D-2N aircraft that were modified for the Army trials.The mods were quick and dirty and would have been cleaned up considerable if they had been put into production. The colors were standard USN gray with Douglas flight test red (see same included color photo for color only). The US Army dragged their feet on the aircraft and as a result, nothing was ever done in spite of the favorable showing of the A-4 over the other two aircraft.  I guess the US Army was planning on putting their eggs in the doubled Cheyene basket which rose up to bite them.
I was heavily involved in the project as I was in advanced design at the time.  We even had R.G. Smith do a painting of an O D colored A4D-5 for the project.
Harry Gann”

Dual Wheel photos and articles here

Click here to download photos and articles in one ZIP file (55.7 Megs)


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