As all of our diving friends out there know, Johan’s takes great strides to protect our wrecks, as well as always on the look out for new dive sites. Recently, we have discovered an aircraft at the limit of deep certified recreational divers. The engine is detached, but other than that it is in excellent condition. The aircraft has a very healthy coral growth and no markings are visible.
Many unique features of the aircraft made identifying the basic model fairly easy. The aircraft is a Douglas A-1
Skyraider. The Skyraider was created at the end of WWII and was used heavily in the Korean War and was used in the Vietnam war. There were many variations of the aircraft as many as 22 types. The basic model was a one seater, while this one had a wider cockpit that allowed two to sit side by side with another compartment behind. The divers looking at the aircraft found a third seat in the rear compartment. That compartment was crowded with racks for electronic equipment. We then started to research looking for a three crew Skyraider.
In the research a news released dated 9 January 1962 was found. The release was very short and only said that a Skyraider belonging to the USS Lexington had crashed on take off from Subic airfield and the crew of four, two officers and two enlisted were killed. Following that lead, we found that the USS Lexington had been in Subic Bay a few days before the crash. During their 1961-1962 cruise, the USS Lexington had two AD-5Q Electronic Counter Measures aircraft onboard from VAW-13 detachment Foxtrot. These aircraft have a crew of four. While other Skyraiders were aboard the USS Lexington, they were AD-6 a single seater attack plane.
We would like to ask your help to be able to positively identify the aircraft. We have found a photography of the two AD-5Q aircraft that was onboard the Lexington. One of the aircraft has a readable identification number and we were able to find evidence that it was flying after the crash date. The photograph showed only a couple of numbers of the second aircraft. If you or anyone you know was stationed at Olongapo or aboard the Lexington in January 1962, we would appreciate any information you may have about the accident. Also, if there are any Zappers who can share any
information so we can understand more about the aircraft or its crew it would be a great help. A tailhook article stated that in 1962, VAW-13 det 1 was established at Cubi and that VAW-13 detachment Foxtrot was transferred to it.
Here is the information that would help us prove if this is the aircraft we believe it is.
- The build number of the second VAW-13 aircraft, also the location of a built plate on the aircraft. As they are etched plates, the number might still be visible.
- The cause of the accident. We are assuming it was a mechanical failure and the engine detached upon impact.
- Does anyone know of any other multiple crew member Skyraiders lost in Subic Bay
- Did VAW-13 det 1 lose any aircraft in the bay.
Some general information:
- There seem to be three set of numbers on these aircraft according to the photographs. The VR on the stabilizer identifies them as belonging to VAW-13. The number below that is the build number minus the first digit. There is a three digit number on the engine cowling as well as the wheel wells, these numbers are also on the crews uniform, what does this number represent? I have seen the 712 on two different AD-5Q’s. Also, a different number is on the top surface of
one wing. What is that?
- On the top of the fuselage on these aircraft before the leading edge of the stabilizer is a dome like device maybe slightly larger than a soft ball. What is it?
Before we start bringing divers to the site, we wish to fully document the condition it was found in.