The JD-1s (J=Utility, D=Douglas) were A-26Cs transferred from USAAF
Remarks by Earl
Hodges: "This aircraft type is very familiar to me. I was a
Navy photographer, attached to VU-5, a Utility Squadron using Douglas
JD-1s, on Guam, in 1954. The JD-1 by that time had been outclassed by
later improved bombers and because it was still a very good plane it
was relegated to utility duties. Our squadron's primary jobs were
target towing and aerial photography. At that time, one of the big
photographic jobs throughout the Navy was an annual aerial
photographic coverage of all buildings and installations.
Each building had to have two types of photos: a 45 degree oblique
from the four cardinal headings, and a strip of at least 4 pin-point
verticals from a suitable altitude, preferably 10,000 ft (3,048 m). The
obliques we would usually shoot from any handy plane on the station,
most often an SNJ "Texan". But the verticals had to be done
from the JD-1.
To do this took a heavy aerial camera, (if I remember right, it was a
K-18) which we installed in the bomb bay on a system of 2x4 in (5x10 cm) timbers.
One photographer straddled these 2x4s, manually keeping the camera
leveled by use of a circular bubble level and also setting the
intervalometer (timer) for the proper timing between shots. The other
photographer manned a navigator's drift sight in the after-station to
make course corrections to relay to the pilot over the intercom. We
swapped jobs after every flight.
On Guam, we had to get up very early to get the equipment installed
and get up to altitude to get shooting before the cumulus clouds
started to build up around 0830 or so. It took about 45 minutes to an
hour to install the equipment then another like period to uninstall
it on return. If the clouds moved on or cleared up we might be able
to get some afternoon shooting in after re-rigging the plane. We
tried to get Ops to let us leave the gear in the plane but no dice.
We had to install/uninstall for every flight.
Except for the cold when in the bomb bay, the JD-1 was a great plane
to fly in."