Large dramatic photo of the plane with dark clouds in the background

Douglas A-26 Invader

The Douglas A-26 Invader (designated B-26 between 1948–1965) was a United States twin-engine light attack bomber built by the Douglas Aircraft Co. during World War II that also saw service during several of the Cold War's major conflicts. A limited number of highly modified aircraft (designation A-26 restored) served in combat until 1969.It was found to be a fast aircraft which was capable of carrying twice its specified bomb load. A range of guns could be fitted to produce a formidable ground-attack aircraft.The Douglas company began delivering the production model A-26B in August 1943 with the new bomber first seeing action with the Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific theater on 23 June 1944, when they bombed Japanese-held islands near Manokwari. A-26s began arriving in Europe in late September 1944 for assignment to the Ninth Air Force. The initial deployment involved 18 aircraft and crews assigned to the 553d Squadron of the 386th Bomb Group. This unit flew its first mission on 6 September 1944. The first group to fully convert to the A-26B was 416th Bombardment Group with which it entered combat on 17 November, and the 409th Bombardment Group, whose A-26s became operational in late November. Due to a shortage of A-26C variants, the groups flew a combined A-20/A-26 unit until deliveries of the glass-nose version caught up. Besides bombing and strafing, tactical reconnaissance and night interdiction missions were undertaken successfully. In contrast to the Pacific-based units, the A-26 was well received by pilots and crew alike, and by 1945, the 9th Air Force had flown 11,567 missions, dropping 18,054 tons of bombs, recording seven confirmed kills while losing 67 aircrafts.

452 BC/Knight Squadron

On 10 August 1950, the Air Force Reserve's 452d Bombardment Wing was activated for Korean Service. It flew its first missions in November 1950 from Itazuke Japan doing daylight support with the 3rd Bomb Wing flying night missions. Because of the Chinese intervention it was forced to find another base and moved to Miho Air base on the west coast of Honshū. In early 1951 it moved to East Pusan Air Base and continued its daylight as well as night intruder missions. In June 1951, it joined the 3rd Bomb Wing in night activity only, dividing the target areas with the 452nd taking the eastern half and the 3rd the western. For its efforts in the Korean War, it was awarded 2 Unit Citations and the Korean Presidential Citation. It also received credit for eight Campaign Operations. In May 1952 it was inactivated and all of its aircraft and equipment along with its regular air force personnel were absorbed by the 17th Bomb Wing. During its time as an active unit, the 452nd flew 15,000 sorties (7000 at night) with a loss of 85 crewmen. B-26s were credited with the destruction of 38,500 vehicles, 406 locomotives, 3,700 railway trucks, and seven enemy aircraft on the ground.

Our plane

This specific Invader is one of the 69 airplanes of this type which underwent a series of partial enhancements by On Mark Engineering. Changes included fitting of 2,500 hp (1,900 kW) R-2800-52W engines with no propeller spinners and the six wing guns deleted.

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Engine start-up at Tatoi airport

Take-off at Tatoi airport

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Registry: USA/FAA N-500 MR

Type: Light bomber, 2-engine propeller, high-wing, reconnaissance (FA-26)

Manufacturer: Douglas Aircraft Company

Country of origin: USA

First flight: 10 July 1942

Date of puchase: 1995

Technical characteristics

Length 51ft / 15.24m
Height 19ft / 5.64m
Wing span 75ft / 22.86m
Weight
  • Net: 10,145kg / 22,370lb
  • Full: 15,876kg / 35,000lb
  • Take-off: 17,460kg / 28,500lb
Engines 2 piston, asteroid Pratt & Whitney R-2800-83
Power/thrust 2,500HP each
Max speed 355Mph / 571Kmh
Max operating altitude 20,000ft / 6,100m
Armament
  • 8 .50 caliber machine guns or 4 0.22 caliber machine guns at the nose
  • 6 .50 calibre machine guns on the wings
Capacity In the fuselage and in 8 areas under the wings it can carry a bomb load of 8,000lb (3629kg)
Crew 3