34° 12′ 9.2″ N
118° 29′ 9.4″ W
A-3 Skywarrior 50th Anniversary
by Rich Gardner
This watercolor and ink piece was commissioned just for this
Unofficial… ‘Whale’ (Most popular)
‘Heavy’ (Largest U.S.N. carrier based aircraft)
‘TACO’ (Tanker Airborne Countermeasures Ordnance)
A3D ‘All three dead’ (no ejection seats, most unpopular)
The prototype, XA3D-1 (BuNo 125412) was first flown on Oct.
28, 1952 at Edwards Air Force Base, Ca. The A-3 was commissioned
by the Navy and first delivered to active duty on March 31, 1956.
After 39 years of faithful service, the A-3 Skywarrior was decommissioned
during a ceremony at Naval Air Station Key West, Fl. on Sept.
30, 1991. But even now, in 2000, A-3s are still flying with Raytheon
as test bed aircraft. It is a testament to the A-3s versatility
and ruggedness that it is still in the air 48 years since that
The information provided here relies heavily on first hand
experience with the aircraft, provided by the A-3 Assoc. members.
Some details were obtained from the books by Rene Francillon,
Douglas A-3 Skywarrior and McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920.
Credit to A3 Skywarriors Association web page for images and
Photos of First Flight re-enactment by Stan Garner, October