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Douglas F5D Skylancer




The Douglas F5D was envisaged originally as an improved all-weather development of the F4D (F-6) Skyray, and two prototypes were ordered in 1953 under the designation F4D-2N.

Substantial changes, including wings of much reduced thickness/chord ratio, a lengthened fuselage, revised vertical tail surfaces and the introduction of a new cockpit canopy brought the redesignation F5D-1 (subsequently named Skylancer) before the first flight was recorded on 21 April 1956.

The F5D Skylancer was basically an enlarged version of the Skyray with a fuselage of increased fineness ratio and a wing of reduced thickness/chord ratio for higher supersonic performance on the power provided by a Pratt & Whitney J57-P-8 afterburning turbojet.

The first of four XF5D prototypes went supersonic on its initial flight, and by then, nine preproduction and 51 production examples had been ordered, but following early flight testing the programme was cancelled except for two of the preproduction aircraft. The performance of the F5D was little better than that of the Chance Vought F8U-1 which was on the point of entering service.




By 1957 two prototypes of the XF5D-1 Skylancer were flying.


The four F5D-1s were used by the US Navy as flying testbeds for a variety of equipment before they were handed over to NASA for experimental use.

Engine: 1 x Pratt-Whitney J57-P-8, 7250kg
Max take-off weight: 12733 kg / 28072 lb
Empty weight: 7912 kg / 17443 lb
Wingspan: 10.21 m / 33 ft 6 in
Length: 16.4 m / 53 ft 10 in
Height: 4.52 m / 14 ft 10 in
Wing area: 51.75 sq.m / 557.03 sq ft
Max. speed: 1760 km/h / 1094 mph
Cruise speed: 1025 km/h / 637 mph
Ceiling: 17500 m / 57400 ft
Range: 2140 km / 1330 miles
Crew: 1



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