A-1 Combat Journal
Appendix 3

Skyraider Combat Damage


A-1J 142-076

In March of 1972, 1st SOS squadron commander Lt Col Martin Barbena was flying a Hobo mission carrying Mk-82 500lb. general purpose bombs to northern Laos and his Skyraider sustained damage during the air strike. He managed to keep the badly damaged Spad airborne and flew it all the way back to NKP. The wingman reported fire and smoke coming from the right wing. The fire was fed by hydraulic fluid from lines which ran to the aileron boost system, wing fold mechanism, and gun charging system. As the intensity of the fire increased, the 20 mm ammunition began to cook off. The storage boxes for the 20 mm are on either side of the fold break in the wing.

Barbena was unable to get both main gear down, and the left main hung partially extended. Since the squadron had plenty of notice of the pending recovery of the damaged Skyraider, there were several cameras near the runway to record the action.



LtCol Barbena on short final (left and lower than chase A-1) with one main gear dangling and the hook down.
The plan was to snag the approach end cable and slide into the foamed area of the runway just beyond the cable.

(photo courtesy Bob Bartunek)


After he missed the cable, the hook drags through the foam. The Skyraider slid to a stop, and the pilot egressed safely.

(photo courtesy Bob Bartunek)


This photo shows A-1J 142-076 after it was lifted back to the revetments by a large crane. A-1J 076 never flew again.



This of a view of the right wing fire damage from the under side of the right wing, looking toward the fuselage.



This final photo shows the top surface of the right wing and the holes made by exploding 20mm rounds.


Postscript.


No holes from other than 20 mm rounds were found, but there was a big ugly piece of jagged metal with very sharp edges found embedded in the right wing near the damaged area. The origin of this metal was not positively determined. :-)

 

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