Douglas A-33

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A-33/Model 8A-5
Douglas A-33.jpg
Northrop A-17/Douglas A-33
Role Attack aircraft
National origin United States
Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Introduction 1941
Primary user United States Army Air Corps
Number built 36
Developed from Northrop A-17

The Douglas A-33 (Model 8A-5) was an American attack aircraft built in small numbers during World War II. It was an updated version of the Northrop A-17, with a more powerful engine and an increased bomb load. While the A-33 was intended initially for the export market, the entire production run was taken up by the United States Army Air Corps.

Design and development[edit]

In 1932, the Northrop Corporation had been formed as a partly owned subsidiary of Douglas and by 1937, the Northrop Model 8 became known as the Douglas 8A produced in the El Segundo Division of Douglas aircraft.

The 8A-5 was powered by a 1,200 hp (895 kW) Wright R-1820-87 engine and was the most powerful and best armed of the series, with four wing mounted 0.30 in machine guns, two 0.50 in machine guns in pods below the wing, a rear-firing flexibly mounted 0.30 in gun, and the ability carry up to 2,000 lb of bombs.

Operational history[edit]

Early in 1940, the Norwegian government ordered 36 8A-5s which not had been delivered before Norway was invaded by the Germans. Completed between October 1940 and January 1941, the aircraft were delivered to a training center in Canada that had been set up for the Norwegian government-in-exile, named "Little Norway" at Toronto Island Airport, Ontario.

After the loss of two aircraft and a reassessment of the training needs now met by the use of other aircraft, the remaining 34 Model 8A-5Ps were sold to Peru. However, 31 were repossessed by the Army Air Corps at the start of World War II. These aircraft, designated A-33, were used for training, target tug, and utility duties.[1]


Model 8A-5
Serial numbers: 42-13584/13601; 42-109007/109019


 United States

Specifications (A-33)[edit]

Data from McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920[2]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Length: 32 ft 6 in (9.91 m)
  • Wingspan: 47 ft 9 in (14.55 m)
  • Height: 9 ft 4 in (2.84 m)
  • Wing area: 363 sq ft (33.7 m2)
  • Airfoil: root: NACA 2215; tip: NACA 2209[3]
  • Empty weight: 5,510 lb (2,499 kg)
  • Gross weight: 8,600 lb (3,901 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 9,200 lb (4,173 kg)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Wright GR-1820-G205A Cyclone 9-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engine, 1,200 hp (890 kW)
  • Propellers: 3-bladed variable-pitch propeller


  • Maximum speed: 248 mph (399 km/h, 216 kn) at 15,700 ft (4,800 m)
  • Service ceiling: 29,000 ft (8,800 m)
  • Time to altitude: 10,000 ft (3,000 m) in 5 minutes 48 seconds


  • Guns:
    • 4 × forward-firing .30 cal (7.62mm) 1919 Browning machine guns, 500rpg
    • 2 × forward-firing .50 cal M2 Brownings in gun pods, 200rpg
    • 1 × .30 cal (7.62mm) 1919 Browning machine gun in rear cockpit, 1,000 rounds
  • Bombs: 2,000lb max load
    • Internal: Up to twenty 20 lb (9.1 kg) bombs in internal racks
    • External: Eight hardpoints under the fuselage, four outboard hardpoints can take 500 lb (230 kg) bombs, all eight can carry 100 lb (45 kg)

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era


  1. ^ Pelletier Air Enthusiast September/October 1998, pp. 3–4.
  2. ^ Francillon 1979, p. 222.
  3. ^ Lednicer, David. "The Incomplete Guide to Airfoil Usage". Retrieved 16 April 2019.
  • Francillon, René J. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft since 1920. London: Putnam, 1979. ISBN 0-370-00050-1.
  • Pelletier, Alain J. "Northrop's Connection: The unsung A-17 attack aircraft and its legacy, Part 1". Air Enthusiast No 75, May–June 1998, pp. 62–67. Stamford, Lincolnshire: Key Publishing. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Pelletier, Alain J. "Northrop's Connection: The unsung A-17 attack aircraft and its legacy, Part 2". Air Enthusiast No 77, September–October 1998, pp. 2–15. Stamford, Lincolnshire: Key Publishing. ISSN 0143-5450.
  • Wagner, Ray. American Combat Planes of the 20th Century, Third Enlarged Edition. New York: Doubleday, 1982. ISBN 978-0-930083-17-5.
  • Andrade, John M. . U.S Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Leicester: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Swanborough, F. G. and Peter M. Bowers. United States Military aircraft since 1909. London: Putnam, 1963, 1971, 1989. ISBN 0-85177-816-X.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]