Model Airplane News|
Douglas 8A5 (Northrop A-17)
Model Airplane News Cover Art for April, 1940
by Jo Kotula
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The Douglas A-33 (Model 8A-5) was the Northrop A-17 with a more powerful engine and increased bomb load; it was intended for the export market,
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The first A-17 (ca 1935) was equipped with perforated flaps, had fixed landing gear with partial fairing. It was fitted with an internal fuselage bomb bay that carried fragmentation bombs and well as external bomb racks. Northrop developed a new undercarriage, this time completely retractable, producing the A-17A variant. This version was purchased by the Army Air Corps, with orders for 129 aircraft. By the time these were delivered, the Northrop Corporation had been taken over by Douglas Aircraft Company. The export models were then known as the Douglas Model 8. In 1938, the Air Corps decided that attack aircraft should be multi-engined, rendering the A-17 surplus to requirements. In 1939, 93 ex-USAAC aircraft were purchased by France and given new engines. Not having been delivered before the fall of France, 61 were taken over by the British Purchasing Commission for the RAF and given the name Nomad. They were assessed as being obsolete and sent to South Africa for use as trainers. The remaining thirty two aircraft from the French order were transferred to Canada, where they were also used as advanced trainers. As hinted in the MAN cover, 20 8A5s were delivered to Norway but were still in crates on the dock when the Germans invaded. They were sold to Finland.
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