Captain Robert Dayton (Donald Woods) had commanded an elite fighter squadron in the Great War. Now he runs Sky Raiders Inc, an aviation company that is developing a new high-tech pursuit plane. A ruthless international spymaster, Felix Lynx (Eduardo Ciannelli), is determined to get hold of the plans but there aren’t any plans - everything is in Dayton’s head! So Lynx decides to steal the plane itself. The aircraft is about to make its first test flight. Dayton is supposed to have retired from active flying but he makes the test flight himself. The flight ends disastrously.
Lynx’s next plan is more ambitious - not to steal the new pursuit plane but to kidnap its designer. His plans are of course ludicrously complicated, involving an exact double for one of the main characters. There’s also a sub-plot about a new bomb sight.
The aerial sequences are generally excellent and fairly convincing. The miniatures work is extremely well done as are the process shots and there’s a considerable amount of actual aerial stunt work. And there’s lots of aerial stuff - the emphasis is very much on the actual flying with many of the narrow escapes from danger being the result of the normal hazards of early aviation rather than the machinations of the villains. Although the villain does his best to add to those dangers.
Donald Woods as Dayton makes a fine square-jawed action hero. He’s incredibly stubborn and his determination to do everything himself, including all the test flights, put him in additional danger.
Eduardo Ciannelli plays the villain Felix Lynx. He’s not as over-the-top as some serial villains but he is menacing.
Alpha Video’s DVD release is not great but it’s quite acceptable.
Sky Raiders might not be one of the more famous serials but it’s well worth seeking out. It doesn’t adhere slavishly to serial conventions and it has action, romance and great aerial sequences. Highly recommended.