The Douglas A-1 Skyraider (formerly AD) was an American single-seat attack aircraft that saw service between the late 1940s and early 1980s. It became a piston-powered, propeller-driven anachronism in the jet age, and was nicknamed "Spad", after the French World War I fighter.
The French Air Force bought 20 ex-USN AD-4s as well as 88 ex-USN AD-4Ns and five ex-USN AD-4NAs with the former three-seaters modified as single-seat aircraft with removal of the radar equipment and the two operator stations from the rear fuselage. The first Skyraiders were ordered in 1956 and the first was handed over to the French Air Force on 6 February 1958 after being overhauled and fitted with some French equipment by Sud-Aviation. The aircraft were used until the end of the Algerian war. The aircraft were used by the 20e Escadre de Chasse (EC 1/20 "Aures Nementcha", EC 2/20 "Ouarsenis" and EC 3/20 "Oranie") and EC 21 in the close air support role armed with rockets, bombs and napalm.
AD-4N Skyraider F-AZHK was built with c/n 7802 at the Douglas El Segundo plant, California, with United States Navy Bureau Number. In 1961 she was delivered to the French Air Force (l'Armée de l'Air) with serial 61.
In 1972 F-AZHK was delivered to the Armée de l'Air Gabonaise (Gabon Air Force) with serial TR-LQE. She was one of eight Skyraiders that were donated to Gabon, where they were flown by French mercenaries serving with the Presidential Guard. In 1991 she was recovered by her new French owners, Michele Gineste and Maurice Etchetto. She arrived in Le Havre, France in January 1992 and was registered as F-AZHK in the French civil register. She is painted in the colours of EC 01.020 "Aures-Nementchas" with code 20-LN. The unit was based at Boufarik, Algeria.
GWR 4-6-0 No. 7802 BRADLEY MANOR and BR Standard Class 7 4-6-2 No. 70000 BRITANNIA begin the climb of Rattery bank soon after passing Totnes with the Paddington - Penzance 'Duchy Voyager' on 14th October 1995.