A3 Skywarriors


October 25 – 28, 2002




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
special celebration!




Official… ‘Skywarrior’

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
first flight.


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
28, 2002



Donald Douglas Jr. visits with Whalers

A3 ready to taxi

Take off

Taxi back to spot after landing – note drag

Wings folded, ready to park