Douglas A/B-26 Invader


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The A-26 made its combat debut in July 1944 with the Fifth Air Force on New Guinea. Four early aircraft were tested out, and the feedback was overwhelmingly poor.

The streamlined cockpit put the pilot between the engine nacelles, greatly limiting visibility. This meant that the A-26 was unsuitable for the low-level formation flying needed in the Pacific, and also made it difficult to spot well hidden Japanese positions in the jungle. 

In order to improve visibility and also exiting, the original flat-topped cockpit canopy which opened upward on the right side of the cockpit was replaced by a raised canopy opening in clamshell-fashion in two frameless elements around hinges on both sides of the pilot's cockpit.
The new canopy enabled the pilot to see over both engine nacelles and towards the tail surfaces as well as to check whether both main landing wheels were down and was at first, hand-built and fitted to a few early aircraft, but was introduced as standard equipment, beginning with the
A-26B-30-DL block.

General George Kenney, the commander of the Fifth Air Force, stated "We do not want the A-26 under any circumstances as a replacement for anything"

After responding to this feedback by producing a new raised cockpit canopy, which improved visibility, and by the summer of 1945, Kenney was willing to take the A-26.

In May 1945 the Army Air Force decided that seven A-26 groups would re deploy to the Pacific from Europe, while all existing medium and light bomb groups in the Pacific, with the exception of three B-25 units, would convert to the A-26.

In the event the war in the Pacific ended before this ambitious program began, and only a handful of A-26s played an active part in the war against Japan.




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