41 ft. 3 in.
50 ft. 0 in.
A2D Skyshark aircraft, produced by Douglas, were the fastest single engine turboprops in the world with a top speed in excess of 500 mph.
The A2D Skyshark was intended as a fast ground attack and troop support aircraft.
In 1945 Douglas was asked by the Navy to explore the possibility of producing a turboprop powered carrier based attack aircraft. It was to use the 5,100 shp Allison twin axial-flow turbine engine driving two counter rotating propellers through a reduction gearbox. On September 25,1947, two prototype A2D Skyshark aircraft were ordered.
The prototype XA2D Skyshark first flew on March 26, 1950. Almost immediately, severe engine vibration problems appeared. However the Navy placed orders for a total of 91 Skyshark aircraft pending solution of the vibration problems. Unfortunately, additional tests revealed problems with bearing failures, reduction gear failures and overheating of the rear fuselage at the engine exhausts. Then the prototype crashed, killing the pilot.
A second prototype flew on April 3, 1952. It was engineered to address the problems found with the first XA2D Skyshark. However, problems with the Allison turboprop remained.
The first production A2D Skyshark flew on June 10, 1953, but there were still problems with engine and gearbox failures. On Aug. 5, 1954 it crashed, but the pilot ejected safely. With that, the remaining Skyshark aircraft at the plant were scrapped.
Although the A2D Skyshark was much faster than the aircraft it was to replace, engine reliability problems could not be overcome and the program was canceled.