Douglas A/B-26 Invader

Prototypes - Civil

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...To start at the begining

The A-26 was an unusual but ideally designed aircraft for conversion to an executive role, as it was designed as a single-pilot aircraft.

As the standard A-26 Invader had already undergone extensive testing and development in its military role, the need to gain approval for a type rated development certificate from the FAA was not needed, with the only certification being required, being "Type certificates" and "Supplemental type certification".

It wasn't until the development of the vastly modified airframes of the LB Smith Aircraft Corp., Rhodes-Berry Company and the Lockheed Super 26 aircraft that the FAA chose to implement a specialised regime of certification and flight testing procedures for these aircraft, as the initial design began to diversify greatly from the original format of Edward Heinemann, Robert Donovan and Ted R. Smith.

The L.B. Smith and the Rhodes Berry prototypes both succumbed to accidents later in their developmental life and the LAS 26 not really delivering the performance the designers had promised.

These accidents were party caused by the fact that the laminar flow wing, designed for the original Invader could not duplicate performance criteria on the executive conversions, with the bigger payloads and fuselage aerodynamic characteristics.

Ask any pilot who flew the original A-26's and they would attest to the sometimes unforgiving characteristics of the aeroplane, especially on take off and landing, so much so that owners such as Denny Lynch were forced to redesign certain aspects of the wing in order to compensate for the varied flying conditions experienced during air tanker duties.

The introduction of the circular ring spar by On Mark Engineering required only a supplemental type certificate, as the new spar only served to enhance an already proven airframe and had already been "pushed through" the halls of bureaucracy by the Air Force, who needed the Invader quickly, for its enhanced missions in Vietnam.

Even the new larger fuselage of the Marksman C variants, which were 5000-7000 Ibs heavier than the original A-26 airframe, were able to escape some of the statutory regulations and certifications imposed by the FAA due to the fact that these larger bodies encorporated a large proportion of the original Invader structure and thus were only subject to interim extensions of the original "Type" cetification and as these aircraft were also designed with the military in mind, i.e. "The Blue Goose", testing and approval was once again ushered through with some help from "Washington" and the boys at Air America.


Aero Trader Inc.

Grand Central Aircraft Company


Lockheed Air Service (LAS)

On Mark Engineering

Rhodes Berry

Rock Island Oil & Refining Co.

L.B. Smith Aircraft

Slick Airways

Wold Corp.