For all ya’ll who really seem to like these Vietnam Skyraiders, I have some good news. The previous one won’t be my last, and neither will this one. Personally, the Skyraider isn’t high on my list of ‘aircraft I like’, but it is an icon and has some very interesting history. This aircraft right here isn’t any different, but with its black underside it can find a place in our dark hearts, good for instilling fear in those peasant their weak hearts who are being denied to roam the skies.
Now you can use the cover of the nighttime skies with Bubbles’n Bust, playable in 4K and 2K DDS and original TGA file size on all the Skyraiders in the game (both the US ones and the French AD-4).
Bubbles’n Bust originally saw the lifelight as an AD-6, built during the last batch of said variant. Carrying serial number 139778, she was first delivered to the US Navy and used in the VA-45, VA-85 and VA-145 unit. It was spotted on the USS Forrestal in October 1957 when the ship was anchored in Southampton, UK and was also aboard the USS Kitty Hawk for a tour around Vietnam from October 1965 to June 1966 with VA-115 ‘Arabs’. It also served with the VA-115 as one of the test-beds for the two-tone green camouflage testing in 1966.
At some point the aircraft transferred to the USAF and was, like all AD-6’s, given the designation as an A-1H and used in Vietnam within the 602nd SOS. In 1969 the decision was made to fly interdiction missions at night, and thus the underside of the aircraft was painted black to blend with the night sky from the ground.
When the 602nd SOS was disbanded in 1970, Bubbles’n Bust was assigned to Search and Rescue alert around Da Nang and generally carried two SUU-11’s underneath the wings, along with other armaments. As US troops were gradually pulling out of Vietnam, the aircraft was handed over to the South Vietnam air force and became 52-139778., as the aircraft was build in 1952. The aircraft’s final fate is unknown, but given that 75% of the Skyraiders handed over to the VNAF were lost, it is safe to assume that it was lost in combat.
The A-1H Skyraider with the USAF and Vietnam War
The A-1 is an American Aviation Icon. Missing the action in World War II by just a few months the piston-powered, propeller-driven single-seat attack plane saw service smack in the middle of the jet age. It was one of the few aircraft that saw service during both the lukewarm episodes of the Cold War conflict, the Korean and Vietnam war. When the latter war began, the A-1 Skyraider was still used as a main assest within many carrier air wings. During the war two North Vietnamese MiG-17 were shot down by US Navy A-1’s. The second kill, performed on the 9 October 1966 by LTJG William T. Patton of VA-176, was the first gun kill of the Vietnam War.
As the Skyraiders were released from U.S. Navy service, the aircraft were introduced into the Republic of Vietnam Air Force (RVNAF) and U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command for search and rescue air cover. While proving it’s ruggedness throughout the war, the USAF lost 201 aircraft to all causes, with Navy suffering 65 lost. Of these, five were shot down by SAM’s and three in air-to-air combat (two scored by MiG-17’s). After November 1972, all remaining Skyraiders in U.S. service within Southeast Asia were transferred to the RVNAF.