Manufacturer: Douglas

Model: unknown

Name: Skytrader

Type: Transport

Date: 1947

Status: Experimental

Country: United States of America

Service: U.S. Navy

Designation: XR7D-1


The U.S. Navy received three Douglas Skytrader prototypes, which received the XR7D-1 designation. Named after Christopher Columbus's pioneering boats, each presented a different configuration: the XR7D-1"Nina" was an all-freight version, the XR7D-1V "Pinta" was strictly a VIP transport, while the XR7D-1U "Santa Maria" was a freight/troop transport combination.


This aircraft was created by using the Douglas XA2D-1 Skyshark prototype fighter (see below right) and stretching some of its parts to turn it into a mid-size transport and utility aircraft. Of course, it probably ought to have got rid of the plagued Allison T40 turbine for it to work...

Viewers' comments:
  • If the engine is suspect, it's good to see that the pilot has a bang seat then, as he's been expensive to train. Thumbs Up Never mind the assorted Admirals and other VIPs inside the probably doomed Pinta, as they would soon be due to collect their inflated pensions. (Roger the Cabin Boy)
  • Funny! cheesy The first airliner ever with an arrester hook! (Tophe)
  • LOL! I like the Skytrader! (KJ_Lesnick)
  • Very nice Skytrader. It's nice to give a chance to escape for the pilot (Slerski)

My comments:

Designing aircraft with contra-rotating propellers may have been the rage after the war, yet the technology was far from proven, mostly because no engine was found reliable enough at the time. This caused the demise of the concept, with the speedy development of the turbojet accelerating it even more. From a practical standpoint, a transport aircraft with the engines in the fuselage makes little sense because this reduces considerably the space devoted to the freight or passengers. Most transport have their engines on the wings to optimize the arrangement of the fuselage. So the Skytrader looks good alright, but it probably would have been doomed as a real-life project...